Partywave Pushloop Left Field Bass
A&E

Is ‘Left Field Bass’ The New Dubstep?

A sub-genre takes root with former Santa Cruz DJ Pushloop and Partywave

Partywave plays with Pushloop at the Catalyst on Saturday, May 4.

The friendship between electronic producers Partywave and Pushloop started out of mutual admiration. A year ago, they both played the underground electronic music festival Untz Festival in Mariposa. Partywave was an unannounced special guest, and the guy who went on right before him blew his mind.

That was Pushloop, who started DJing in Santa Cruz in 2009 but now resides in Auburn. He had a similar reaction to Partywave and says that after seeing each other’s sets they had an “instant bond.”

“He makes some really vibe-y beats and always has great atmosphere and texture,” Pushloop says of his tourmate.

Now, they’re close friends, influencing each other’s music and currently in the midst of an eight-week West Coast string of shows called the Elements Tour. They roll through the Catalyst here in Santa Cruz on Saturday, May 4.

Give one listen to either of the underground producers’ heavy beats and it’s easy to understand their bond. Both draw deeply from the West Coast bass style, laying down alien noises as impenetrable beats float through a thick cloud of echoing psychedelic smoke. Once upon a time, their individual sounds would’ve been called dubstep, but that’s such a broad genre these days that new labels are needed. Partwave already has a name for their particular sub-genre.

“People have been calling it ‘left field bass,’” Partywave says.

It’s an apt name, with bone-rattling wobbles acting as a launching pad for their distinct melodic weirdness, sending audiences into a time-dripping hole of sound. It’s fresh. It’s dance-y. It’s fun. It makes you feel like everything is melting without drugs. And apparently left field bass is on the rise. The two have built an underground army of followers, boasting a collective 23,000 Soundcloud fans.

“I think the name is accurate. It’s much deeper and heavier,” Partywave says, compared to standard bass music.

Where Pushloop will gravitate to the darker, grittier regions of his music, Partywave tends to keep things more upbeat and light, but still firmly grounded in the traditions of bass music. Maybe it’s his low-key San Diego background, or the fact that he has spent the last four years of his life lounging in Hawaii.

But the two DJs are starting to rub off on each other. Partywave’s latest Soundcloud mix Moon has a much darker sound that his previous efforts. There’s also a yet-to-be-named track on there that the two producers worked on together. It’s new territory for both. They go past simply gritty or upbeat and create a textured sound that is almost mystic, with a beat that sounds produced by an ancient alien civilization.

“We both share a similar vision. I had a great time collaborating with him,” Pushloop says.

Time will tell, but this could mark the beginning of a new era for the producer freshly moved back to the mainland—as in, he moved back to California the day before the tour.

“So basically, here’s the plan: I’m going to tour, tour, tour, until I don’t feel like it anymore,” he says. “Which could be the end of this year, could be next year. Who knows what’s going to happen.”

But even if he does eventually take a break from the road, or just cuts back to a few shows a year, Partywave says he’ll never stop making music, and he plans to continue pushing the wave of momentum with his current collaboration into the future. Pushloop intends to release a lot more music this year, though he can’t talk about it because he’s under contract.

“For now, we’re just doing the one song, but talked about doing an EP,” Partywave says. “We’ll definitely collab on something later.”

The Elements Tour starts at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, at the Catalyst Club Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $10 adv/$15 door. 423-1338.

Contributor at Good Times |

Mat Weir originally hails from Southern California but don't hold that against him. For the past decade he has reported on the Santa Cruz music scene and has kept the reading public informed on important community issues such as homelessness, rent hikes, addiction and social injustices. He is a graduate from UCSC, is friends with a little dog name Ruckus and one day will update his personal page, WeirdJournalism.com.

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