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if youre ever in tokyo looking for a bass fix

the rebel familia - click for bio and links

the rebel familia - click image for their myspace

so,…

its been said that you wont really appreciate a dubstep until you hear it on a big system, for it is then and only then that you get it.

unless you happen to be loaded and have a huge massive club like sound system in your den, even the best speakers simply cant convey the pure physicality (?) of the low frequencies emitted by the bass heavy dubstep.

for past year i have been lurking on the dubstep forum, fascinated by the ecclectic sounds and the ultra low frequency bass that you can on some of the dubs and mixes on that site.

saddly, being stuck in a desert with no venues meant that the closest thing to experiencing a dubstep night was purchasing a pair of sony in ear headphones. so yeah i got my bass fix by jamming those earphones as far as possible into my ear canal that the sub bass notes would vibrate my brain. thankfully they were pretty good earphones so i didnt have to jam them so far as to induce bleeding. P

the first thing on my list of things to do in tokyo was a dubstep night, but life got in the way and i didnt make it until Goth-Trad’s Back to Chill night on the 5th of February.

the venue was club asia in shibuya.

“ahh many bitches”

“really?”

“so, so,…. meato marketo ne”

hmmm,…. not a good sign i thought.

and i was going on my own since my friends were all working, the next day being friday, oh and they’d never heard of the genre. so yeah, que endless jokes of picking up someone so i would have something to do while waiting for the trains to start in the mornings.

forunately, club asia is split into 3 levels. the pick up meato marketo bit was down stairs in a bar type setting where there was a mix of locals and foreigners bouncing on a mix of billboard top 40, j-pop and hormones. not that theres anything wrong with that, just not my thing. the second floor was another bar type place, but with an open floor design, playing hip hop. it was rather deadish.

the dubstep took place on a 3rd level which was midway between 1 and 2 and slightly to the back,… so it could have still been on the 1st floor actually.

this was a pure stage and audience/dance floor layout, and it was one of the most chilled out dance floors i have ever seen. not dead, there were quite a few people there, but just very chilled people. even when the rebel familia played their flavour of drum and bass, it was hyper but not agro as can sometimes be the case.

and ooooh the bass!

i scanned the layout of the speakers as i walked in and i picked what i thought would be the best spot. later i would realise that this was a wasted effort as the venue was quite intimate for a club and as such the bass just flooded every single spot.

and omfg the bass!

with some forms of music, the music is there and its up to you to make the effort to dance. with this, the bass is such a powerful physical force that it almost feels like its moving your body for you, encourageing you, until you simply succumb to the sub frequencies, and any self conciousness, and you start to ride the waves of pressurised air. the sound has been liked to being underwater, or being in the womb, and i really cant describe it any better than that. if you have ever been in the ocean, or a wave pool,… its like that.

so yeah it got my feet tapping something wicked, and at one point i thought i was getting too old for this stuff as it felt like my heart was double timing,… only i wasnt out of breath, and since dubstep is hardly “fast” music, i really shouldnt have been tired at all. it turns out that it was the bass of a particular song which kept time with my heart, but half a beat behind making it feel like my heart was doing double duty.

and yes the bass gets that deep inside you.

i think i felt my pancreas vibrate.

since i like my jeans on the relaxed baggier side, my jeans vibrated.

i havent had my head shaved in a couple months, so i could feel the bass vibrate my hair.

and even though i’ve lost a bit of weight, the bass reminded me i still have some flab to lose by vibrating my stomach fat.

i could feel the jiggles.

and it makes me wonder what it would be like to be obese and at a dubstep night,…. you know more surface area for the bass to impact on and all that. P

the best thing about that night though is that, had it not been for the drum and bass and the sometimes shrill high frequencies that come with that sound, i would have walked out of the club with my hearing intact. as it was, i could hear much better than if it had been a regular night of any other music, you can even talk to other people without screaming your head off. and recovery time for my ears was swift,… they were pretty much back to normal the following evening. the focus on the subsonic frequencies means you can turn it to “melt a kitten” loud and all it would do is make the bass stronger.

it makes me think actually,… there are many directions for dubstep to go into, and it is splintering already, and the formulaic stuff has already started to establish itself, both amongst punters and producers,…. but i wonder if perhaps one offshoot of dubstep might be a branch that emphasises the subsonic even more. like even less hi to mid frequencies, just enough to prop up the rythm, but much much more sub,  so much so that one might even question if it may be classed as music any more.

hows this for a quote:

the future of music is subsonic.

or this:

high frequencies bore me.

shit i have been waffleing for much too long.

so to wrap things up,…

dj 100 mado was/were wicked, rebel familia i wasnt expecting, but they put on an amazing show, and goth-trad,… man nothing compares. greg g spun some jungle which was great and really took me back.

and in japan,…. when it says that a dj will go on at 2:50am, they do literally beging their sets at 2:50am, on the dot. i’ve never seen musicians or dj’s who could actually compete with japan rail in a punctuality contest.

if you get the chance, go to a dubstep night. even if you have to travel, if its your first time, it will be worth it.

and dont worry about being an old fart, i was delighted to see that i wasnt the oldest basshead there like thought i might be.

if youre deaf, and youre reading this, then definately go. i remember reading an article during the early days of hip hop about how deaf kids really dug hip hop cos of the bass. well hip hop lost its bass years ago, but my god have i got the perfect replacement for you guys.