You know what I mean don’t you. You hear some music, the sound waves travel through your ears, you feel it in your body in an inexplicable way, and your brain translates that sound and generates a response. That response is often a facial reaction that is contradictory to how you actually feel. It’s a reaction that is akin to smelling something foul, like some fucker did a drive-by room levelling fart and you end up looking like this.
This is typically followed by some serious head nodding or a body shuffle of some sort. This reaction is universally known as the dirty bass face…DBF for short (I don’t know if that’s true, but let’s make it so if it isn’t already).
The weird thing it’s not necessarily induced by bass heavy tracks either, although my non-empirical research and experiences suggest that a phat bassline is more likely to induce this reaction than any other type of music. I think there’s something to my theory because have you seen the bass faces that bassists generate when they’re playing some bass. Here are a few of my favourites. (click to see larger version)
Anyway, I digress…my point is dirty bass face can be induced by a number of things. It can be a wonderful goose pimple raising instrumental riff which makes you just want to keep playing that bit again and again, or a melody you can’t get out of your head or a line you can’t help but harmonise over, or some piece of musical genius and artistry that makes you stop in awe of the musicians, or Layla Hathaway singing chords with her voice (WITH HER VOICE PEOPLE), or the fact that it literally makes you involuntarily and spontaneously shuffle your body (more recently, it was a piece of `M&S’s Christmas chocolate truffels that induced DBF).
It can also be at any point in the song, some bass face inducers hit you pretty much straight away, others sneak up on you causing some sort of aural double-take moment where you’re all….”say what now….hold up, hold up, hold up”.
Anyway, this phenomenon happens to me pretty frequently. I shudder to think what the people I’ve been sharing offices think when one second I’m working away with my headphones in and next minute I’m pulling whatever my version of dirty bass face looks like and executing some sort of weird desk based body shuffle.They must think I have some sort of facial Tourette’s or a tick.
Here’s a collection of some of my dirty bass face inducing tracks from 2016, a lot have phat basslines (anyone who knows me knows I’m a dirty bass junkie) but others are dirty bass inducing for other reasons. Some of them are songs that have been around for a while but I only discovered this year. I warn you, I don’t claim them all to be in good taste, there are some pretty cheesy, guilty pleasure type stuff in there, but they still have the dirty bass face effect. I’ve listened to a lot more live music since becoming a digital nomad as live music is a great way to get to know a city and meet people, so I’ve seen quite a few of these live, in profuse sweat inducing gigs from some amazing bands. I’d love to hear what your bass face inducers have been in 2016.
Some notable mentions
EDIT TO THIS SECTION: #2 IS OUT IN THE WORLD….YAAAAS! Check THIS out.
- All the decent (non-cheesy) DnB ones come via Daily dose of d&b also known as my colleague Russell Hill whose taste and knowledge of DnB is unparallelled.
- I also want to add some songs I can’t mention because they have not been released yet. There’s quite a few of them and they are from a BLOODY FANTASTIC upcoming album by my old bandmates now known as Fabrik. It’s so good, I can’t even begin to tell ya. Its induced many a bass face moment, on trains, whilst walking, on planes, nowhere is safe from this album and its dirty bass face effect. Please release this album, I neeed it to be out in the world! I saw them live for the first time in the past few days and it was worth the wait!
- The Curtain by Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest – so many different moments of dirty bass face for quite different reasons in this song, it really is a musical journey.
- Tired & Awake by The Hidden Orchestra – I LOVE this band so much and this is the first song that made me fall in love with them, they are constantly on my playlist rotation and have been since about 2009. My bass face tends to kick in from about 2.57, but its a culmination of the whole track really.
- Shaolin Monk Motherfunk by Hiatus Kiayote – this band is EVERYTHING and so is this song. Check out the sweet change around the middle and then again near the end. I was lucky to see them at a festival in Brighton this year… they were superb.
- Bristol – Why, because 2 of the tracks from the list were local bands I discovered and saw play live in Bristol town. I am always going to support that kind of homegrown goodness which needs to be heard.
- The Rubicon by Zuri Aura – A deliciously uplifting song….seriously…just wait for this to kick in. I dare you not to be shuffling or bouncing and pulling a dirty bass face.
- Heltaskelta by Mount Nakara – Seeing these guys was definitely the sweatiest I got whilst in Bristol, Zuri Aura came a very close 2nd (except for when I was still pretending to go to the gym). Their live gigs are explosive and whilst I naturally perspire a lot (TMI?), this was special…I defy anyone to come out of their gig without a sweat on. You’ll also see the sexiest saxophone playing you’ll ever see in your life….that’s a guarantee. I also credit these guys with giving me the inspiration for this blog post as when I was listening to this song post gig, I messaged them to tell them the bassline on this made me pull a dirty bass face.
- Anything house music is mostly for when I go running, I doubt anyone watching would have recognised it for DBF, and more likely as a running grimace, or wondered whether I’d got a stitch.
Final word: you’ll have noticed I introduced the acronym DBF early on, but I’ve actually hardly used it. It’s because I just really like saying dirty bass face. This post has used “dirty bass face” :(including this reference) 21 times, “Bass face”: 32 times and “Bass”: 49 times.