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When the ostinato bass line "makes" the song... What are your favs?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by EmaTheMirror, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. EmaTheMirror


    Oct 9, 2009
    London, UK
    Do you know those times when you get hooked to a song or enjoy listening to some stuff mainly because it basically revolves around a very audible ostinato bass riff and you go in your nerdish comfort zone? Sometimes the song is great and that's a bonus, other times it's rather forgettable and we shamelessly listen to it just because we play bass.

    Without ranking them, or give any sort of score, when I think of this phenomenon I mainly think of:

    - a lot of late 70s/early 80s new-wave-ish stuff. Mainly early Simple Minds (In Trance As Mission, Waterfront, Colours Fly And Catherine Wheels...) Bauhaus, Joy Division and Peter Hook - the irony of surnames - in general, a lot of Japan and early Mick Karn stuff (Swing...), some early U2 songs (Wire - great piercing tone as well - to some extent New Year's Day...), a lot of The Cure (39, Fascination Street, most of their early stuff, basically all Pornography album), Rio by Duran Duran to some extent...

    - newer indie-ish stuff, like Death Cab For Cutie (predominantly I Will Possess Your Heart), Doves...

    - some famous Tony Levin parts on Peter Gabriel hits, such as Sledgehammer and Don't Give Up. Also some of the jams he did with L.T.E.

    - Rush with Malignant Narcissism

    - up to a certain extent Forget Me Nots' slap line by Freddie Washington

    - some stuff verging on experimental/psychedelic, say Brian Jonestown Massacre, some Tame Impala...

    - this is a bit shameless :smug:: a song of a recent shoegaze/psychedelic project I was part of, where everything basically sounds layered upon my starting Bass VI ostinato line - it's best to listen from the top.

    In fact, that was not the very first part being written, and I played both bass and most guitar parts on the same Bass VI instrument, but I digress...

    What are the songs coming to your mind when you think of this indulgent listening pattern? :laugh: Any other examples to listen to?
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
  2. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    Billy Cobham - Stratus.
    JimK and JRA like this.
  3. EmaTheMirror


    Oct 9, 2009
    London, UK
    On that note, I could also add Cucumber Slumber by Weather Report - Alphonso Johnson
  4. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    beat me to it -- pretty much the alpha and the omega of ostinato bass lines right there.

    Also: Riders on the Storm
    gebass6 and JimK like this.
  5. Papa was a Rolling Stone
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  6. Bertr


    May 6, 2013
    Technically, any riff repeated twice is an ostinato. So 'Come together' then.
  7. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    ...and one note can hold it all together...

  8. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    No, not the original, but still primordial...

    At least the first part, then it turns into instructions for Sonic Youth...

    Don’t forget to make it mellow...

    Just four notes, but if you flub it just once, everyone will turn around and look at you(and you’ll get fined)...

    Grind it!

    Roger again...
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
    EmaTheMirror likes this.
  9. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    It's an intro, but it's still ostinato...and the song wouldn't be the same without it. Kudos to Klaus Voormann.

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
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