It was a Saturday at the end of November, and I sat in the international express train to Bratislava for another drum & bass night called Basshaze. As a fan of more sophisticated type of drum & bass this was a moment where duty met pleasure. Basshaze has been a regular club night since 2014 and during those years it presented names such as Satl, Zero T, Blu Mar Ten, Monty, Spectrasoul, DLR, or LSB & DRS. Last party of this year hosted incredible lineup of world wide successful artists: Artificial Intelligence, Bop, Charli Brix and Emma G.
There is a mastermind of dj Lixx behind the Basshaze night, one of the most notorious Slovak djs. He is djing for 20 years, playing a wide range of drum&bass. Besides event promotion, music journalism and graphic design, he is an author & moderator of regular drum & bass show SIGNAII_FM (broadcasted every Sunday on Slovakian Radio_FM).
Slovakian capital can surprise you with its size. There are 500 000 people living there, but size of the center is not large, so you can reach the club from the train station very easily, it is just a short walk during which you can see Bratislava Castle, forget about a taxi. KC Dunaj (name based on river Danube nearby) hosts Basshaze nights and it is a very welcoming and comfortable club. Unusually, you enter an elevator to reach the fourth floor and it spits you out into the middle of the club, smokers can enjoy a large smoking terrace, full bars with friendly bartenders will please lovers of beer, scotch and mixed drinks.
To be there early meant to see how the party starts and how it works in the backstage. There was a short meeting right before opening the main room, you could tell that the small organisational team knows very well what they are doing. Things and orders were being said in a professional but friendly way.
Everything is ready, let´s go! Dannyhell, the first dj of the night moved to the main room from the bar lounge and started to fill in the dancefloor with his selection. He played some cool tunes, for instance from Spectrasoul or Pola & Bryson, and it was clear that every soulful raver is at the right place for the night.
Then it was time for a first international quest. Attractive Emma G is a djane from New Zealand and a manager of Integral Records and the club is getting more packed during her set. She mixes darker tracks with strong energy with softer vocal tracks. Her life performance is confident and her constant smile adds a big dose of female energy. Super basslines and dancefloor smashers pump the beats into the Funktion One soundsystem and everything is technically perfect. End of her set brings a well deserved applause.
Charli Brix, British drum&bass diva introduces herself as a djane first, in the beginning she looks shy and only gradually develops a heavy Bristol sound. She mixes classical tracks like 20 Questions from Ivy Lab with her own vocals and you hear a lot from her latest EP Kintsugi (Did you know that Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum? This just sticks with you, hm? Pun intended.). At the end of her set we see a perfectly confident artist and the crowd is going wild. Well done, Charli, you know how to roll!
It is 1 am and it is time for Bop. Born in Saint-Petersburg, an intellectually looking gentleman forces you to switch to different wavelenghts. To enjoy his set you must feel the music as a vast mass of ocean water, there is so much more going on underneath the surface, in this deep enormous space, where time flows differently. You can imagine yourself floating next to a blue whale whose beating heart is larger than your car, when all of a sudden you are interrupted by a speeding heavyweight supersonic torpedo passing by you. The dancefloor is not as packed as before, but Alexander was a great performer and communicated with the crowd, so everyone who stayed, had a blast. This was a surprise of the evening for me.
Time flies quickly and here it is: Artificial Intelligence. This well known duo was represented by Glenn Herweijer (did you know, he is the husband of Emma G?). 90 mins under his rule was a musical journey to all the corners of drum&bass universe. Skilfully mixed selection of ambient tracks, soulful music, original author sound of this duo and deep rollers moved everyone in the room including a young guy on a wheelchair. Earlier in the evening he was asking about set time of Artificial Intelligence, spreading his thoughts that Artificial Intelligence are also behind a mystery producer project Dawn Wall (who knows?), and he was proudly wearing a Dawn Wall t-shirt by no accident obviously. He said this was his second Basshaze, that he expected a super party with cool people, and that he was not mistaken. Charli Brix finally showed herself with a microphone as a vocalist, which added even more atmosphere to the set. VJ Kriss Sagan was another crucial element of the party, her animations and visualisations were incredible and made this party a feast not only for ears, but for eyes too!
Right at the end of the party you might think, there is nothing more to surprise you, but you could not be more wrong. Unexpectedly Pavan Mukhi aka Orifice Vulgatron of phenomenal Foreign Beggars showed up. He entered the stage with almost childlike energy and started a proper b2b mc fire with Slovakian mc Jimmy Danger. Dj Lixx was playing and their vibez could shoot you out into space! Charli Brix did not leave it to only two guys on the mic and she joined them as well, so everyone was having the pleasure of hearing a hectic battle of three vocalists. Crowd went absolutely mental, like this was a headlining set of the night. Soon it was 5 am, the crazy ride was over and you could see on Lixx’s face that this mission was successful, he did not want to leave the mix and go home. Well, no one wanted to go home after this.
So, what can we look forward to in 2020? We do not know. But one thing is for sure: Basshaze brings quality, and this event places Slovakian scene among the European’s finest!