Hi. I used to use this blog a lot more than i do now. I don't agree with much of what i've posted here, but such is the nature of time. :) My instagram & facebook are likely to be more up to date.

bass pt. 3

>> Friday, March 14, 2008


the motherload... dubstep. don't bother listening if you don't have speakers or headphones with good bass output. you'll miss the root of the issue.


you might have heard about it. even the new york times had to talk about it. it's usually fast (150 bpm) and also slow (75 bpm) at the same time, with a mix of woofer-wrecking bass, dark textures, and diverse vocals ranging from dancehall toasting to grime rap to singing (or all of the above.) it crosses through drum n bass, twostep garage, minimal house/techno, hip hop, reggae dancehall, ambient music and world beat. a little bit of everything for the bass-lover.

(mp3) loefah - "disko rekah"
starting off real easy with a nice dubstep tune that shows the form well. sparse beats, deep bass, and basic synths and vocals (in this case a sample of busta rhymes).

(mp3) boxcutter - "glyphic"
this is sort of the other end of the spectrum, a really elaborate dubstep tune with a couple different sections, instrumental layering, great melody. this is the title track from my favorite album of 2007. the album has all kinds of different genres representing, all surrounding the amalgam that is dubstep.

(mp3) burial - "gutted"
this tune makes me misty. not sad, just nostalgic for the love of bass music. btw, burial's second album, "untrue" was universally loved by the critics. i find it boring, repetetive, and unnecessarily simple compared to his excellent self-titled debut.

(mp3) milanese - "reading you"
this comes off of planet mu's great 200th release compilation. it's a nice example of dubstep with more traditional pop vocals.

(mp3) pinch - "get up" feat. yolanda
this tune shows the link to twostep garage music, the more housey side of dubstep's origin. it's from the album "underwater dancehall", which is a close runner up for last year's best, featuring great vocal work from brooklyn-based juakali.

(mp3) kode9 & spaceape - "quantum"
spaceape's vocals remind me of mutabaraka, but more cyborg. kode9 is one of the early dubstep producers, and their combined album "memories of the future" is in my top ten dubstep albums of all time.

(mp3) benga - "combs 60"
this is the first dubstep track that really caught my attention, made me fall in love. it's really simple, even repetitive, but i give a lot of props to benga overall... check out his album "newstep".

(mp3) shackleton - "blood on my hands" (ricardo villalobos remix pt. 1)
this tune is a remix that marked the awareness of dubstep by more traditional 4-on-the-floor electronic music, in this case minimal techno royalty, ricardo villalobos. shackleton is on the more mystical side of the whole dubstep scene, deeply influenced by middle eastern instrumentation. in my opinion if he learned how to play some of those instruments instead of sampling he could rule the music world (but in the meantime i'll play them for him if he wants!) btw, i would have uploaded the original, but it's over my 10 mb space limit. there is a video here of the original with o.k. sound.

well now you can listen to dubstep. learn yerself. this is just a smattering of the many talented artists out there...

you can go listen to a bunch of others (and more full tracks of the same) at last.fm's dubstep archive. i also like pinch, skream, digital mystikz, bass clef, geeneus, d1, the bug, drop the lime, sub version, luke envoy, warrior queen, scuba, appleblim and neil landstrumm (his album, "resturaunt of the assassins" is challenging, but super-awesome...)

btw, if anyone knows who drew the image above, i'd love to credit them. it basically captures the future envisioned by dubstep. the holy war of sound, liberating the lower frequencies. the cultural machine complex.

2 comments:

count zero April 2, 2008 at 7:47 PM  

I've found that the enthusiasm of people who are crazy about dubstep never matches up with my experience of the music when I listen to examples. I always expect it to be OMG JAW DROPPINGLY AMAZING and dubstep never fails to disappoint. I hold it up to the standard of T. Power's awesome "Waveforms" album, which to me is ambient bass music at its finest. Is that the problem, or am I just not smoking enough pot? Also, I still haven't heard any examples of this 150/75 bpm style. Everything you posted is slow.

Additionally, I suppose I disagree with the very concept of "dubstep", because I am not fond of the over-genre-fication of electronic music.

I must say I do like "disco rekah" the best of the tracks you posted. So, thanks! :)

james gyre... April 2, 2008 at 9:22 PM  

i'll track down that t. power and have a listen... i keep collecting until all the bass is belong to me. as for dubstep & pot, i think the pot is a big aspect of a lot of it's creation, but i enjoy it just fine sober.

the track you like is 147 bpm. the pinch track with yolanda is 140 bpm. the burial is 142 bm. etc... the importance is that the feel is half time. from a d.j. standpoint this means it'll mix well with hip hop, slow jungle and fast twostep (which are both part of it's origins).

in it's defense, i think that dubstep is a relatively new idea. most of it bores me (as does most house, techno, dnb, hip hop, etc...), but it think there are diamonds in the bassbin... of course, there is no accounting for taste. no offense taken.

oh, and i totally agree with you on genres being over-applied to electronic music. i have a genre in my itunes called "yeah right" but mostly use "electronic". at the same time, i find genres unavoidable in that a vague parentheses is often more useful than no parentheses.

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