Artist Profile: Harvard Bass

For our second Providence event, we will be bringing in Harvard Bass  to be playing our inaugural Senior Week party.  In the current electronic music world, Harvard Bass certainly fits in more within the underground than the mainstream world I discussed a couple of posts earlier.  Described in his bio as a “combination of elegant, smooth and sophisticated minimalism on one side and bad ass dirty jacking ghetto house grooves with filthy drums and simple, obsessive riffs on the other,” Harvard Bass represents an interesting cross-section of the dance world. His first single, “Caked” offers us a glimpse into the world of “ghetto house”.

While not really a common genre today, “ghetto house” once to referred to the practice of putting sexual lyrics of class Chicago house beats.  Although most of his songs lack lyrics, we can see the influence of Chicago House in his early productions.  The kick drum is somewhat distorted, a sound that developed from the use of cheap samplers amongst early hip-hop and dance producers, and the vocal sample and bass line maintain a steady rhythm that wouldn’t be out of place in a late 80’s warehouse. However, today, Harvard Bass has made quite a shift exploring a sound that has more in common with techno than early chicago house.  Some of his latest releases are his collaborations with Green Velvet, aka Cajmere, the 90s house star, and they go in a very different direction.  Their first single “Techyes” immediately draws a sharp contrast with Harvard Bass’s earlier production work with it’s heavy use of high quality reverb and large round kick drum.  The synths are omnipresent creating a massive sound space with a groove that is much more indicative of European techno than Chicago House’s urban roots.

However if looking for a common thread between his early and more recent work, we can take a look at his latest single “Juicy” which has both a techno groove but digital synths reminiscent of his earlier works.

While originally from Mexico, there doesn’t seem to be much of a direct correlation and the dance styles that have originated from Tijuana such as Norteca, as he seems to stick with house and techno grooves and digital sounds.  However, in the future there’s no telling what direction he could head.  So if you’re in Providence this Friday, stop by the Colosseum and check out his latest offering.s


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