Color genres are a subcategory of house, bass, and dubstep music, with colorful melodies and intricate sound design. Since its creation in the 2010s, it didn’t get a name for itself until 2019 with artists like Ace Aura, Chime, and many more coining the term Color Bass. Chime founded Rushdown, a record label dedicated to color genres, to promote this new genre and the artists within it to mainstream audiences.
Color genres originated from Color Bass, a subgenre of EDM and Dubstep. What sets Color Bass apart from other genres is its unique creative spin on sound design. Basses from other subgenres are often vocoded or overprocessed to have more harmonics and “color.” While it is hard to define the genre itself, Color Bass takes influence from various other sub-genres. For example, it can take influences from heavier, more metallic genres like Tearout or more melodic ones like Future Riddim. It is also known for its use of watery textures, which tends to lean more towards an experimental approach. The artists KERO and Sirenes Cole are known for their more melodic and chilled-out style, whereas Noctane has perfected a heavy style often clipping the mix to introduce a more loud and massive sound to their tracks.
Color genres take influence from all sorts of different genres. For example, color House is influenced by House music; a very popular genre of EDM characterized by a repetitive four-on-the-floor beat (specifically future house and general house music). Artists like Mo Falk are at the forefront of the “Color House Movement” and are pushing it to be one of the more widely known genres within house music.
Color genre production is one of the most intricate and creative processes in EDM and general music production. According to Noctane, a Color Bass producer, “the most popular methods for producing color Bass are vocoding and morphing.” People will use a smart polyphonic auto-tuner with bands on the entire octaves on a keyboard. Often producers will post-process samples or bass shots by just putting multiple multiband compressors (a group of several compressors in which each individual compression focuses on specific frequencies), distortion, transient processors (a dynamic processing plugin) and lots of EQing (removal of certain frequencies). Pitchmap is a plug-in that processes individual pitches within mixed signals and is probably the most common way to achieve this effect; mapping sounds to midi (a form of recorded notes played on a piano roll) and then processing them through plugins like a vocoder or Pitchmap.
Color genres have become a niche staple within EDM and have a lot of potential for growth and evolution. With its unique and diverse creative processes, it has the potential to become a major EDM staple.