Every instrument provides rhythm. Every sound you make has a rhythm, unless it has an extremely slow attack. Even chord changes have a rhythmic impact, and the timing of harmonic changes is felt in relation to everything else that's happening in the music. It seems to be a common misconception that a drummer makes the groove and all other players are free to pour any sort of timing mush on top of it. Not at all! Every instrument is capable of ruining the groove for everyone else. Flute, piano, violins, choir, you name it.
A good swinging rhythm has ups and downs, highs and lows, attacks and releases, and basses can provide some of that. Low instruments have a certain role in the big picture, but any instrument with a sharp percussive attack can work somewhat like a drum.
Here's a small example, sequencing orchestral sounds, deliberately starting with non-bass and softer instruments. At what point do you feel there's rhythm? Myself, I'm in the groove from the first measure.
It's of course just a bunch of samples, tightly sequenced, machine-like timing etc. and I didn't put the sounds in a virtual hall because it would have just made it mushy. Could an actual orchestra play like that? Beats me. At least there are extremely groovy violin sections on soul and R&B records! And the same goes with flutes and pianos. But it must be kind of difficult to sound like a Motown studio album when you're on a wide stage in a big hall, conducted by someone with a baton, and ... playing classical music, which isn't actually supposed to sound like Motown.
The thing about modern electronic pop music is that due to technological advancements (or "advancements" depending on how you see it), all kinds of sonic phenomena can be emphasized to be arbitrarily and unnaturally strong. Timing can be machine-like perfect all the time, attacks can be sharp all the time, everything can be incredibly loud and punchy at the same time, the whole soundscape can be made to pump in rhythm with the kick drum, etc. Anything that you can feel, can be distilled and synthesized to feel much stronger. Just look at many questions here, people want to find formulas and rules to musical phenomena so they could turn all knobs to 11, without having to actually learn music.
Maybe there's another question behind this: how can anyone be interested in listening to orchestral music played by actual people, when there are so much stronger artificially enhanced synthetic sensations available?