7 – Modulated Bass
The basslines in this category straddle various genres but are perhaps most often associated with more bombastic styles, with obvious influences being hardcore, rave and jungle.
This type of modulated bass is best explained by the fact that the melody of the bass part is usually very simple, with the modulation of the synth providing the interest:
Despite this, many of the harder UK bass styles have also referenced US house and techno. Check out Ed Rush, Optical & Fierce’s ‘Alien Girl’:
You can hear the harsher, continuously-tweaked, mid-range synths layered with the lower bass that utilises the fabled Reese sound, originally used by Kevin Saunderson under his Reese moniker on ‘Just Another Chance’. You can find out how to create your own version of the Reese here.
Paul Woolford frequently uses the Reese bass when creating tracks and remixes as Special Request, his remix of Tessela’s ‘Hackney Parrot’ being the perfect example:
Bass modulation took a different turn with the arrival of dubstep. Skream’s ‘Midnight Request Line’ mixes different lengths of bass note to create the precursor of what became a more overtly automated timbral ‘wobble’ on ‘Rutten’:
This approach may be dated in some contexts now – and even somewhat cliched – but it demonstrates a valuable technique where it’s not so much the notes as the sonic change which is doing much of the work.
Recent, and subtler, variations on this theme can be found on Om Unit’s ‘Jaguar’: