Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 35: A Farewell to Dubstep

Ok, this one is gonna get me yelled at by some people, but let's be real. Dubstep is Over. It's been over for a while.

I'm not saying it's DEAD or it's gonna STOP EXISTING, and I'm certainly not saying it's BAD...just that its time has come and gone. A year ago, Dubstep was this time-defining hyper-relevant world-dominant sound-of-the-moment, and it's quickly turning into its own cloistered, insular, largely-irrelevant-to-the-outside-world little scene (similar to what happened to Drum & Bass in 1997-8, or what happened to PsyTrance 45 minutes after it was invented). Many of the most interesting, creative, forward-thinking producers from Dubstep have already moved on (to UK Funky / Karnival / Future Garage / Post-Garage / whatever you wanna call it), so I felt it was only fitting to do a retrospective Dubstep mix.

So here's a mix with a bunch of the huge genre-defining anthems, and a lot of my own personal faves as well. For some of these tunes, I can say I was among the very first to play them out on dub plate, and for that I am truly thankful. Not tryna say "omgz I blew dese trax up come and bow at my feet" or nuthin''s just a nice feeling to see something grow from the ground up, even if it's something as insignificant in the grand scheme of things as one track from a tiny sub-sub-genre of the already-sufficiently-tiny electronic dance music world. Now before I go getting all teary-eyed about my fave parties and shops and THE SANDS OF TIME SLIPPING IRRETRIEVABLY THROUGH OUR FINGERS, here's the mix.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 35: Dubstep.
  1. Joker; Snake Eater (Soul Motive)
  2. Loefah & Sgt. Pokes; Mud VIP (DMZ / Planet Mu)
  3. Morcheeba; World Looking In (DZ Remix) (LoDubs)
  4. Bodil / Cycheouts Ghost; Mirrorz (ROMZ)
  5. Brackles; Rawkus (Planet Mu)
  6. LD; Shake It (Hyperdub)
  7. Zomby; Strange Fruit (Ramp Recordings)
  8. Tes La Rock feat. Uncle Sam; Up In The VIP (Dub Police)
  9. Cotti vs. Mr. Party & Jammer; Dem Fi Know (Argon)
  10. MC Jakes & Joker; 3K Lane (Hench)
  11. 6Blocc; Burning Dub (6Dub)
  12. Digital Mystikz feat. Speng; Anti War Dub (DMZ)
  13. Benga & Coki; Night (Tempa)
  14. LV & Dandelion; CCTV (Hyperdub)
  15. Hoodz; Clash (LoDubs)
  16. Benga; Crunked Up (Tempa)
  17. Joker; Digidesign (Hyperdub)
  18. Guido; Orchestral Lab (Punch Drunk)
  19. Monkey Steak; Ratatosk's Tree (unreleased)
  20. Gemmy; Supligen (Planet Mu)
  21. I.T.; Tipsy (white)
  22. Rusko; Cockney Thug (Sub Soldiers)
  23. Ebola; Alpha Paw (LoDubs)
  24. The Bug feat. Killa P & Flowdan; Skeng (Kode9 Remix) (Hyperdub)
  25. Cardopusher; I Need You Tonight (unreleased)
  26. Dess; Sick Room (Dead Homies)
  27. The Art Of Noise; Moments In Love (Caspa Remix) (white)
  28. Skream; Midnight Request Line (Tempa)
  29. Stagga feat. Skamma; Sick As Sin (Ultra VIP) (ElectroStimulation)
  30. Kanji Kinetic; Scatter (Sleazetone)
NEXT WEEK: Italo Disco.


  1. "or what happened to PsyTrance 45 minutes after it was invented" - lol

    the brilliance continues, man when this collection is complete it'll be a milestone in mixtape culture.

  2. So trueeeee and over here in LA is getting big right now......

  3. this is a big mix, man.

    lucky thing i'm in Cincinnati where everything is 10 years behind, so me being 6 years behind still seems a bit ahead of the curve, lol.

  4. this is the second time i've ever sat down, and actually listened to a dubstep mix. the first time was when i was at your set on thanksgiving.

    i was just startin to dig the stuff. oh well, i will throw it away like my old battle trolls.

  5. I cant wait for next weeks, keep it up. swound!

  6. what is Karnival?

  7. Karnival is tricky to's a mix of soca / uk funky/ dancehall / bashment /future garage / dubstep vibes...I'd like to summarize it more precisely than that but that's really about the best I can do...

  8. eh, ok. well, looking forward to your italo-disco mix. I've been jamming the I-F mixed up at the Hague mixes lately, incredible.

  9. Using tunes that came out within the last 3-4 months in a "this genre is dead" mix fail.

  10. AND I QUOTE:

    "I'm not saying it's DEAD"

    Learn to read

  11. Yo Chris! As a dude who's always been into music but always outside the 'scene' for one reason or another, it's interesting to see the crowd changing at the same pace.

    I lived in Montreal in 2006, which was a great year for me. I met DJ C, saw Skream and Kode9, it all felt really fresh, welcoming and original. The girl who worked the door at most of the shows I went to was the promoter's sister, she remembers me and even tried to introduce me to her friend. I got busy with work and life until 2009-ish and now feel like I get attitude for not knowing who bassnectar is or wanting every song to fuzz out harder.

    What's up? There were some very cool songs back then (ie. Supa Stylist - The Culture Anthem) that were not similar sound-wise to anything now. There's an all-Skream mix (aug 2005) that I really liked because it didn't evolve too fast, it felt like atmospherics rather than verse-chorus-verse.

    The 'dubstep' sound is a lot more defined. The indie-dubstep remixes are pretty cool but they are straight conventional in format. Nothing wrong with that, but take those in combination with a crowd that wants a certain product for its own hipster identity and the sound becomes templated. So dubstep becomes ghettoized in its own little genre and i have to deal with attitude going out. So to escape stagnating forever, we get minimal dubstep, liquid dubstep, melodic.... sigh.

    Anyway there is lot to be said for music that can't be pinned down to genre too easily. Do a karnival mix man!

    I understand you're a Dj/Producer first and foremost but you might want to add 'music writer' to your resumé. You're an insightful guy, what you're doing would be a killer monthly column at XLR8R.

    PS. Nice mix

  12. no, it is dead. And it's a good thing too,it's good because that means the next day we can revive it as something else, rather than keep on living the life of a "zombie" genre for the sake of the industry.

  13. Wow. Just come across this blog. Impressive work man. Ticking all the bases for stone cold classics, over-rinsed anthems and damn good tunes. Nice work mate.

  14. Are you for real? Dubstep is getting bigger and bigger. Shit, even Nike are using it in adverts now. By 'over' you mean 'not underground & cool & 1337 anymore'.

  15. ohmygosh

    by "over" I mean "turning into its own cloistered, insular, largely-irrelevant-to-the-outside-world little scene (similar to what happened to Drum & Bass in 1997-8)"

    I don't understand why I have to keep clarifying this.

  16. Probably comments like;

    "Dubstep is Over. It's been over for a while."

    are confusing people.

    As for;

    "turning into its own cloistered, insular, largely-irrelevant-to-the-outside-world little scene (similar to what happened to Drum & Bass in 1997-8)"

    What genre doesn't end up doing that? Especially an urban genre.

  17. every genre ends up doing that. it is still valid to note when that transformation has taken place for an individual genre. that's all I'm doing...

  18. Still born, more like.


    Fine for a 8-bar breakdown (or even 16-bars if it has really been banging), but for hours on end or and entire party?

    Dubstep makes me sleepy.

  19. I'm sure it will be a good mix, once I make it this far down the list. nice blog man.

    I'm not gonna disagree with dubstep being over, jungle only had a run of 92 - 97 (at a stretch) . having said that I myself refused to admit it was 'over' until at least 2003, just loved it so much.

    I think the real interesting dubsteppy stuff now is the techno/house crossover of Martyn, 2526, etc

    you may love/hate Simon Reynolds but he recently wrote about the Noughties being the only decade in popular music where no style of music actually DIED, as in ceased to exist, even dnb just went into its niche.

    anyway, blah blah, good work

  20. dubstep is not dead...
    it lives in the gaspalove mix:

    Mr murderbot, your year of mixtapes project kicks ass.

    big up!!!!

  21. YESSS!

    Pacheko, Cardopusher, & the rest of the Iberia / Latin America crew pushing dubstep forward :)

  22. Another great mix!!! Thanks!


  23. Although I feel a bit redundant posting on a long and old comment-thread I have to get it off my chest:

    With all the publicity dubstep has gotten and the continuous stream of popularised easy-to-digest dance tracks that have been overflowing the clubs (and our hard-disks) the genre is on the best way to stagnation and finally its death. And you know what? I can't wait for Dubstep to be dead!!! That way the anthems of the scene will become treasured underground gems of a decade (I do consider minimal techno and dubstep to be the most 00'-definig sounds) to be played at the peak of a good party and therefor regain its authenticity. That way the artists really interested in this legacy of simplicit, fuzzy, heavy, groovy, earnumbing sound-desing (let's not kid ourselves, it is not about sophisticated composition in this kind of street-born bastard genres) can dedicate themselves to pushing it on, experiment, mash it up without being put in a drawer as 'dubstep' (which nowaday almost sounds trivial in so many ways).


    {Haven't heard the mix yet, but the tracks sound delicious. I know you from a funky breaks mix I downloaded ages ago, when I was at school - respect for evolving in such an interesting way. I'm gonna keep watching the blog ;-)}

  24. lolz. just stumbled across this blog. first: good work on all these mixtapes. second: dubstep is def going down a road of irrelevance and for all the reasons that you pointed. I remember getting into dubstep iin 06 or thereabouts. people thought I was playing some wack shiz...I sorta forgotten about it, next thing you know there's dubstep nights and crews in my town. went to their parties and was horrified. a genre that was new to these parts and it already sounded dated. oh well, I catch you in the funky house room. what ever happened to bassline?

  25. all this music house, dnb, techno, garage, dubstep, it does the same thing. it is the same thing. call it what you want, its all drums, bass, and sound effects. wobble might be OVER but DUB lives, and the global culture incubating its most interesting strains is just getting organized and connected, cut out all this post modern shit... no use talking about the death of something that never really existed other than as an idea put into our minds that probably did more harm than good.

    also you cant put new songs in an OVER mix... thats seemingly counter productive to your argument, since you yourself still enjoy things currently produced in the genre, or WHATEVER. PLUS no MALA :(

  26. mala co-made the dmz track on here
    i absolutely can put new songs in an over mix...I wanted to reflect the change in the genre over time and the up-to-the-minute post-dubstep things happening now!

  27. It's sad that as genres get more mainstream they also get dumber. Dubstep may or may not be "dead" but it's definitely a mainstream genre now. I mean they're selling dubstep merch at hot topic and deadmau5 tours stadiums and has kids dressing up in mouse heads.

    Even if that's bad news for dubstep as an interesting/relevant genre, it's really exciting for electronic music because it means that there are now hundreds of thousands of kids who are into electronic music who never would have had anything to do with it 10 years ago. Exciting to think about what kind of stuff those kids will be making down the road.

  28. I am a long time electronic music fan, but have lapsed in the past few years (gah...more like the last decade) in keeping up on what is hot. Hell, I still pine for a return to turntablism and trip-hop. That said my 16 year old came to me a few months ago and asked me if I knew what dubstep was. I thought he was talking about Jamaican dub, but he said it was different and pointed me to a "popular" dubstep artist's video on youtube. The track I heard was really unremarkable and it seemed like drum-and-bass with a new name.

    Needless to say I was unimpressed, and we never talked about it further. Recently I stumbled on some roots dubstep tracks and realized that what I heard that day was really not representative of the style and that I wanted to hear more. Now I am diving in to a now "dead" subgenre and really liking about 80% of what I am hearing. This mix is charming and well paced and really shows off a lot of what defines dubstep. Thanks from an out of touch old man.

  29. No music died in the noughties?

    I guess Breakbeat really went through a great phase between 2006-2010...

  30. That can be discussed over and over. Everybody has a bit of truth.
    But anyways, I would like to lay hands on some of those tracks in vinyl so I can play it in
    Basement music - Pagrabstāvs