Sunday, July 11, 2004

more dubsteppin'

was interested to find out that the term 'dubstep' derives from dub versions of garage single usually put on b-sides. In some ways this must be why it is currently appealing to the more techno orientated end of the dance music spectrum currently; the syncopation and off-time shuffled snares are new for this listener (although not the garage fan), and purged of vocals, cheese and suchlike for a dub version, the tracks are ready for consumption by the tracky tech-head. hell, they even have 909 handclaps. It treads on more familiar territory than east london grime for the techno fan. Mc's are generally a bit much for the Hawtin crew.
I suppose one weakness of dubstep is that it will always be tasteful, its minimalism cannot really evolve without turning into the bassline battering Ram (records) of snarly d'n'b. Hopefully more of the 'dub' psychedelia in the sound will be exaggerated, such as in SLT mob's 'zombie' with delays, disembodied vocal snatches, horror film brass crescendos and such other textbook dark motifs. Also hatcha's 'highland spring' where a sub-continental flute and vocal dance ritualistically over the hypnotic throb bass. A strangely, even embarassingly spiritual listen for those more used to machine worship. Obviously this would lead dubstep more and more towards just becoming dub, but at its best dubstep does well to both disjointedly funky and mesmirising (haha i wrote that as mesmirinsing! typo creativity! all the best music is mesmirinsing).

Listening Noyeahno 'brixton bells' (on rag & bone records; watch out for them) another touchstone for dubstep surely is nightmares on wax 'aftermath' and suchlike. the warp classics compilation. 'brixton bells' has cold one finger synths, bass that clearly has had some time spent on it to make it as low and intestine-disrupting as possible, those dull metallic sounds that make you think of crane hooks, girders and building site refuse. Also its not just the sounds, it's the arrangement and the patterns used. The percussion is in no way arranged as a drummer would play a drum kit, they are arranged like a minimalist piano piece, each sound equal in it's use rather than specific parts fulfilling traditional roles (hi-hats ticking along, snare providing pull to the bass drum's push). The mood also shares much with that post-electro-pop sheffield industrialism like coco steel and lovebomb 'feel it', this is music for sodium streetlighting, damp mossy concrete, and rusting oil drums.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where are all the comments Jack?

July 14, 2004 at 6:57 PM  

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