With the highly anticipated Luvstep 2 mixtape dropping at the stroke of midnight, Dirty South Joe and Flufftronix delivered the equivalent of chocolate and roses for fans of electronic music. And while the ultimate Hallmark holiday tends to disappoint, the mix certainly doesn’t.
Last year, the Philadelphia based duo identified an emerging trend: the mellow, romantic side of dubstep, a genre quickly falling victim to harder, aggressive sounds. The first Luvstep mix found DSJ and Fluff pulling scraps and threads together: a remix here, a dubplate there. A year later and the sonic fabric of luvstep is available by the yard. For the Luvstep DJs, this is when the fun starts.
The mix opens (after dialogue from quintessential chick flick The Notebook) with Breakage’s pulsing remix of “Ain’t Nobody,” by Clare Maguire. Quickly establishing a consistent bass/snare tick-tock, the mix focuses on soothing, vocal-centric songs, featuring singers like Katy B, Belle Humble, and Yasmin. This builds into the chainsaw wobble and chiptune distortion of Zeds Dead, on his remix of “Eyes on Fire” by Blue Foundation. Street bass master Starkey sets the tone for the middle of the tape with “Paradise:” airy and mellow. This holds until the sharp chords and post-DnB beats of collaborators dBridge and instra:mental.
The strength of the new mix is how deep it gets, introducing listeners to a whole slew of producers that are experimenting with luvstep sounds. The most intriguing of these come from the 90s R&B revitalism of producers like Pearson Sound (aka Ramadanman). This music is simultaneously the future of dance music and R&B; witness the critically-acclaimed EPs and debut record from James Blake. On Luvstep 2, newcomers Two Inch Punch and Psychonaught tweak Brandy and Ray J, respectively; the tunes are surprisingly apt for the mix. It finishes strong with up-tempo songs from Submerse: more futuristic R&B, with funky, garage beats dramatized by a layer of orchestral strings.
After the success of the Luvstep set at last summer’s Mad Decent Block Party, Dirty South Joe and Flufftronix are taking the show on the road. In DC, they will join turntablist-extraordinaire Klever and moombahtoner Obeyah at U Hall. It remains to be seen how luvstep plays in clubs where faster tempos dominate, but if anyone can make it work, it’s these guys.
The Luvstep Release tour
02/14/11 Philadelphia, PA at Fluid
02/14/11 Philadelphia, PA at The Lodge
02/19/11 Washington, DC at U Street Music Hall
02/22/11 Newark at Mojo on Main
03/02/11 Indianapolis at The Casba
03/03/11 Louisville, KY at Headliners