Here’s the thing:
we don’t really know what bass actually is
– although we certainly have instinctive understanding of its importance.
Super-producer and Killing Joke bassist Youth sums up a huge amount of the appeal and complexity thus: “You feel bass more than you hear it and you feel it most in gut and your groin. So it can activate your sexual response, but also can root us and earth us. Like when you’re flying at a rave, it’s the bassline that can be your lifeline and save you from a complete meltdown. For me as a bass player, it’s not just locking the rhythm down and becoming a moving tone for the kick drum (which is a big part of it): it can also provide counter melody, carry the melody and provide harmony. As a producer it’s the same, a great bass line will lock in the drums and make you want to move to the groove. It will seduce you into listening to the song.”