Spotlight: Bassment

Promising compilation release party from the dubstep-techno monthly

What is it?
A two-year-old dubstep-techno monthly which this month celebrates the launch of its first compilation with a promising-looking release party at The Shelter. The night comes care of a quartet of Shanghai producer-DJs known collectively as Intransik Beats and includes Fakir, Minimal Entropy, Vince Lorenz and dub-tech genre-straddler Steven Lorenz (who also joins bass-centred monthly Sub-Culture in early March). 

‘We’d bought serveral producers to the Bassment event,’ says Lorenz, ‘all of which had a very different sound and style, so we wanted a compilation to represent that, to define ourselves, and what we do.’

What’s it like?
Six tracks of stolid, elliptical, chilly and club-orientated techno that rarely makes for particularly approachable home listening. All tracks come from Intransik Beats founders or previous Bassment guests, a familiar cast of Shanghai faces such as LLND, who open with the glassy, unsettled and perhaps over-stuffed ‘Burned on Acid’, which covers so much sonic terrain in seven minutes as to almost feel like a mix unto itself.

‘NGC-1277’ from Void’s Shanghai Ultra is more consistent, a roving expanse of sound that acquires its layers and warmth more patiently although never quite exceeds lukewarm.

One of the best, or at least most tangible, moments though, belongs to arch production duo Acid Pony Club’s ‘U’re Always Here’, that breaks from desolate cymbals and murmurs into a bouncey, low-tech, house beat before recoiling back into itself. Weirdly, Love Bang’s Heatwolves gets a credit on the track. ‘We live in the same building and he always finds me there recording streets sounds,’ says Laura Ingalls. ‘So I recorded him on his porch one night and then treated the sounds pretty heavily to get that ghost-like sound on the track,’ he adds. ‘I use field recordings to create a sort of “live” atmosphere.’

A fantastic listen?
Not always. The comp probably succeeds better as a representation of a larger scene rather than a collection of keepable tracks. Ingalls, who mastered it, says production is picking up in Shanghai. ‘I think Steven Lorenz has the ability to become a major name in the game,’ he says. ‘And that’s how you build a scene, with producers.’

Bassment is on Friday 22 February at The Shelter. See full event details