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Level 42's "Love Games"

I've recently been rediscovering the music I listened to as a teenager and, love them or hate them, Level 42 always feature in that list for me (thanks Scott!). Mark King's basslines are engaging and the funk-pop grooves still float my boat. Revisiting the music that made you passionate about your instrument in the first place can provide not only a welcome reprieve from the hardcore jazz you inevitably end up gorging on, but also a wealth of new learning opportunities.

Perhaps one of King's most famous basslines is 'Love Games' (1981) - a single taken from their self-titled debut album. It set a precedent for King's style of continuous linear semiquaver patterns that at times resemble the rudiments used by drummers (you already know that MK was a drummer, right?).

King has reused elements of this bassline on several different occasions since - most obviously during the chorus to 'Dive Into the Sun' from 'Retroglide' (2006).

If you really want to get some new vocabulary into your playing, using Anthony Wellington's (or is it Victor Wooten's?) concept of the 'Modes of Rhythm' is a great place to start as you can apply it to basslines you already know. Put simply, we play the exact same bassline but move beat 'one' elsewhere. Let's apply it to the first bar of 'Love Games'...

If you're already familiar with the bassline, this will take some getting used to. Take it slow - there are twelve more variations of the first bar alone!

Have fun,


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