I've long championed “bass music” in this column. I know, I know — it's a terrible, non-descriptive genre name. By “bass music,” I don't mean the tacky festival fodder that sounds like something you might hear in an advertisement for Axe body spray. No, I mean it in the British sense, the latest point in a long timeline that began with early rave music, then drum and bass and jungle, then two-step and garage, then grime, then dubstep, and now, just “bass music.” The term's non-specificity speaks to the all-inclusive nature of the artists working under its umbrella, picking bits and pieces from all over to craft dance music that sounds at once totally familiar and completely new. Peverelist and Kowton, two producers and DJs from Bristol, England, stand at the very forefront of this mutant sound.
Peverelist's career begins almost a decade ago, in 2006, after releasing his debut record on his own label, Punch Drunk. Early Peverelist material sat firmly in the “dubstep” camp, coming as that sound was peaking in the U.K. Peverelist's tracks, although designed for dancefloors, were always infused with a spaciness and eerie atmosphere that his peers lacked; each record seemed to be reaching further and further into the outer limits.
Kowton's early productions were basically instrumental grime tracks reworked to fit a techno palette — raw, hard-hitting, and heavier than a ton of bricks, effectively bridging the worlds of bass music and techno. In 2011, Peverelist and Kowton paired up and launched a new record label called Livity Sound, dedicated to their own productions alongside a few close friends.
With Livity Sound, Peverelist and Kowton took the shackles of genre and cast them aside. Nothing else sounds like Livity Sound does; with each successive record, the pair seem to be more and more comfortable just doing their own thing, whatever that may be. Seventeen records in and they've built one of the most astonishingly unique — and breathtakingly good — bodies of work in modern dance music.
They're superb DJs to boot, each playing off the other expertly and playfully. They're going back-to-back all night, open-to-close, serving up the latest and greatest sounds from the U.K. and beyond. For those folks who appreciate going a little bit outside their comfort zone on the dancefloor, there's no better place to be this weekend.
Other worthy parties this week
Future Classic Showcase featuring Classixx, Sophie, Cyril Hahn, HNNY, and more at 1015 Folsom, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. $20-$25; 1015.com
As the mainstream music industry has become more and more comfortable letting electronic musicians sit at its table, pop music and electronic music have begun sharing each other's meals in some fascinating (and effective) ways. This showcase, courtesy of Melbourne label Future Classic, features a slew of artists producing their own unique variation on electronic pop music (or poppy electronic music). On the poppy tip are Classixx, who produce smooth 'n' easy disco-flavored indie dance; Cyril Hahn, whose edits of pop and R&B tracks have made him a Soundcloud sensation; and Basenji, who makes candy-coated “future R&B.” On the electronic tip are HNNY, a Swede who makes chilled deep house with pop-song samples; Kenton Slash Demon, a duo from Denmark who make lush dance music; and Sophie, a prankster pushing pop music to its extremes. There's more artists on deck, too — this is a heavily stacked lineup.
IN·SIGHT and Public Works present Adriatique, Mind Against, and Job Jobse at Public Works, 9:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Oct. 23. $22-$25; publicsf.com
Remember “minimal”? If you went clubbing in the mid-00s, you certainly do: it was inescapable. Stripped-down, minimal (duh), eschewing melody, and focused instead on rhythmic basslines and repetition, it was everywhere — including San Francisco. But times change and in contrast to minimal's relentless, er, minimalism comes a kind of glossy, tightly-composed tech-house, full of big, melodic, emotional peaks and valleys. It's taking European clubs by storm, and slowly but surely making its way to our shores. (Describing it has proved tricky; some suggest “trance,” an accurate but obviously confusing nom de genre.) On Friday, three of the premier artists pushing this sound invade Public Works: Adriatique, a duo from Switzerland; Mind Against, a duo from Italy; and Job Jobse, a DJ from the Netherlands. Adriatique is more poppy, Mind Against more psychedelic, while Jobse has a knack for tying it all together. Matt Hubert and Solar will support.
Raindance presents 21st Annual Freaker's Ball at The Sound Factory, 9 p.m.-6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. $30; raindancepresents.com
If you're like many San Franciscans, and Halloween begins for you on Oct. 15, then there's no better place to be than the 21st edition of the Freaker's Ball at the massive multi-room SoMa club The Sound Factory. The Freaker's Ball is one of San Francisco's many enormously popular annual costume parties, and the lineup this time around is an interesting mashup of the old, the new, the (relatively) standard, and the very, very strange. Older heads are well-represented, with a strong showing from the original '90s Bay Area rave crews (Jenö from Wicked; DJ Tracy; Solar and Galen from Sunset Sound System; and more). There's a large contingent of “future bass” (aka “dubstep American style”) performers, like ill.Gates, Andreilien, and many, many more. Representing the very strange contingent is Otto von Schirach, a Miami-based producer who worships papayas (Google it) and whose music is truly, truly out-there.
Stamina presents Bladerunner and Sam Binga at F8, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 26. Free; feightsf.com
Drum & bass, once a thriving staple of dancefloors all over the U.K. (with strong regional showings in the States, especially here in San Francisco), has become more and more of a niche sound, especially as other sub-types of “bass music” (especially dubstep and its kin) have taken the world by storm. In truth, the shrinking popularity of drum & bass has been something of a boon, as it has forced producers dedicated to the sound to double down and innovate. Stamina's Sunday night weekly at F8 (always free!) plays host to a number of these diehards, including its latest, featuring genre-bender Sam Binga and traditionalist Bladerunner. Binga burst onto the scene just two years ago and quickly became one of d'n'b's most compelling producers by incorporating influences from all across the bass music spectrum. Bladerunner, meanwhile, produces no-nonsense up-tempo d'n'b, turn-of-the-century style. Stamina resident Adept will warm up the floor.