Sunday, July 05, 2009

where do u call it


I’ve just written my column for Pitchfork this month, it should be out on Wednesday. It features Joy Orbison, who’s “Hyph Mngo” track is just overly-sick. Ben UFO was playing it when I walked into FWD last weekend and I nearly ran from the back to the front to pull it up. (I didn’t, because I having just arrived I wasn’t sure if Ben had already licked it back once already.)

The piece explains what’s great about “Hyph Mngo,” which I’d love to see become an anthem, the influence of funky and some of the DJs that connect to this sound: Ben UFO, Oneman, Brackles etc.

What it can’t and won’t mention is me and Dusk.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our sound lately, production, DJing and label wise. It’s been three years since dubstep blew up and truth be told I’m finding it harder each month to get hold of “dubstep” I like for our Rinse show (I’m not talking about the satellite producers like Zomby or Joker here btw or eski gems from Untold, but dark subby dubstep).

I think it’s probably also pretty clear from my writing, which I’ve tried to keep positive, that I really can’t stand the direction the majority of dubstep is heading in. Mid range distorted heavy metal is a total betrayal of everything we tried to build as a scene, whether the DJs/producers in question invented it themselves or cloned it off someone else. I still believe deeply in what dubstep is and can be, but if that’s it, count me out.

I guess it’s become clearer to me recently where Dusk and I stand, musically summer ‘09, and that is some kind of intersection between dubstep, grime, funky, wonk and 2step. And where is that? London.

Finding inspiration in London is hardly a new idea; it’s hardly even a new idea to us, who wrote a flipping album about it last year! But as I see so many of the dubstep DJs take dubstep global on ever increasingly large stages, I increasingly feel that kind of scale is not for me. Don’t get me wrong, if Yankee Stadium calls, I’m man enough to step up to the decks, but realistically I enjoy Forward and Rinse, both as a punter and a DJ, far more.

When I look around the Rinse roster, as well as the funky selectors, it’s DJs like Oneman and Brackles, who share our Thursday 11pm slot, who I increasingly feel musical affinity with. Dusk and I take a different approach to how we use old school on our show, and I sure would love to mix like Oneman, but selection wise I think there’s common ground.

Hyperdub have been an incredible inspiration in the last two years, but it’s nice to now see a collection of likeminded producers/DJs like Ben UFO, Oneman, Brackles, Braiden, Alex Bok Bok, Grievous Angel, Shortstuff, Martin Kemp and Joy Orbison using Hyperdubs, funky and old school grime ‘n’ garage sensibilities to find a way that isn’t either wobble, dub techno or dull commercial house. To find a way that preserves the quintessential London elements of feminine pressure, rawness, rudeness and all the other nuum factors, without coalescing into just one thing or becoming something unlistenable or unlistenably dull.

In practical terms, this may be as much a question of bpms as selection. Funky rides at 130 bpm, 2step-badman Sully flexes at 134ish and grime's at 140bpm still. I've seen harder dubstep DJs pushing 150bpm. To me, with the gravity of the mass creativity of funky right now, I feel an urge to drop the bpms and up the groove. If this approach is adopted by others this may or may not have the effect of decoupling a large number of the most creative producers, away from the anthem-bashing, endlessly revving wobble guys who really want to turn dubstep into post-d&b noize (and are proud of it).

So there we are. All this won’t be news if you’ve been checking our Rinse shows, come to our sets or buying our Keysound 12”s. But perhaps it was worth saying. Praps not. Either way, let’s roll...


Suggestion Boy said...

London's so 2003. Most exciting dubstep/wonk is coming out of Bristol and Glasgow. UKF is the most boring house music in the entire world, and that takes some doing.

Unknown said...

Don't call it on dubstep just cos some toys discovered how to wobble in Massive.

Peeps need educating, so they can find the signal in the noise.

Ken W. said...

I guess I've fallen into the metal wonky wobble side of where the direction of dubstep is heading or where it has arrived.

Then again, I didn't really pay attention to dubstep, till a year ago when I started hearing Dave Taylor playing dubstep towards the end of his sets and Rusko's Essential Mix back in Dec. 08'

I was aware of the dubstep sound circa 2006, but to me, this sound was too dark and dubby and it seems a lot of people felt the same way.

Now with any genre, there will always be interpretations of the sound, which is a good thing for the most part.

All I can say is keep doing what your doing and stay the coarse that was set with the original sound of dubstep.

Let the other artists, dj's and producers who want to take it in a different direction do so.

As they saying goes, "Variety is the spice of life."


Simon said...

Life is boring at one BPM/sound! ;) Nice post Martin.

Philip Sherburne said...

hey martin,
interesting post -- interesting to me, anyway, because i've been so glum about the overall direction of club-centric, post-minimal house/techno for so long, and it seems like similar problems are hitting dubstep as it matures.

one thing i'm curious about -- are you really anti dub-techno, do you think that it's somehow the wrong direction to take? or is it more a question that it doesn't contain the more UK-specific sense of swing/"rawness"/"rudeness"?

i'm obviously a fan of a lot of the dub techno stuff (no surprise given that i've been listening to dubby techno for 12 or 13 years), but i don't see it necessarily closing off other avenues -- it's an option, an avenue, but it doesn't (to me) preclude 2-steppier stuff at all... the difference between the dub-techno axis and the 2-step axis (to simplify greatly) to me seems mostly about a use of texture and space (plus, currently, swing, though it needn't be).

i'm very curious to see where the tempo goes... and excited that some of this funkier, 2-steppier 'step is slowing down, like the new david kennedy on soul jazz, which mixes like a dream with house music.

anyway, just some early, pre-coffee thoughts. eager to read the column.

cólz said...

...'drop the bpms and up the groove'


Anonymous said...

"the most boring house music in the entire world" lol. nice world, prick.

also, interesting post martin, trust your ears innit.

Pacomari said...

As soon as the likes of Caspa, Rusko et al became popular it was obvious we were heading down this path. I'm not taking anything from the anthem basher crowd, they are filling a hole in the market and whilst they have been around the longest (and could be the swell'est of chaps around) it doesn't make it acceptable.

Innovate or die is a good a mantra as any to live by, shame some would rather milk the now.

This is not a dig at those two, they are just the first names that popped into my head... Thank fuck for Rustie for Appleblim for Martyn for Geoim for 2562 for everyone pushing it a bit there is never ending love and when a scholar documents the annals of sound you will be thanked as well.

Simon said...

Interesting comments so far.

Philip - I come from the dub techno side too.. that's what i tend to mix in with dubstep. You're right.. the new Pearson Sound stuff is great.

Variety and space.. subtlety and sounds that hit you hard!

Joe Muggs said...

Joe Muggs here.

As you know, I'm an eclecticist by nature - firmly pro-variety - though I also know that there is a vital place in any scene for purists who want to defend and define particular strains.

What I would ask is, where do you stand on people who straddle both deep AND "heavy metal"? You can include some key players here: Skream, Coki, Benga, Jakes, Hatcha, N-Type all spring to mind.

And what about those who are taking "heavy metal wobble" into wonky territory or blending it with other sounds? Akira Kiteshi, Raffertie, Kanji Kinetic, Starkey, Dev79, for example?

Of course there is a danger of harder-faster lowest-common-denominator stuff taking over. One thinks of the way the Jeff Mills ripoff "loop techno" took over the techno scene globally circa 1996, completely stifling imagination. But up to that point, and even after in the best clubs, hard techno was imaginative, inclusive, various, not just a diehard muppet pillmonkey boys' club - and don't forget that the ethos of those best hard techno clubs (Lost, Club UK etc) had a strong influence on Hatcha and Artwork right back at the beginning of what would become dubstep... And of course, going back further, when rave sped up faster and faster into "darkside", who could predict that it would emerge the other side as jungle?

N.E. said...

i still think dubstep and dub techno could be mutually beneficial to each other, dubstep giving DT a much-needed evolutionary push, and DT suggesting a more sensual, textural world than the rage-filled noise that generic dubstep has degenerated into. it is sort of happening, quietly, in the background.

Blackdown said...

@ Suggestion Boy – London circa ‘03? That’ll be grime exploding, but things have moved on since then. Bristol, I’m entirely down with, we were playing most of those guys’ stuff long before they were hype. Glasgow: I like Rustie, Wireblock and HudMo – what else should I check for?

@ Noz – I’ve kept my line throughout all the wobble madness but I’m just not sure anything can be done about those guys and that direction now. It is what it is, though please forigive me if now and then (“Sincere (wobble mix)”?) I need to point out the tragedy of it.

@ Ken W. Wonky isn’t wobble. Who is Dave Taylor?

@ Phil. Hello sir :). Re dubby techno, yeah I think you nailed it. “It doesn't contain the more UK-specific sense of swing/"rawness"/"rudeness".” To me dubby techno is a relationship that benefits techno far more than dubstep, by providing an alternative rhythmic matrix for techno.

But while it might make techno better, it mostly makes dubstep blander imo. It often makes dub techno blander too – I’m a massive Burial Mix fan and most of this dubby techno is not better than that.

There are exceptions to people on a techy tip. Peverelist is a stone cold favourite of mine right now. “Clunk Click Every Trip” was breathtakingly innovative, while “Bluez” and “Waterfalls remix” take everything that’s great about Detroit synths and put them in a dubstep context.

Coming from the other side of the fence (though he used to make dark halfstep), have you heard the excellent Fact mix from Kowton/Narcossist?

But on the whole the dubstep-techno axis suffers from blandness. Some of the albums in this territory, like say 2562’s, have just been really grey and he’s one of the style’s better purveyors. Other producers just seem to put a clap on the third and delay a stab for 5 minutes. It reminds me of the two major d&b camps: clownstep and liquid. Sure you’d choose to listen to liquid d&b if you were forced, but outside of people like Calibre and MIST, so much of it is polite and sterile.

I need more “swing/"rawness"/"rudeness". I’m excited to hear you think this can come from the dubstep-techno axis, but personally I’m looking at people like Sully, Kowton, Grievous Angel and the funky scene for this kind of flex right now. In particular Cooly G’s stuff is a perfect example of LDN feminine pressure at it’s finest.

Joe Muggs said...

Dave Taylor = Switch. He and a lot of the fidget/electrohouse crew - Diplo, Hervé etc - are playing jump-up dubstep and also wonky of the Zomby, Joker variety.

Re dub techno I'm inclined to agree with you on the whole, although I have a soft spot for the 2562 album, especially the track 'Grey Area'... However I do think it's not just Peverelist: Appleblim is doing great things with that sound pallete, and I'm very impressed with what DFRNT is doing mixing it with Tangerine Dream / Vangelis / Jarre synthscapes.

I think it's much more interesting to hear what people in the slightly harder end of Berlin techno can do with dubstep/garage shapes and forms... by far the most interesting hybrid record I've heard this year is Monolake's latest, which is 2-step with Ostgut/Berghain type techno, which is a much seedier, seamier, more obviously body-rocking sound than the Basic Channel-derived stuff. What that techno can offer to dubstep, I think, is a different sense of time and space - a complete dislocation in fact... where dubstep is rooted quite heavily in the moment (in the particular bass drop, the pull-up etc), that kind of techno is about being in a dark basement for so long that you lose contact with normal reality completely. And where dubstep is for skankers with their feet firmly on the floor, there is a "zero gravity" vibe to BLN techno which the Monolake 12" exhibits perfectly. Even though there are big bass notes, they don't *root* the sound, but buoy it up...

Blackdown said...

Hello “Joe Muggs here” ;)

Purism. Hmm. Well I have a funny relationship with purism – sometimes I appear to be prone to it, but really the forces at work are an urge to optimise, to find the best possible musical directions. Critics like to attack purism as conservative, which it can be, but I personally don’t see an issue with rejecting backwards steps for scenes (an act which could be seen as purist) and embracing forward moving ones (an act which could be seen as the opposite).

You ask about: Coki, Benga, Jakes, Hatcha, N-Type, all of whom (apart from Jakes, who I don’t know) are cool guys. But mostly, musically I don’t find common cause with their direction nor any ‘straddling’ of deep/wobble from their outputs.

The exception there is Skream, I’m really really excited about Skream as a producer right now. La Roux remix was an instant classic and his Swamp 81 12” is great but so much more is to come from his album.

As for wonky "heavy metal wobble” like Akira Kiteshi, Raffertie, Kanji Kinetic, Starkey, Dev79, obviously I’m fully behind Starkey 100%. The others I either don’t know (track recommendations?) or haven’t heard anything that grabs me yet. But personally, if you listen to the Starkbass CD and his Streetbass sound, I think Starkey is heading in a quite unique direction that sounds like a new kind of high energy US rave to me that draws from hip hop, grime, wobble, wonk and rave. I think it’s kinda interesting and I’m certainly keeping one eye on it, just in case.

“when rave sped up faster and faster into "darkside", who could predict that it would emerge the other side as jungle?

Well indeed, and I look forward to that happening. But then equally what could happen to wobble is that it becomes a global, self sustainable club scene like d&b in 2009, which, on the whole, doesn’t create much of interest to me.

Which way will it go Joe? Well I hate to mention it, but I think the deciding factor is the ‘nuum. Hardcore had a nuum demographic behind it, to make it ruder and more exciting. If wobble’s out there in commercial clubs and stadiums, I doubt it will come back with something that’s interesting – to me at least.

Joe Muggs said...

Ah well, if by nuum demographic you mean the multiracial urban audience, well - what happens if more MCs jump on wobble beats? You've already got Durrty Goodz on Coki beats, northern kids MCing all over bassline tracks (and I think bassline and wobble are going to get closer and closer together), Bashy and Donaeo on hard electro-house... it's not a big stretch of the imagination to imagine a new grime/wobble hybrid emerging.

As for hybrid-wobble track recommendations: Kanji Kinetic 'Shut Up' is the one. Raffertie's 'Wobble Horror' (!!!) EP is great, Stagga's 'Sick As Sin' too, and anything by Akira Kiteshi on Black Acre.

Blackdown said...

oh the grime MCs are quite into wobble, Chase n Status and Skream in particular. Trim grabbed some Skream for Soul Food 4 and Logan is always dropping "Saxon". P Money has gone in this direction. Works kinda well, all things considering...

but most wobble/dubstep fans can't stand grime MCs so I dont hold out much hope for a massive interaction here...

Mike from the Forest said...

the new coki tune on the otherside of the mala johnny clarke remix sums up your sentiments pretty accurately i feel. knew exactly how it was gonna sound before i heard it, yet somehow it managed to push the bland boundaries even beyond what i had imagined. to hear that after mala as well... its a fucking insult.

i've had several people, who don't really know what they're on about, say that they hate dubstep to me lately. "ohh you like dubstep, that stuff is so shit" and i feel like it must be rusko type stuff they are talking about, but its very hard to explain how dubstep is both something awful and something wonderful at the same time. it does feel wrong it all has the same name

Blackdown said...

hey mike

yeah i know your pain. people dip in, hear this noizy shit, think that is all that dubstep is and naturally, duck out. six years of innovation is getting drowned out, but... that's how it is right now.

Unknown said...

i like the deep techno and dubstep crossover stuff. I like the berlin techno scene at the moment. i'm not a fan of the noizy, wobbly, hammer to your face dubstep that has become the sort of flagship sound or the common face of the genre, but that's fine, let those guys do their thing and people that are into deeper, techno influenced sounds or the more gritty sound or the halfstep sound (of the few people that are left doing it) or funky sound or whatever can do their thing too.

saying "it's a shame that a genre is going this way, what can we do about it?" when there are so many strands of it that are all still evolving seems based on an inaccurate subjective analysis to me. can i venture to suggest that what you are meaning to say is something like "the 'public face' of the genre is doing something i don't like, i wish the public face of it were represented by the strand of it that i like?".

i think if all producers and club nights in the scene were going down the noizy, wobble route then it would be an issue, but whilst there are still a lot of producers and club nights of the genre that have progressed and are progressing still, then i think your comments are really just subjective statements about taste or a desire to have your favrourite element of the scene represented as the public face of it.

Mike from the Forest said...

i think part of the reason why wobble is the representation of dubstep to most people, is the broad range of dates people like rusko and caspa are playing. i recall in your loefah/kryptic minds interview you saying you wouldn't want to be playing the majority of the dates these wobble people are playing and i agree fully that they are shit gigs, in shit places, but at the same time it makes sense that if someone hasn't heard any dubstep then they see rusko play in the club they go to everyweek, then that's what dubstep is to them.

I don't know what the answer is though because a lot of the dubstep that is worth listening would be hated by the people who are going and listening to rusko etc. i don't like to think of people preferring shit things to good ones, but i went to see Paul White play in Bristol the other week and for the majority of it the only people watching were me and the other four who travelled in my car. someone said there was some drum n bass thing or something on the same night. i know paul white isn't dubstep but i seem to go to loads of things i am excited about and there's hardly anyone there. i bet all the rusko shows are rammed

Joe Muggs said...

"most wobble/dubstep fans can't stand grime MCs"

Hmm, not sure about that. Perhaps that is true of the blokey crowd who are dedicated wobble fans - but that is not the only outlet for the sound. More general dance crowds, such as you might see at Fabric, or SÓNAR, or Bloc Weekender, seem very open to MCs and MC tunes - witness the response a Plastician set gets, including long segments of out-and-out grime tunes.

Blackdown said...

saying "it's a shame that a genre is going this way, what can we do about it?" when there are so many strands of it that are all still evolving seems based on an inaccurate subjective analysis to me. can i venture to suggest that what you are meaning to say is something like "the 'public face' of the genre is doing something i don't like, i wish the public face of it were represented by the strand of it that i like?".

Well, I think it’s about proportions. Yes there are lots of strands and diversity is good, (even if I personally don’t all like all of them) but my point was that increasingly it feels like the strands of dubstep I do still like are becoming strangled to the point of near non-existence. Yeah it pains me that the public face is something that the genre was never about, but even more worrying is that sometime’s I fear the terrible stuff will kill the rest off entirely. That’s not diversity that’s dictatorship!

i think your comments are really just subjective statements about taste or a desire to have your favrourite element of the scene represented as the public face of it.

My comments are most definitely very much subjective. The only objective argument you could make here is that the first nu dark swing wave (el-b, big apple, horsepower, zed bias…) and then second wave (DMZ, Loefah, Skream, Benga, Kode9, Hatcha…) was a fairly continuous wave. It’s depressing that this side is increasingly not the public face of it, since this was the foundation, the sound that brought dubstep the public acclaim and the audience it now has. Shit moves on, I accept that but it’s still a wrongun…

Tranquera said...

"I feel an urge to drop the bpms and up the groove"

Yeah! Exactly!

chris blacklay said...

hatcha did a 'roots show' on Kiss before his return to fwd a couple of weeeks back and i had people telling me it wasn't dubstep. i just had to smile and agree it wasn't what they think is dubstep. is it wrong i can't be bothered to explain the path or do i no longer know what dubstep is?

Blackdown said...

I'm sorry Mr Blacklay but i'm going to need names and numbers, the dubstep thought police can not allow this to go unaddressed.

Please report to the Ministry of Sub (3rd) Bass with the correct paperwork...


sbtrkt said...

all artist you mentioned are producing wicked stuff. but you know what i think that already. haha
bigs ups. hyph mngo = anthem

Andy said...

Wow, 26 comments already.
Excellent post Martin, in many ways I agree with you - my recent blogposts have been exploring this idea of an emerging inter-genre communication space and I reckon there's tonnes of potential in this. Being an actual DJ you probably have a better grasp of this me, but I reckon what would be really productive is if people from different scenes started making beats around 135. Halfway house and all that.
However, one possible counter-point I would mention: reckon there's a real chance that what certain of the wonked-out/purple dubstep producers are doing could actually rejuvinate the dubstep mainstream. Over the next few months I wouldn't be surprised if you start getting a lot of dancefloor tracks which are based around wobbly bass + big, woozy synth melodies. Which obviously might not all be fantastic, and would still be quite a bit away from the things that attracted you to dubstep initially, but would at least keep things moving forward. Some recent tunes like BT Tower by Gemmy are already heading in this sort of direction (and when he dropped this on Friday he got a huge reaction - reloads, crowd sing-along, the whole deal).
As you touched on in above comments, it's instructive to see what sort of the dubstep things the grime folks are touching on. Been listening to Butterz on Rinse a lot lately, which is self-consciously a hardcore grime show, but when they do reach for something dubstep or dubstep-like, they'll drop things like Purple City, Gutter Music, Spliff Dub, but also stuff like Saxon or Rock the Bells (both of which I quite like, as it goes). Now if all 3 of those things could join up - wobble, synth-wonk, the more danceable halfstep grime - that could produce something pretty interesting.

Blackdown said...

hmm, i do love the purple/wonk stuff but a fair amout of it is getting more jump up, not less... in the opposite way, it will be interesting to see if it affects the wobble. i like the idea of your suggestion but we'll have to see.

RS said...

interesting post, and something i've been thinking about a lot lately.

when people ask me what i play, almost by default i say "dubstep", and 18 months ago this would have been undeniably true. these days though, my sets are full of Geiom, Brackles, Untold, 2562, Martyn, Shortstuff etc etc.... saying i'm a dubstep DJ now doesn't ring true at all.

not that genre names/ classifications really matter, but it feels like we're in the midst of something new and as yet, unidentified.

you ask what can be done... does anything need to be done? it all feels very exciting to me at the moment. let the wobblers have their wobble. i'm not saying that i'd ever abandon dubstep as a genre, but it's become greater than the sum of its parts. why try to maintain that everything around the late-130s - 140-ish bpm needs to be part of that scene?

there was always going to be a watering down of what made dubstep pure, every scene gets bastardised with plagarism, over-production and generally bad ideas, and i don't feel any need to align what i play with that sound.

from now on, i just tell people i play 'bass music'

Anonymous said...

like someone on gf said.

"this arguement (the blog post) makes rather little sense"

at the end of the day, it all boils down to what producers will stay loyal to the true dub sound, bar the ones who have drifted already, but yet even they stay loyal to what they have always been doing in the past years, before dubstep was gaining the recognition it has atm.

Jonu said...

Can't beat the system / Go with the flow

Forbidden Siren said...

@ Anonymous Poster;

We could argue that. But at the same time, some styles that people have stuck to have landed us in the situation. I mean... I can't comment on what fuels creativity, but I often feel unimpressed with Skream post 2007 or so... Likewise with Coki's solo work. And it's fair to say those two have offered a blueprint to the more 'heavy metal wobble' style as much as they did bring dubstep out as a genre...

I always feel awkward, because it's Skream and Coki! I should be all over them instantaneously, without question! But it just doesn't do anything... I even feel bad, because I've seen a fair bit of Coki-bashing come up in the press, and I'm astonished. Yeah, the man's essentially the one who accidentally gave Rusko/Chase & Status/Flavor Of The Month something to roll with. But... Damn.

gremino said...

This deep/wobble (whether it be uplifting or dark) as the only two options has been bothering me for a long time now... There's so much more different vibes than those two. People talk about how diverse dubstep is at the moment, but tbh, all the tunes has the same timbre, same attitude and overall same style of production... Changing the vibe from hard to light, but still keeping those above qualities same just isn't enough.

Swing/rudeness/rawness, yeah, those are the words to describe what I'm also seeking! Can someone recommend recent dubstep with those qualities? And sorry, I don't want to hear any bland 2step beats which are not raw or rude.

Elijah said...

Im staying out of this one!

Because you have appealed to such a wide audience, you will never be able to please everyone in your scene.

*Goes and plays D Double E Vol.1*


Anonymous said...


good point. but saying that it's them tunes that got us into this situation, is like basically saying that the sound should have never expanded. the question really is, is that, who is dubstep reaching out to ? dmz + fwd = events pushing the sound for over 5+ years. random under 18 nights put up by matter, etc.. = events that are pushing the sound in 2009. its all about what the youtdem are feeling nowadays. i dont think there's anything to complain about in dubstep tbh, bar the producers making stuff resembling rock/heavy metal and trying to bridge it together to the dub scene, which it has absoulutely nothing to do with.

Blackdown said...

Stepping back a bit I find it funny that this has sparked such (healthy) debate about the present and future of dubstep as I've been saying in my writing that this is what's been happening to the scene for the last three years!

So it's odd that only now, when I begin to feel like it's long since gone past the point of no return and I decided to clarify our position, that people have picked up so clearly on it. Even Resident Advisor lol!

2BiT said...

"I feel an urge to drop the bpms and up the groove"

Cut the Midrange, _pump_ the Bass! ;)

Can't believe that after what happened to DnB people are walking right into the same dead end all over again...

100% agree with this post. For me it's always been about the boundaries where styles blur and moods flow.

Dubstep/Garage/Wonky/Funky/Bassline/Electro/Bmore=BASS MUSIC

RtheKing said...

Excellent read Blackdown. I've only recently starting mixing tracks and buying vinyl, but I've found myself essentially buying two types of 'dubstep'. I really enjoy dark (not angry) and weighty stuff like Kryptic Minds, Breakage, Headhunter, old Pinch on the one hand and feel as though they work nicely together as part of dark mixes.

However, I also enjoy mixing more upbeat, fresher styles like Brackles, Joker, Untold (though I like chucking Loefah 'Disko Rekkah' in now and again).

When people ask what I mix I say dubstep, but I feel that this really only describes the former style. While most of my recent purchases are of the latter variety, now and again, something (like the false flag and pinch collab) comes up and grabs my attention. It seems as though, due to being selective in avoiding 'wobble' dubstep, good old-fashioned darkstep is reduced to stuff released years ago (with notable exceptions, e.g. swamp 81). Will this style be ignored altogether, in favour of this garage-wonky-funky- melee on the one hand and wobble-horror-filth on the other, in your opinion or can it be revived?

finkthast said...

hmmmm. maybe the reason that dubstep has become far more popular is because it has evolved past the dark, moody and spacious sound that the ldn heads/artists are responsible for. no doubt this sound still has a place and should be credited as the notable foundation of the sound but i feel that since then the musical content in sense of rhythms, texture and production terms has improved considerably.
with regards to quality control and supporting a certain sound/style it all comes down to artistic integrity and having the balls to do wot u believe. There is gonna be increasingly more money to be made from the masses and in many cases (especially that of the young and hungry/impressionable) dj's and producers all that matters is numbers and self gratification. that can obviously be v hard to let go once you've got it?!

i think dubstep and all the hybrids circling it in 2009 absolutley kicks ass. word.

STL said...

Last one out should turn out the lights...

Blackdown said...

@ RtheKing, i think it's a valid question, esp re the dark halfstep of kryptics and loefah, and one that i've asked myself when planning sets.

but with stuff like Kryptics Root VIP around at the moment, the answer is 'yes' though i would say that i dont feel the total attachment to 'edgy' or 'dark' that i once did, since much of the ideas around it seem to have been explored and the fun is where the colour and light is right now.

pulse eskimo said...

I think that dubstep in 2009 has become too comfortable with itself. It took Dubstep a long time to break free of the shackles of the scenes that influenced it. Midnight request line has gunshots in it, very grimey! But now Dubstep has as part of it a distinct sound, it can host massive nights with that sound and dubstep fans can be exactly that rather than people into a wider garage sound, or a techno fan dipping his toes.

Blackdown said...

well that is true, which is in part why i wrote this piece, explaining how we're widening the net even further with our sets, but it should be noted that 'request line' was written as a grime tune, or grime-inspired at a time when grime was very creative.

the fact that it also became a dubstep anthem was co-incidence...

Inta said...

Totally totally agree with the debate and the article itself. I'm 33 and have been a junglist and into UK bass music since the darkcore days of 93' onwards.

Really into DMZ(and Mass) in the last 4 yrs, bringing Loefah, Mala, Pokes, Silkie & Quest in Athens(GR) in the last 2 yrs as well as our man from Bristol, Pinch, I've always loved their stuff and to me , even though that 'new dark swing' sound of 01-04 (horsepower et al) is what really drew me in in the first place it was the aforementioned ppl that really carved an ID for a specific sound around 140bpm that showed me and others a way out from a totally wounded dnb scene.

in the last 18months and having seen Kode 9 & Martyn something like 4 times each in FWD, DubWar(NYC), our own Ital Soundz night in GR etc., and combining that with the totally amazing, uncharted, untagged stuff that comes out from some of UKF artists, the Hessle Audio crew, that Joy Orbison track, the new Kode tune(s) etc. I can't help myself but to see how amazingly things are turning now.. NOTE: names are just examples, I forget many more but the point is clear.

yes, I personally reject the 'surface' if you ask me, in the same way I reject 90% of dnb and right at the same time I can't praise dBridge & Instra:mental enough for bringing out yet another offspring of incredible 165/170 bpm bass music. Just visit their Autonomic site with the podcasts and the 30K download rate per month for proof. Couldn't be happier to see Instra:mental getting booked in DMZ and dBridge in FWD twice.

It is totally interesting to hear those Kode 9 & Martyn sets right now though.. Maaan, diversity, groove and different, similar tempos is what you get. styles? something for/from everybody... From Roska remixing Untold and Pearson Sound's Wad tune to Grievous Angel(respect all the time) doing up a Naphta tune SO fucking well inc. reese(!), going all the way to grime and older half step in one journey. Yes, vocal-less UKF is infiltrating more and more in there but the diversity and the connection between all sorts of things like Garage/Grime/Detroit(!) is just inspiring me so much now...

Having said all the above, I still turned my head to that Loefah/K.M. interview & mix and I love the LP stuff to the bone as it is all about physical power and groove rather than bland impression with a 2hr shelflife threshold.

All in all, I am totally with Blackdown on his comments about the state of the scene. I just generally believe the future is all about mixing quality bass music from 130-140bpm all in one.. I see this happening more and more and me and Martyn had a very interesting conversation about it when he was in Athens back in late April which goes to show how cool things can be if you just try to push things constantly without loosing focus..

loved this bit of discussion here.. so un-forumesque :D

Andy said...

^^ Minor correction to my above (way above now!) post for potential innacuracy: thinking back more carefully over the Numbers night, reckon it was prob actually Didgidesign that got the crowd sing-along (maybe hum-along is more accurate for an instrumental?). But I'm still pretty confident that BT Tower got played and reloladed too. Good tune anyway: instant and possibly quite disposable in its appeal, but not worse off for that.

rob said...

it's pretty unbelievable to me how arrogant and hypocritical some of these statements are sounding.

personally, i feel dubstep is still a great term to describe my sets and my style because it still is one of the most varied forms of music out there! it leaves me freedom to do whatever i want... all within one set... and i wouldnt have it any other way! (tossers requesting where's my money mid-set can always be ignored. ;))

at a typical dubstep event the range of emotion and variance in energy level is still greater than in any other scene/genre, so it seems to me that the principles of the 'original movement' are still being upheld and honoured. it's about variety and lack of preconceived expectations. sure there are formulas which can be used to appeal to certain crowds, but these formulas aren't mandatory to be 'in the dubstep club'. to say that 'the direction the scene is headed' is somehow dishonouring the original cause or not 'how we intended it' is just blatantly pretentious, rhetorical bullshit.

carve ur own path and quit bitching about other ppl, (continue to) claim ur own sound (more tunes like 'focus' pleeeease), but don't presume to single-handedly own or define or be responsible for an entire genre. sheeesh! u can talk all u want, but at the end of the day the evolution of music will never be directed by banter.

Blackdown said...

this was a blog post about the path we're now carving, doughnut...

alex said...

What amazes me is that all the rip off's you hear nowdays, none of them come close to the original template.

Understand why Martin wrote such a peice, however, it does feel like dubstep is being tarnished all with the same brush.

I can honestly say that Relocate, (23Hz, Numaestro) have been making some of the most inspirational dubstep I have heard since I have been listening to it. There is quality out there, even beyond the aforementioned in Martins Post.

Whether it be the constant lfo abuse, the popularity of d, the approach to "be different" (from wobblez) has inspired these guys & others to push directions. Its fair to beam the light on the post dubstep guys, its alot, but don't turn off just yet ;-)

Akilles said...

On the tip of darker kryptic minds, breakage, mala et all and whether this is popular with the masses, I recently played at a friends end of 6th form night he organised.

Nice vibe to the venue, it was a dirty band practice room that was big enough for about 50 or so people. At one point I mixed from Changes - Mala into Breakages Matter of Facts remix, thoroughly expecting the floor to empty as the punters were between 16 and 20 (myself at 20 probably the oldest one there). I looked up from the decks and I have never seen such a gratifying sight of people really getting down to the sound of wood blocks over sub and a shuffle kick - hat rhythm.

Not sure how on point I'm keeping or whether I'm rambling but anyway, I feel that the deeper minimal tunes along the lines of stated artists will always have a place within the scene. Place the tune well within the mix and it will receive the respect they deserve.

One direction I want to go down after being exposed to funky is a tribal sound. Complex (or simple) polyrythms can create a feel for dubstep which has not been seen before, whilst keeping true to the original sound.

MrB said...

great post. death to the duck fart.

rob said...

@blackdown: easy there, big guy! 'doughnut' is pretty soft, but no need to get personal, right?

that said, i appreciate ppl staying the course in doing their own thing, but thought i read somewhere on here about being afraid that 'the majority of dubstep' will 'dictate' the tone for everybody somehow and 'kill off' all the more creative strands, ruining years of 'innovation and scenebuilding'. wtf!?! does that seem a bit preposterous and overdramatic to anyone other than myself?

continuum said...

It's interesting that this post has generated so many comments. I wonder if it is the second wave of refugees from dsf who are posting above? I personally like the wobble riffage stuff. When you are on MDMA surrounded by a big system it sounds great! I'm personally getting tired of the feminine pressure/rudeness comments/posturing with regard the hardcore continuum theory. Ultimately it is about MDMA use in a dance setting for me. Creating a that feeling we can't manage in everyday life without it (MDMA). The DnB and Dubstep Wobble scenes despite being creatively inferior are not aggressively against it's audience doing MDMA/LSD while raving to it. The Grime and Dubstep core have always been very clear on their stance towards what really define the hardcore continuum. Referencing drugs (and in particular MDMA) as the guiding principle of dance music doesn't fit in with the history being built in these peoples heads. It's a far too simplistic theory but really everything started with an E. We went way of tangent this decade following the worlds deviation into morally dubious behaviour, ironically sidelining the importance of MDMA in the process. The Bassline scene doesn't have a problem with MDMA but of course id not being written about in favour of pseudo clever music such as the purple scene which fits the coffee table ethic and post 88-93 consumer base of peolle such as Mary Anne Hobbs. The kids want to get fucked up godammit!!

Andy said...

'pseudo clever music such as the purple scene which fits the coffee table ethic and post 88-93 consumer base '

Oh please, give it a rest. I've heard this sort of comment before from a number of people, and it's simply not true! Try hearing tunes like Purple City, Tango, Digidesign, BT Tower get dropped in a rave and then see if you come back and tell me that it's 'coffee-table music'.

Anonymous said...

i know what you can do - call a meeting with all the "real" dubstep dons (including yourself of course) and agree not to play any nights you share with these trashy wobble people who are destroying your beautiful dubstep with their noise.

CurtainRoadKebabs said...

The reason why Blackdown and a few others feel so strongly about its latest turn into predictability is due to the fact that nostalgia (whether you like it or not) taints our ability to listen objectively. If music is your pulse, and has its hooks in you, then this is even more of a problem. We're all bass junkies, looking for that fix again, for that time when the sound of 3rd bass and plastic people was dangerous and inspiring. When you bowed your head in silence to a b-line, in the dark with your tin of stella in hand. Perfect.

Kamel said...

So far, some interesting and some very defensive and negative comments. I'd like to hear some of the selections the people who reacted badly to this post play, and decide with my ears rather than read about them - this is about music after all. I'm very familiar with Dusk and Blackdown's Rinse sets, so maybe I could hear yours?


Anonymous said...

I like the idea of the newest styles of mixing being more free, and travelling the spectrum of UK Bass music. Going from Garage (134) to Dubstep (140) to Jungle (150-160) used to be such a stretch, but now with the modern DJ's equipment, particularly ableton, you can really break the tempo. Try listening to Fusion by Photek at 140 bpm, it sounds like a Martyn tune.

- said...

first off, really happy to see some healthy debate here without much of anyone whining about criticism. i like instances where supporters of the whole midrange wobble noisy sound quickly become defensive when someone criticizes the massive amounts of generic material found within that sound, and tells them to mind their own business. i dont get it.

i feel that Blackdown's saying of "...anthem-bashing, endlessly revving wobble guys who really want to turn dubstep into post-d&b noize (and are proud of it)" suites perfect of what i am feeling of the majority of the scene at the moment. some months ago i was fine with the whole thing. it took a bit of stepping away from the music, listening to some of the older releases, and realizing something had just been lost. i might of mentioned this earlier, but I'm having trouble finding songs with the same menace and groove of Mala's Blue Notez today, and that's something i miss. i miss that moody, dark, spacey sound.

as for the whole dub techno influences merging with dubstep - i was too busy listening to basic channel, chain reaction, and underground resistance before i got into dubstep; so i like this direction in the genre. this "grey and blue" sound i feel can be heard on some DFRNT mixes and releases, which ive been lovin recently. that garagey influence in dubstep i believe can still be heard on songs with this same kinda mood, Synkro's Closer as an example, if i may.

i like the bpm idea. some early loefah stuff was at 135, and i know i like that. anyone producing some stuff round bpm's like this on here?

STL said...

Unshackle your brain...the base and brutal has always been in conflict with the intellectual - the true path is, and has always been your brain is part of your body and linked through nerves and emotions - that's why dancing in a squatted factory on the edge of LDN matters regardless of the drugs, music and shit tea for a £1, ...D&B crashed when the scene ripped in two (metalheadz went shit and True Playaz started selling 12s by the bucket) - can you see a common theme? It wasn't them who did it (Coki/Caspa/Kromestar) or them (Appleblim/Ramadanman/Scuba) - it was us...

As I said..."Last one out should turn out the lights..."

alex said...

^there is too many ableton DJ's everywhere anyway, there needs to be more real DJ's, but thats a different argument

Andy said...

^^ Yeah, I do think that the widespread availability of DJ technology that allows you to change the speed of a track without automatically having to change the pitch opens up a whole lot of possibilities.
Though of course a lot of tracks will still start to sound odd once speeded up or slowed down significantly, even if they're still in the original key.

RichB said...

Am i the only one not (over)feeling "Hyph mngo"? Prefer some of his other tunes tbh.

Anyway, dubstep as we knew it is dead. There's so much good shit out there on the edges - who needs a genre. And funky is influencing anyone with taste 'cos it's got that FEELING!

Unknown said...

"To find a way that preserves the quintessential London elements of feminine pressure, rawness, rudeness and all the other nuum factors"

Ah, but wasn't the loss of feminine pressure among the things that made dubstep in the first place?

I for one had been following garage and sublow with little enthusiasm, since 00 or so, from where i was standing (breakcore on the one end, minimalist bleeping stuff like Oval on the other, IDM in between). Finally a rift was noticable enough
and people like Vex'd (Degenerate!), Distance, DMZ (003 was just mean) came along and manifested a dry, rude, distorted (yes, distorted) type of dark bass bubble. The type of London bass music that wasn't promoted via fashion label cd compilations for a change.

It's safe to say Germany never "got" Garage (except for a summer affair in '00), Dubstep seems to prevail. At a cost, no less. But if you declare a split then i'd consider myself falling right into the rift rather then choosing a side. Diversity or death ;)
Like that idea about letting the music speak btw.

darren said...

Great read. It's interesting to see you hone in on London itself as what's musically relevant. From my vantage point in the southern US, London has certainly stood out as the musical hub for quite a while now. It's easy enough to trade tracks, etc via the net, but we all go dance in our actual city, and to a large degree that's what makes certain places reach a critical mass. (Add radio to that list too...respect to Rinse folks)

the guy said...

this seems like an over-reaction the stuff that rusko and caspa is making isnt far off the original sound, its just heavy wobble without pads imo.

Anonymous said...

I think it's kinda odd that you're getting all up about the fact that dubstep has, in the popular circles, taken off in a direction not intended by its authors. This IS a bad thing in a sense, but remember the scene before the explosion in popularity? Small, secluded, going forward. There's no reason why the scene, as it was, can't exist at the fringes. It'll just be the same way it was when it was the core. Which is to say: unpopular.

I kind of like the new 2-step/future garage direction. It's an interesting concept that after going into half-step and huge wobbles the fringes of the scene take a look back on its past and takes the lessons learned from the latest era, and applies them. It's almost like a growing what-if scenario where dubstep developed from 2006 onwards during an era of increasingly high quality DAWs. Loefah himself comments on how much he's learned and changed from Jungle Infiltrator --> Mud, so it's like the reverse of that.


blah blah blah bag of wank

rob said...

diversity or death! :) good one...

dsf link to my latest mix

ps: not intended as spam, but one of you lot asked for it!

Anonymous said...

To those worrying about not getting to see Swamp81 style beats in FWD>>: wobble vs deep/wonk/synthy/whatever is a false dichotomy.

As proven by good dubstep that is neither (minimal dread-filled Youngsta sets) or both (Starkey tunes that tread the fine line perfectly).

There are plenty of generic "deep" tunes and plenty of generic "wobblers". Both are likely to be totally lacking in any funk: whether that be clever use of percussive elements or clever non-use of percussive elements. They're also almost 100% done after you've heard the first 60 seconds.

I don't think it's helped that many of the old school who helped break the scene now have punishing DJ schedules that see them forced into relegating production to 3rd place behind gigging and getting round to seeing friends and family...

This is partly due to many artists now being unable to make a living off releases alone.

Non-stop gigging's fine if you're an indie or rock band who are simply rehashing ideas that have been floating around for decades but not so great for sonic pioneers whose whole lives used to be dedicated to pushing musical boundaries...

Solution? Knock out some quickfit smashers to prop up the classics.

After all, now the scene's blown up there's a lot of gigs to play and dropping the same tunes 10 times a week gets tired pretty quickly.

Gradually the classics become well-known and more smashers sneak into the sets. New kids on the block see famous DJs playing smashers and - as virtually noone gets anywhere these days as a DJ without their own material - copycat these smashers. After all - they're a lot easier to produce.

And so the scene becomes overloaded with generic crap.

A minority of up-and-coming producers get pissed off and go away and make their own take on the classics, whether that be stripped-down half-step, techy, 2steppy or funky-influenced.

Eventually these producers start getting international bookings and the cycle continues...

I blame the death of vinyl for much of this as it means for a producer to dedicate themselves to music fulltime they pretty much have to sign up to playing a shitload of gigs to the detriment of studio-time... Or remain penniless.

Paradoxically it means whilst the internet age helped dubstep go global much faster than drum and bass did, the rate of innovation is a lot slower, which must be frustrating to older heads who can remember 93-98 and the many different strands and mutations to the sound that seemed to happen far more regularly (every few months or so).

Anonymous said...

i know what you can do - call a meeting with all the "real" dubstep dons (including yourself of course) and agree not to play any nights you share with these trashy wobble people who are destroying your beautiful dubstep with their noise.

The irony here is that such a meeting DID take place. Set up by big-name d&b people who wanted to turn dubstep into the exact same soulless nightmare they helped d&b become.

Dubstep heads laughed and walked away. As we do from trolls like you. Back under the bridge son.

Blackdown said...

To the poster two above me: wow, that's so damn accurate!

And this was a major part of my funky/LDN/Nuum piece: that while many of the a-list dubstep producer/DJs have both 1) gone global 2) often stopped being quite so inspirational, they left behind a space that is now being filled.

Playing pirate will never make you big like Tiesto. For some DJs that's an issue. Personally, I see playing Rinse as a creative pinnacle, I'm so honoured. Others might just see it as a stepping stone to greater success.

It boils down to what you want out of DJs and this was my point in the initial blog post. Big is not always better, if you value a degree of risk taking and innovation.

I'm not your 'average' dubstep punter anymore but I certainly know what I want (which is not to be sniffed at)... I want to be creatively inspired by the DJs I see and I want to continue to write about/write music inspired by/release and DJ music by and from this London and London-inspired continuum.

That was the moment of clarity that this post was about.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that really the values of a chainsaw metal bass track are really really poor and the musicality of a track like 'please' by ikonika has values that exist in music as a whole not as a novelty sound i.e a duckfart bassline.

dubstep was world cinema but the wobble gang will turn it into one long shane ritchie movie acceptable for the sun readers.

Anonymous said...

Blood how can you say mainstream dubstep has lost it when Snoop Dogg is all over it?

Micapam said...

Join the campaign for more bass, less midrange!

elena said...

I've been thinking about this over the last few days....

Recently Kode 9 and Martyn played in Austin, Texas and the day afterward I watched a discussion on Facebook talking about what crap house music they'd played and how this is not what people expected or wanted to hear. Seeing their comments made me realise that a)they still don't know – or recognise - that things have moved on here in the UK and that Kode9 & Martyn might have a new style (in fact for 2 years I've been mentioning funky to them and they don't understand what I'm talking about; they seemed to think I mean "funky" as an adjective to describe “house music”, even though I know they are active on forums where this music is discussed), and b)perhaps not all styles or genres are readily transferable in the international sense, etc. …Maybe that’s a good thing.

I personally side with you and prefer the styles and variations I'm hearing around these parts - on the whole I don't really like most of the American "dubstep" producers that I'm hearing - with the obvious few worthy exceptions!! I don't like where it's gone on the whole, though. I can't connect with it, even though I’m an American. But maybe I'm not necessarily supposed to? I haven’t lived there for 6 years so I can’t draw the same cultural connections with them as I once did. (I should note that I also don’t like the British dubstep folks who are still pounding out the same formula.)

Meanwhile I recall how much Americans idolized and respected the d+b & jungle genres back in the day. And I know that this same sense of respect definitely exists now within the wider genre we tend to classify as dubstep, throughout the world. Imitation is flattery, yes, and things are going to grow and change in other parts of the world and we're not necessarily going to like it or understand it.

Just like my Texans don't seem to be liking or understanding this whole funky thing. To them, it's just house music. It just doesn’t have the cultural context that it has here.

I hope I’m making sense.

(of course i'm generalizing and there are always exceptions to the rules on all sides involved)

I would also like to draw an analogy that a Greek friend recently shared with me. Apparently many Greeks who live in other parts of the world hold a vision of Greece that is no longer valid – they rigidly uphold traditions and beliefs that have long since moved on back in Greece. In a way, it’s sweet – in another way, it’s sad!

Hope all is well with you, and thanks for such a thought-provoking post. Sorry for such a long reply!

: )

STL said...

The "and then..." story

On a positive note... Dubstep regardless of where it is or isn't going is the first british musio (british = pan-cultural LDN) born of design without significant constraints - for that I am truly grateful to everyone who has pushed the boundaries to make it happen.

I lived through the rare groove + electro thing that slipped into acid then got mashed up by copyright laws, difficult software like Mankind and memory being so expensive that you had to take the sample at 45 +8 by necessity that made hardcore what it was, then came jungle then D&B which were both born out of grappling with and developing the technology. Giving us a new language with new syntax - but as with all things it got too complicated, knowing and obscure... trust I loved Reinforced but having Arcon 2 as a benchmark was bound to make alot of people look the otherway (Leon - don't get me wrong I loved it but it wasn't going to be or meant to be Saturday night in Romford).

Upfront FM was a welcome relief from that heaviness come 97/98 - UKG (2-Step not 4x4) was a reassertion of simplicity although personally I think it never lived up to it's early promise - coke robbed it of it's soul before it had barely got a foothold.

Then there was a gap and I thought it was all over... and then that sleazenation CD (new-dark-swing) hit my stereo - shortly followed by the mashed contortions of grime (which for me is the last slab of style that was constrained by felt like Romford all over again)

Then, for the first time, LDN got a blank canvas (hardware got cheap / software got liberated for the cause and music-making was finally accessible to most if not all) and rather than make techno, minimal, tribal, blah blah blah better??? or rehash our standards like the rest of the world - LDN gave us dubstep...and now it is over - and the two events that define it for me are...

Skreamism 5 - "If You Know" gave me a link back to the first time I heard "Some Justice" in 1991 - for me I knew we had come full-circle but I couldn't fathom what was next - dub/techno/minimal is nice/polite but do you want nice/polite, wonky is OK if your above average IQ and can't remember the 80's (personally I'm bored with post modern ironic - how can you be post modern? - deliberate luddite maybe)...amd UKF seemed like cheap house until I heard Marcus Nasty and realised that UKF is the second british musio born of design without significant constraints - it isn't house even if you want it to be...

UKF is pan-cultural UKF is LDN to the core...if you can't see it make a leap of faith or I'll see you in the cloak-room, you'll be going in, I'll be leaving...cause LDN is always a "and then..." story

Thanks to all who made the journey possible including the ones against and for...Special thanks to Martin for helping me off the fence by starting this discussion...

Dom Fletcher said...

wow. great post, and a (mostly) brilliant set of replies. All I can really add is that, when I got into (for want of a better term) dance music, it was DnB in the early 00's. Just about the time that many of the people here would claim that it was really losing direction and credibility. When the Vault by Pendulum came out it was a breath of fresh air as many producers were doing the same thing - the clownstep/jump-up, rolling and liquid styles were stagnating. Retrospectively, seeing where Pendulum have gone, it was a slightly misguided observation as that was actually a move towards pop. But my ears were not attuned.

Unlike my older sisters Ive not been involved in dance music since the early days, but I feel like I've kept up with dubstep since I first heard it. From 02 onwards a friend lived in London and introduced me to the sounds and again it was a relieving sonic palette. And now, having a bit more understanding, I can see (or should I say hear) the problems.

What? I've got no answer! I just felt that since Martins post was spot on, and the discourse it ensued so involving, I thought Id add this bit of anecdotal response. I guess what I mean to say is, perhaps the idea of 'dubstep' should be abandoned to those who have homogenised it, and just keep creating something fresh...
peace out to all.

Anonymous said...

The reason it's evolving into what it is, is because everyone wants to make it Dub- But so few can make the perfect balance needed to make good dub. Let it live on and die, but all those who appreciated it in it's prime form will remember it for the true brilliance it is. There will always be some who will bring it back for all those to remember, a silver linining... But some is too few.

Unknown said...

I'm just surprised it took you so long to say this out loud in public. It's what I'm sure most original Londoner/proxy-Londoner heads have been thinking on the scene.

It's just another cycle, I've seen just the back end of jungle do it, then UK Garage three years later, and now dubstep for the last few years. The comfort for my ears? Funky and the best of the wonky stuff (Zomby/Rustie)

But the subcultures don't form and forge like they used to post-internet. When the first time a scene heard a track was on an EZ dubplate or a test-pressing in a record shop, it had a different effect to thousands hearing something instantaneously on a youtube link on a blog or forum. This consumption has repercussions that might not always be healthy.

STL said...

Picking up from my comments earlier...For those who haven't the time to go digging, by way of an introduction to UKF...15 suggestions no order

DJ TT : Fish'n'Chips (purist deep house/dub techno - maurizio/carl craig/villalobos)
Plastic Cash : Fall Out (wash out that stolen plastic...)
Hard House Banton : Siren (Old Kent Road 2am or LNcastle underpass somewhere between 2-Hard and deep deep house)
Esko : Funka (Flex riddim - afrobeat vs dancehall = 'rude')
Apple : Siegaliser (any version) (The definition...)
D Malice : Visions (A drum, A bass & A piano)
Kode9: Too far Gone (...)
Dubplate Wonder : Anthem Hype Dub (as it says...)
N B Funky 'Riddim Box' (Fela Kuti meets Phuture in The Green Man, Uptown Hackney))
Tribal Audio : Tunnel Vision (sub-heavy with snares that can snap the bones of your inner ears)
Major Notes : Jungle Book (Contort yourself)
Geeneus : Yellowtail VIP (...)
Dark Knight 'Mutant Funk' (Continuing the dialogue with miles, charly and alex reece)
Cooly G : Dub Organiser Vol 1 (Staggering depth and quality)
Cooly G : Narst (True female pressure - stunning...)
Mentor aka Mentor Roska aka Roska : Feeline VIP (the original...sub heavy carnival)


Who gives a damn said...

A lot of midrange stuff by starkey, taz buckfaster, kanji, raffertie ao is fuckin great.. The keysound release by starkey is pushing that midrange sound in a grimey way.. A lot of the dj's u r talkin about in the post r droppin some midrange too.. So what the fuck is the problem, if its good, then its good, if not dont play it, pushing music in a certain direction with words is pretty dull..

Blackdown said...

bullshit. which of the DJs i list in this post play wobble?

and if you find words about music a bit dull, why do you read blogs lol...

Aatraities said...

Well its almost October now and maybe this little kerfuffle has died down a little but here is my two cents worth anyway.

While I agree broadly with the sentiment you express in the original post I came away from this whole thing thinking you might have a minor case of sour grapes.

Maybe an analogy will help. I'm sure we can all picture a Grand Father of a family sitting down at a family gathering being pestered by the teenagers of the family to listen to this new fangled heavy metal music. So they put the Slayer record on the turn table and the old man covers his ears and says "that's not music, that's just a bunch of noise!!!"

Well the day has come that a club or warehouse full of sweaty teenagers pilled of their heads would rather listen to an incessant barrage of cookie cutter chainsaw Dubstep than what the more developed and refined amongst us would prefer to hear. The problem is not with the scene. The problem is with us. We are the old man that can only hear noise. I say let it all die a horrible bloated death of mullets, day-glo neon spandex leg warmers, slightly ironic white plastic Kanye sunglasses and acid wash drain pipe jeans. Dubstep was a shitty name for music that deserves no boundaries anyway.