This week’s 30 Minutes of Bass Education feature documents an artist who’s brought a more global sound to dubstep. In the many countries where the sound’s producers and fans are found, ‘regional’ dubstep seems to balance its original values and the more underground sounds that are found locally. Examples of this can be found in the Mala in Cuba album, Japanese pioneer Goth-Trad‘s discography and the assimilation of hip-hop into dubstep as documented by the West Coast’s Matty G. Turkey’s Gantz has done the same, adding the rich cultural heritage and musical influences of his setting into his own experimental take on the dubstep sound.
However, describing Gantz’s music as “dubstep meets the Middle East” is perhaps too simplistic and superficial. Emir is not a musician who is consciously looking for a way to create a certain vibe, he rather mediates the shape his music forms. We spoke to him about the inception of his involvement in music:
“I have been playing bass (guitar) since 2002, and next to that I started making shitty IDM (Aphex Twin and Autreche-style music) on a computer. It wasn’t until 2006 when I discovered dubstep through my girlfriend of the time. She showed me Loefah’s System. I’ve been producing dubstep since 2006. Jesus Christ, that’s 10 years already now!”
As we’ve found with other musicians we’ve featured in the 30BE series, we can draw clear parallels on the influences playing an instrument has on producers. Gantz is no different – playing the bass has clearly had influence on his music. This instrumental craft has fed into Gantz’s low end skills in his dubstep material, which are often praised for their accuracy, rhythm and melodic progressions.
“I was playing the bass in Jaco style (a particular rhythmic bass guitar style pioneered by Jaco Pastorius), and I was basically imitating a lot of drums on my bass. I tried to make the bass progression sound rhythmic, almost percussive – at least that was the goal.”
We asked Emir if he was able to pinpoint his biggest musical influences – a query which proved hard to answer. Of course, making IDM and playing bass guitar might point towards certain musical influences in the rock and electronic directions but, as many who have seen Gantz play live can attest, the musician has a deep love for hip-hop as well. Sometimes there are clear references to these genres, but they may also be absent in Gantz material: which has a certain duality.
Growing up in Istanbul reflects the duality that is found inside Gantz’s music. It’s a city both connected and divided by the clash of European and Arabic cultures. Chaos and structure are knitted together in the city’s geography as well as in Gantz’s (im)perfect arrangement of bass, atmospheres and vocals. Gantz material, however, remains raw, honest and unorchestrated because Emir does not draw inspiration from productions or artists he likes.
“You know what makes it hard for me to describe a piece of music and why I like it? It’s because when I’m listening I’m only going by my feelings and gut, and I never ask myself why it makes me feel that way at that moment. So when someone asks me, I have no idea. Does that make sense?”
Some key features, however, play a major role in his discography.
In early works, like his 2011 release No Love on Fent Plates, the style that grew to become his signature is evolving. Burial-esque breakbeats (on tunes like Praying Mantis) as well as 2 step-type influences can be heard. Gantz’s early releases – Innamind’s Cave Dance EP or Box Clever’s No Faith / Catalyst – illustrate the producer’s balancing act between heavy percussion and techier dubstep beats as Emir experimented with his sound.
As he continued to find his signature sound and take on dubstep, 2012 saw the beginning of one of the most influential label/ producer relationships the genre’s seen. Innamind Recordings, while less than a year old, had launched their imprint with a compilation that included Gantz’s Choke.
Since Innamind001, Gantz has had six outings on Innamind (and sister label Blacklist) – more releases than with any other imprint. Two EPs followed in 2013 – Enser / Siyam and Stayer, with Baby Face in 2014 and Elmo Rehab / Spooky Action At A Distance following in 2015 on Blacklist. Earlier this year, the mighty Space Horror dropped once again on Blacklist – one of the most well-received releases of 2016.
Alongside the IMR partnership, Emir’s had four outings on Mala‘s DEEP MEDi MUSIK. The solo appearances debuted with Spry Sinister in 2014 and continued with 2015’s Witch Blues EP; joined by collaborations with Kahn and Commodo on Volume One and MEDi090‘s remix EP with Commodo.
As one of the first globally-known musicians to add a worldly take to the dubstep sound, we have much to thank Gantz for. But it’s his efforts to emulate producers like Aphex Twin, with the raw experimental efforts we can find across Emir’s discography, that really stand Gantz apart from the rest of the dubstep sound. Pushing the limits of what the material can do is what pushes the entire genre forward, and without Gantz’s occasional madness things would be significantly more stagnant – dull even – in 140bpm bass music.
Gantz, we salute you.
Click to DOWNLOAD (70MB)
- Gantz – Karma Lies [Self released, 2013]
- LAS & Gantz – Firepusher [System Music, 2014]
- Gantz – Baby Face [Innamind Recordings, 2014]
- Gantz – Tesseract [Self released, 2013]
- Lurka – Refresher (Gantz remix) [Innamind Recordings, 2014]
- Gantz – Siyam [Innamind Recordings, 2013]
- Gantz – Stayer [Innamind Recordings, 2013]
- Gantz – Elmo Rehab [Blacklist, 2015]
- Gantz – No Faith [Box Clever, 2012]
- Gantz – Lyrical Trick [Innamind Recordings, 2013]
- Gantz – Salvo [Self released, 2013]
- Gantz – U Wont Mind [Black Box, 2013]
- Gantz & El Mahdy Jr – Rising [Deep Medi, 2014]
- Gantz – Second Nature [System Music, 2014]
- Gantz – Spry Sinister [Deep Medi, 2014]
Big love to Dubbacle for the write-up and mix
Gantz is playing at fabric tomorrow night with the MEDi family
30 minutes of Bass education #30 will follow when it’s ready – find the previous mixes here.