What Is Future Bass, Anyways?

This new sub-genre sounds like a bunch of sea creatures jumped into a time machine. We asked a bunch of TBD festival-goers to describe it.

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Nov 19 2015, 3:35pm

There once was a time when genres were simple and music was pure. Sure, there was house and techno, both of which would be dissected into a variety of sub-genres—acid, italo, deep, dub—as time went on, but nothing could prepare dance music lovers for the minutely complicated electronic music nomenclature of the present. Here in 2015, when aliens walk the streets and cars fly in the sky, the industry has seemingly decided the simplest way to describe these shapeshifting styles of music is to quite literally slap the word "future" in front of just about everything.

Somehow, the "future" prefix has stuck. During our trip to TBD festival in Sacramento, California this year, we thought we'd a offer a portal into the wonky world of one of the most perplexing of these emerging microgenres: "future bass."Picking up steam like a sub-loving spaceship, future bass takes its name from a combination of synths, squeaks, aquatic wildlife sounds, and probably a few tones whose names don't even exist yet. It's also has become associated with an array of international artists like Cashmere Cat, Flume, ODESZA, and Wave Racer—just to name a few.

Traveling throughout the festival grounds, we asked a bunch of the event's patrons how exactly they would define it.