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Three Compilations of the West Coast

February 27, 2015Ben Carvalho

The West Coast has always been in its own private world musically, external influences propagate here only by mutating into funkier, weirder forms and the homegrown styles are stranger still. Yet to homogenize the West Coast into one group would lose many of the localized flavors to which it plays host. Recent compilations from Portland, Berkeley and Humboldt County shed light on three such sounds.

STYLSS Loves You: Volume One

To call STYLSS a picture of Portland would be selling the collective well short of its World-Wide-Web-wide reach. This internet-based movement is many things to many people, an affiliation of the unaffiliated, and now STYLSS’s atmospheric sound has spread to its physical home of Portland. Released on Valentine’s Day, STYLSS Loves You showcases the disparate strains of bass that fall under its banner. Personal highlights are Bleep Bloop‘s weirdo-grime deconstruction “Midichlorian”, EASTGHOST & WOKR‘s if-Soulection-was-a-noise-label “Cavern” and Galvanix‘s interstellar float-piece “Thirteen”.

Goop Chronicles Vol. II

Berkeley’s Chillage Records are stalwart proponents of gooey glitch hop and beat music that owes as much to Joker as to Tipper. The funky, psychedelic bootlegs that comprise this compilation are an accurate primer for the sounds you’d hear at Bay Area parties such as Wormhole Wednesday. Standout tracks include Esofact‘s warped take of “I Wanna Be Down”, Perkulat0r‘s soaring “Stay Fly” and Megowan‘s slapping version of “BITCHES”.

Bass Crusade: Volume One

As a local, I could say Humboldt County gets trippy, but in reality Humboldt’s never really come down from the 60’s. Situated between Portland and the Bay (Humboldt’s sound owes much to the latter), there’s a particular brand of strangeness in both the music and parties here that sets this redwood-enshrouded wonderland apart from its distant relations. Humboldt Bass Crew’s recent compilation of local producers demonstrates this, both with bigger names like Wu Wei and Psy Fi and producers I hadn’t even heard of, such as KAYAFiYA and Seatones.

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