Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Generation Bass Presents: Transnational Dubstep [Six Degrees, 2011]
In 1994 Wax Trax' Ethnotechno proved a politely polyrhythmic techno reachout to straightforward international dance musics it secretly found quaint. It listened well and stuck poorly, the "ethnotechno" tag itself its main contribution to international understanding. Conceived, assigned, and sequenced by DJ Umb, the London-born son of Kashmiri exiles who promotes such all-embracing terms as "transnational bass" at his Generation Bass blog, this array of whomping exotica reflects its creator's appetite for any Third World dance movement he can get his ears on, including such new ones on me as kuduro, barefoot, and--from the mysterious depths of the District of Columbia--Moombahton! Plus, of course, the bassy evolution of techno beatmaking since 1994. Speaking as someone who will never enter a barefoot club (my doctor prescribed those orthotics, dammit), I hereby extend my thanks to whoever invented that shuddering synth low end that turns background music into foreground fun without requiring you to kiss your ass goodbye. And I also testify that not a damn thing here sounds quaint. Which is to make no predictions as to how any of them will sound 17 years from now. A-