Tag Archives: starkey

Outer Spaces – a free EP created on the iPhone

DopplerPad is an iPhone app that utilizes the touch screen to put a put a fully-loaded beat station in your pocket. What better way to see what it can do than put it through its paces by four top future groove producers? Outer Spaces, a free EP by producers Eskmo, Exillon, Jneiro Jarel, and Starkey, was created utilizing only DopplerPad, and you can grab the EP on DopplerPad’s website.
Outer Spaces by retronyms

Starkey, Philadelphia’s leading purveyor of street bass, lays down some luvstep on “Hurricane’s Doppler.” The track is a funky, swirling attack of synths, snares, and – of course – bass. San Francisco’s Eskmo has released material on leading labels Planet Mu and Warp Records, and his “Eyephone Around the Pad” is a chugging mix of simple guitar riffs and left-field samples.

The offering by Exillon, “Popplerdad,” is the most danceable of the EP – a bouncy electro romp with midrange wobble. The wobble continues with a grimey track by Jneiro Jarel, who has worked with groundbreaking artists like TV on the Radio and DOOM.

For a relatively expensive iPhone app ($7.99), demonstrating worth is key. So while Outer Spaces is an interesting EP on its own, it’s an even better advertisement for DopplerPad. If you’re into future grooves, you should check out both.

Dubstep Dossier: Starkey

This year, Valentine’s Day meant more than just flowers, chocolates and ham-fisted attempts at romance. It also marked the release of Luvstep, a long-awaited mixtape by Dirty South Joe and Flufftronix on the Mad Decent Radio podcast. The Luvstep mix codified a developing trend in dubstep and bass sounds, away from the metallic and industrial and towards the melodic and orchestral. Introducing the mix was Philadelphia’s Starkey, a DJ/producer whose sonic output fully fits within the luvstep realm, even if he opts for the grimier “street bass” descriptor.

Starkey’s debut full-length, Ear Drums and Black Holes, released last month on Planet Mu, is a monument to how far dubstep has come. Throughout its 15 songs, Starkey pays tribute to two-step, garage, grime, and all the musical seeds that have cross-pollinated to form dubstep in 2010.

On opening track “OK Luv,” waves of shimmering synths and chiptune effects build over a stuttering shuffle, a pattern that repeats on tracks like “11th Hour” and “Four Dimension.” “Stars,” the first single from Ear Drums, puts the warbling synths and vocals by Anneka in the front of the mix for a chilled-out feel. Starkey does get grimey, too, opting for pnuematic, grinding bass and epic, siren-like instrumentation on tracks like “Spacecraft.”

Rappers Cerebral Vortex and P-Money turn the clock back to the grime glory days, reminding rappers, both underground and mainstream, that these gurgling instrumentals are the perfect complement to rhymes, once you master the two-step rhythms. Starkey proved this on his remix of Gorilla Zoe’s “Lost” for the ATL RMX album.

With dubstep producers like Rusko and Skream bringing back the rave, the scene needs a producer to advocate for luvstep. If Ear Drums and Black Holes is any indication, Starkey is more than capable. And remember, don’t fear the wobble.

The Verge – Dubstep

Welcome to The Verge: a column dedicated to music on the verge of a breakthrough. This inaugural column is inspired by the life-changing bass of the U Street Music Hall, and will focus on a few of the subsonic sounds coming to a system near you.

Rusko, the king of wobble, dropped the video for Woo Boost this week. The track is the lead single off his Mad Decent debut, O.M.G! As I’ve written about previously, Rusko is leading the way in the dubstep world with a singular sound that is aggressive and abrasive yet eminently listenable, like Charlie Brown’s teacher on acid. The video is the perfect visual complement to the ostentatious tunage. Obnoxious and glaring, the clip is a collage of broken video effects, swirling fluorescents, and a Union Jack-draped Rusko rocking a keytar. It is a total guilty pleasure, in all of its seizure inducing glory. The most defining visual is Rusko tearing through the green screen; it’s like watching the violent birth of something twisted and wrong. Enough words, watch the damn clip:

Jakwob first came to my attention thanks to his remixes of songs by Sound of 2010 winner Ellie Goulding, where he turned her shimmering, synth-folk-pop into danceable dubstep that preserved the charm of the originals. His remix of Kid Sister’s “Daydreaming” is more of the same: adding a dash of wobble to enhance, but not obscure, a solid dance track. His recent minimix for Annie Mac’s Radio 1 showcases both his remix and DJing talents as he skillfully mixes about 30 songs in 6 minutes. It sounds like DJ Premier and Girl Talk had a baby in London. Try to follow the bouncing ball:

Starkey, the Philadelphia purveyor of “that street bass sound,” will drop Ear Drums and Black Holes on April 19. Ear Drums is probably the first album that totally encapsulates the concept of luvstep (an interview with Starkey did launch the Luvstep podcast, after all). The first single, “Stars” (featuring Anneka), is the polar opposite of Woo Boost: a track designed for chillout not knockout. The video, while less over-the-top than that of Woo Boost, is disturbing in its own way, matching the tone of the deceptively dark track. “Stars” is only one of the Baskin Robbins-like flavors that appear on Ear Drums, so get your first taste now: