Monday, July 30, 2012


further to my point here about dubstep pre-2007 lacking a core... 

listening again to the famous super-influential Dubstep Wars Breezeblock All-Stars session that Mary Ann Hobbs hosted in late 2006, I heard scene-godfather Hatcha utter these words about FWD>> and the genesis of dubstep over the preceding six years:

"The music we were playing at the FWD nights didn't really have a name. But it had a lot of sounds from all kinds of music in it. Every producer really is different. One'll be more into his reggae sound, one'll be more into his break-y sound, one'll be more into his techno-y sound... So you can't really pinpoint this sound. But we just call this whole little community of music 'dubstep'."

So that's September 2006. But within a year, this scene/sound that lacked a hard core had formed one; a hardcore emerged within it, a defined style, and with it came a hardcore mentality.

It's the reverse of what happens usually with music, which is that the centre doesn't hold, it fragments into substyles and fusion-izes with adjacent genres. It matures -- grows more sophisticated and refined. Gets genteel and a bit gutless, and in the process loses the massive, which is often the young audience.

 But as the last five years have shown, the total opposite happened with dubstep.

Dubstep grew down.

Within what had hitherto been a quasi-genre, a centripetal scenius logic takes over.  A linearity assembled itself and drove the genre through half-step, into wobble, into brostep / mid-range "metalla-purge". The music got less intelligent and varied, more lumpen and monolithic. It literally regressed, going from a elders sound for 90s veterans and ex-junglists to a noise for boys. 

Completely back to front from how things usually go with a genre!

Fascinating, eh! So how come? 

An influx of historical ignorants, new recruits insufficently schooled in the various old skool roots of D-step?  That the DJs start to respond to, in terms of what tunes go over in the big room context at peak hour, in terms of not just their selection but their own production?

A knock-on of the anti-smoking-in-club laws, causing people to embrace pills because they couldn't get away with a sly spliff anymore? 

Or is it just the visceral, debasing power of those mid-range, chainsaw, abject-slurry basslines?


1 comment:

E&E said...

I think that you could also say that is how D&B developed. Starting with the eclecticism of Hardcore & Jungle and the diverse range of influences in D&B until it became a victim of the blueprint template production values.