I've been to many festivals of many kinds over the years. Few names in the world of festivals, especially in my home province of BC, are spoken to me with such high regard as Bass Coast. Over its 10 years of existence I've encountered countless people that tell me Bass Coast is where you find the best. The best music. The best vibes. The best dancing. The best stages for having room for said dancing. The best place for discovering new music and sounds in the great wide open that is electronic music. The best for reconnecting with old favourites in a special space. These are the reasons why my head is turned towards Bass Coast more than ever. I want new sounds and if this is the place to find the sounds of the future, then this is where we all need to be looking for new things to put into our ears. A quick scan of the lineup release instantly got the blood flowing with excitement. These are the five names that jumped out right away. In the next couple weeks, I'll be back to take a deeper look as I dig deeper and get into the shockingly vast expanse of names that are new to my eyes and ears.
For lovers of quality, chilled-out space-funk, there are few names as essential as Mndsgn. The L.A. transplant is a staple of the legendary Stones Throw records, the home to his incredible, wholly unique albums. His debut record Yawn Zen is a lo-fi funk gem that demands repeated listens to unravel its intense mystery. It's been a constant staple of my listening diet since I first got it into my ears. The gentle funk push, combined with a phenomenal ear for hip-hop makes homie one of the most unique and consistent DJs doing the thing right now. Mndsgn is undoubtedly the first name that jumped out at me when I saw the lineup for Bass Coast X, as I wouldn't entirely expect him to be at an electronic music festival on a river. But, Bass Coast is clearly curated by true music nerds, so I probably shouldn't have been surprised. Soft, warm and embracing, Mndsgn is sure to lay down a sultry festival highlight.
Lazy Syrup Orchestra
Anyone who's heard whispers of Bass Coast the last few years has probably heard something about Lazy Syrup Orchestra. Legend has it they were birthed right there on the Bass Coast grounds. Their Slay Bay sets have become legendary staples of the festival, and mentioned as highlights from goers pretty much across the board. I caught them last summer during an incredible performance on a mountain at Tall Tree and their annually-released sets from Bass Coast remain in constant rotation (Also great to put on in a room full of people with disparate tastes because, from my own research, no one ever disagrees with Lazy Syrup). Their sets are always sonic adventures and the endless collaboration adds an extra level to the excitement. It kinda feels like: If you haven't seen Lazy Syrup at Slay Bay, have you really seen Lazy Syrup Orchestra?
If you like a good dose of weird with your dance intake, then D. Tiffany is for you. Her grooves are trance-inducing, helping lull your hips and mind into thoughtless movement. Once you are properly captivated it's the easiest of tasks to pump weird musical ideas and sounds into your bloodstream to both discombobulate and delight. Her recent set here in Victoria's infamous Frequency Saturday series was in my body for days. I can't imagine how my brain will respond after a day or two of dancing in the melting heat. Hopefully her set as is as deep in the schedule as possible to allow for maximum brain-melt. Get weird.
I accidentally saw the last half of Ivy Lab's set last year at a festival and was mesmerized instantly. I didn't know anything about them before that, but their electronic music fit perfectly in with my decidedly hip-hop tastes, but this wasn't just hip-hop beats. It was weird and dark, heavy and groovy, pouring itself slowly into my ears and around my brain. It was an all-encompassing musical experience. When I would mention Ivy Lab in conversation afterwards, many people didn't know who I was talking about but the ones who knew the trio lit the fuck up at the mention of their name. The fervour of their fanbase gets me riled up and this new album, Death Don't Always Taste Good, they released a couple weeks ago, HOLY SHIT. This thing is a beast. I can't wait to hear what they do with these tracks as a framework on a proper, chest-rattling system. 10/10 can't miss.
I've written about Woodhead before, but I honestly think that every chance you get to see Woodhead is a chance that you should take. One of the artists who helped open up house music for me, I have yet to come across anyone who consistently delights me with the utter warmth of their beats and grooves. His mixes have fuelled many a living room dance parties and his night-saving set from Shambhala in 2016 remains one of my most treasured electronic music highlights. If you like swampy warm house and disco grooves you definitely want to get after this set, and even if house isn't something you fuck with, you'll probably find something to dig if you like deep grooves of any kind.