To many it’s spent the last decade or so on life support, but rave music has been steadily flying under the radar for years, like a stealth bomber. It came from the underground, and The Basics returns to the genre’s warren. Hazy, halcyon days of raving until four in the morning are simultaneously dead and alive: dead to its old era and alive in a new world thanks to musicians such as Basic Rhythm. The spirit of the music lives on.
Rave music was a part of a movement – a cultural identity – which swept through much of the UK and mainland Europe, and while the era has long since passed and those clubbers are now happily married with children, the music still retains its original power and purpose. As Basic Rhythm, Anthony J. Hart drops the listener into its warm, acidic world once again, resurrecting the dated sounds with twisting modern beats until the music resembles a factory occupied by sleek, post-rave machinery.
The Basics pursues a reworked, purer kind of jungle, grime and garage. Its original base is still intact, looking back with the fondness of first love and reverently setting it on a high platform, a shrine that worships the original vibe. A love for the past runs through its tight phrases and samplelicious vocals, but it can’t help but progress and modernize with twenty-plus years of technological advances. These beats came from a world where Windows 95 was cutting edge, and the contemporary characteristics of today clothe the tracks, the fashionable hairstyles of that era replaced with styles and appearances of the new school until it resembles the new kid on the block. Its prime was back in the early nineties, and although the world has become a darker place in years since, the warm afterglow of the era hasn’t entirely dissipated. The tracks are slim and focused. There ain’t any fat on these bones. The basslines are swampy and sizable, but they’re not erratic or psychotic things – those belong in the later mutation of dubstep. The bass has a purpose, and it isn’t there to take the track on a violent joyride. Its dissected saxophone lines, cyclical rhythms and euphoric whoops are given a second wind, arriving on a secret airwave like that of an old pirate radio station broadcasting nothing but classic drum n’ bass 24/7 (I still don’t understand how music can be illegal). He respectfully and reverently hones in on the music’s essence, and that’s something that can’t die.
There’s no pussyfooting around, either. There’s usually a captain of the loop, one source the track spins around on, revolving as if in never-ending orbit. The beats themselves are scatterbrained things that have severely reduced attention spans thanks to a decade of prolonged mobile phone use and MySpace profiles, while ego-fuelled posts written on the self-advertising Facebook divert the mind still further(you’d never find ravers posting pictures of what they had for breakfast the morning after).
The beats are disjointed in a way that brings back the rapid warfare and the slick, spinning wheels of drum n’ bass, but they’ve fallen into a deranged and disillusioned state, looking aghast at the century but also psychologically unraveling because of it. It comes as a massive shock to the system for beats that lived in different times. The music sweats out the unnecessary – anything deemed as filler is removed – and this has the effect of thinning out the sound until only its bare essentials are left. It’s a more concentrated sound – the fat burns, like spent calories on the dancefloor.