Dubstep Dossier #1

These days, it seems as if there is no escaping the grimy hold of dubstep, from its syncopated garage beats to its nihilistic basslines. The subsonic sound, after percolating overseas for the better part of a decade, is finally coming of age and gaining wide acclaim and acceptance in the US. We at TGRI have done our part to educate and illuminate, and our message remains the same: don’t fear the wobble!

With that in mind, I’m launching the Dubstep Dossier, a new column that will highlight some of the exciting new music that is loosely joined under the banner of dubstep. Rather than let The Verge get choked up with bass blasts, the Dubstep Dossier will try to keep up with a scene that is on to the next one by the time I hit ‘publish.’

Detractors often point to a stereotypical, melody-less aural assault and dismiss all dubstep as sonic noise. As with any musical style, some people do it right and some do it wrong. Bass for bass sake is nonsense; the strength of quality dubstep is the set of outside influences that each producer and DJ brings to the table.

The biggest dubstep tune of late is Doctor P‘s “Sweet Shop.” It lit up the floor, both at Rusko’s recent Baltimore gig and Tittsworth’s set during Scottie B’s Birthday at the U Hall, and is a perfect example of dubstep alchemy. While it launches with a piano-driven loop, house breakbeat, and ravey “take me higher” vocal, “Sweet Shop” quickly descends into a brutal breakdown: a machine-gun synth over a simple, mosh pit boom-bap. Alternating between the two styles creates a schizophrenic dance floor experience, like dropping Ecstacy and sipping syrup back-to-back.

If house-dubstep crossovers are not your thing, how about we bring back the mash-up? Dubstep can be a terrific backdrop for hip hop; the early 2000s garage/two-step scene had a symbiotic relationship with the grime scene, featuring artists like Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, and Kano. Putting hip hop heavy hitters over dubstep mastery by Rusko and Joy Orbison is a no-brainer.

Rusko x Outkast x Lil’ Wayne:

Joy Orbison x Lil’ Wayne:

Dubstep is here to stay, so stay tuned to the weekly Dubstep Dossier and you won’t feel lost and confused when your favorite DJ drops a true Bristol banger. And remember, don’t fear the wobble.

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