Now All These Bass Are Belong to Us [sic]

I discovered the Netflix series Narcos a couple of weeks back. It’s so good that The Wife and I binge-watched the whole thing in just two nights. Who knew the story of Pablo Escobar was so fascinating? It’s among the best TV series I’ve seen all year.

Now I’m totally hooked on what’s happening Columbia, which brings me to this piece from Vice on the country’s bass lords. You want to rattle your heart out of your chest? You can try some traditional Columbian gak (not recommended) or try something almost as dangerous: enduring the bass of competing picós in places like Barranquilla.

It’s 2 AM on a Sunday on the outskirts of Barranquilla, Colombia, and hundreds of revelers are dancing in the streets to the rhythms of three competing picó style sound systems. Up close, each picó is loud enough to drown out its neighbors, but between them is a soundscape as psychedelic as the neon airbrush paintings covering the grills of the towering speaker stacks.

New reggaeton hits released just last week blend with Nigerian pop from the 70s and the native sounds of champeta. Lasers, deafening pitch-shifted DJ drops, copious rum and cheap bottles of the light local Aguila suds all add to the intensity.

Keep reading. And make sure you study all the pictures.

Columbian picos

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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