Podcast #054 – The Best of the Bays

thebays1.jpgLast week, I wrote a little round-up of some of the key bands that play some form of live, electronic dance music. But I realized that I neglected to mention a band that I really should have discussed:

The Bays

While the Bays definitely share similarities with bands like STS9, Lotus, and the New Deal, their approach to playing live electronic music is purely improvisational. They do not have songs, albums, or a record label – in fact, it’s difficult to find their music that you actually can buy. What’s more is that they claim to never actually rehearse for a gig. Nope, this is truly improvisational electronic dance music at its finest. Heavy Drum’n’Bass and House beats shoot straight from the hip, along with some deep/meaty basslines, washy synths, and a bunch of wild samples. thebays3.jpg

Also, from the band’s sound, you can definitely tell that these guys are coming from a different background than say, the Disco Biscuits or Lotus, and not just because they’re European (though that certainly plays a role). This music is not the product of a bunch of jam-kids who found electronic music, but the product of electronic producers and DJs that wanted to play their music in the live setting.

So I spliced together some of my favorite tracks into a mix I hope you all enjoy. It remains to be seen whether this would be best enjoyed while pumpin’ up during a workout or zoning out on the late-night tip, but I’ll let all of you decide. Enjoy!

Total running time: 41:29

More commentary and info after the jump…

As much as I dig all the other bands doing this sort of thing, the Bays are really doin’ it right when it comes to a live band trying to emulate what a DJ would do. One of the things I love about this band is that there’s no guitar and the keyboards aren’t really in the lead (perhaps one of the key distinctions from the bands I mentioned above). If anything, the drums are what really propel these jams, perhaps only followed by the bass. The ambient synths and backgroud samples are needed to set the vibe and create cool textures, but drums and bass are really the key components of electronic dance music.

But there’s one big problem I have with the Bays: they don’t tour in the U.S! I’ve known of these guys for years and have not once heard of them flying across the pond for a North American tour. Also, because these guys have plenty of other music projects, it seems like the Bays remains a side project that takes place rather infrequently. I’d love for that to change, and I know there are at least plenty Bisco fans that feel the same way.

If you’re really interested in the Bays, I’ve compiled a few other resources and items to check out:

It looks like they’re in the midst of re-vamping their website. But if you’re curious about their story, you can check out this BBC interview with the Bays at the Big Chill, or their Wikipedia entry.

As part of an annual educational fair by the British Council, the Bays traveled to Mexico to teach a group of Mexican youth their improvisational techbiques. The trip was the subject of a short documentary by Tom Oldham.

They used to have a killer video of the studio sessions the band did with the infamous John Peel (3 tracks from the podcast are from this show but it is currently inaccesible on the BBC site).

Dancehall video

2005 Review

More about Jamie Odell (aka Jimster)

By the way, if you enjoy the mix, let me know and maybe I’ll pull together some other tracks for a second version.