Release Date: Apr 30, 2012
Record label: Tectonic
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
It's both helpful and a little disorienting that the term "bass music" has grown to identify the general cross-genre hybridization of post-dubstep/funky/wonky/juke. It's helpful because it's good not to have to invoke a description with that many slashes. It's disorienting because there already was a movement called "bass music" decades back, modified by qualifiers like "Miami" or "booty." So the simultaneous incorporation of both bass musics feels a bit like some kind of inevitable "well, duh" streamlining.
To say Michael Rathbun has been prominent in the past year would be an understatement, releasing on all kinds of labels big and small. It's primarily a good thing, considering he's one of the strongest personalities to come out of the whole footwork-cum-bass-music wading pool. His signing to Tectonic has perhaps been the most high-profile of all, and out of the deal comes the debut Distal album, Civilization, which surprisingly sees him abandon most of his uptempo hijinks for something a little more careful and methodic, easily comparable to Addison Groove's Transistor Rhythm.
Banging on about production values is probably a dull way to assess music. After all, it's the ideas that count, right? Some of the most banal dance music in existence is flawlessly executed, dynamics exquisitely balanced, every frequency tweaked to perfection. And yet, it's not so easy to unpick the two. As far as the dancefloor's concerned, entwined with any sonic virus is the effectiveness with which it can be injected directly into the nervous system.