Dubstep Sufferah

Dubstep Sufferah

When I was a kid, most of the music I listened to related to the twin poles of industrial and dub, and to this day these two musics are important to me. Industrial is now more of a historical interest, whereas reggae is still essential.) That’s why I like dubstep so much; it’s the near-perfect mix of industrial sonics and abrasion with dub’s space and sweetness. In fact I was going to do a full-on ritual mix of industrial and dubstep, but when I got into it, i really didn’t need to; dubstep has more than enough noise on its own. Hence the title of this mix: Dubstep Sufferah. In Jamaica in the mid-70s, Sufferah’s music was the term for deep roots reggae; personally I think a lot of that dread vibe is embodied in dubstep. It’s also partly a rhetorical or ideological device: I want dubstep to retain its reggae foundation and not turn into techno-ish boys music. Rather I want it to reflect industrial’s menstrual masculinity.

Now, it’s a fact that there simply aren’t enough dubstep records in the world (though there are a load coming out this Spring). A consequence of this fact is that many of the mixes you hear from non-name DJs tend to have a lot of tracks in common — an issue I have tried to address by dubbing the mix to the max and editing most of the tunes. Paul Autonomic’s first grime and dubstep mix from last year was a big inspiration of this approach, though as regular listeners will know, I’ve been ploughing my own digital mix furrow for some years now. And yes, this is an all-Live, all edits, no live mixing package; there are now many, many extremely good live vinyl mixes available, especially from Rinse sessions from Youngsta and Kode 9, plus a number from Joe Nice, so I think that angle is adequately catered for. I’m interested in producing mixes that let me listen to this music in all its widescreen, sumptuous, highly effected glory and for me, this one just about hits the spot. Dubstep Sufferah is made up of three parts: 20 minutes of slowly evolving, deeply dubbed classics, which build up to some roughneck breakbeats’n’noise, before slowly winding down into honeyed, dark, ambience. This mix might be merely a selection of the key tunes from the last year, albeit with as many top-notch ’06 cuts as I could lay my hands on, but I think it still sounds pretty fresh.

Particular stand-out tracks for me are…

Mood Dub: biggest ear worm of the last six months.

Loefah & Skream’s 28 G — TUUUUNE!

Skream’s I — feel the bass. One note is all you need. Better than Request Line?

Lightning — the Skream track that re-embedded Amenz in the dubstep end of the ardkore continuum

Vex’d’s Lion — best-est, banging-est breakbeat track of the last five years. Ancient tune too — came out in 04.

Vex’d remix of Toasty’s The Knowledge — the classic “747 taking off” trick re-done fo dubstep. The biggest noise you will hear all year. And Search and Destroy have one of the best group names ever.

Loefah’s mix of Candy Floss — TUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEE! Love it love it love it…

Random Trio’s Indian Stomp. Absolutely gorgeous. I wasn’t too sure about the minimal down-step sound at first but when you add Indian samples to the mix it just works so well. I would’ve killed for a copy of Dusk & Blackdown’s forthcoming “Lata” to complete the effect but it’s not out for a few more weeks and, you know, I’m just not important enough to get plates or CDs! I really want to have a whole new sub-genre of near-ambient, Indian-tinged dubstep (possibly with a side order of country soul samples…) — the dubstep version of “gyal tunes”. I suppose most of you hate the idea!

Anti-War Dub — just a fantastic, deep, groovy steepers record. Tempted to mix it in with house. You think at first there’s not enough happening to make that relentless 4×4 beat work, but there’s HEAPS of melody here. Great record. should be on the radio (beyond Mary Anne Hobbes). Won’t be.

Dusk & Blackdown — yes I know I’m only using it as a backdrop to Anti-War dub, but this record hints at future greatness.
Kingstown
— yup, still the most emotional (and political) record in dubstep. Fantastic piece of work and I thoroughly enjoyed chopping it about. We’re all proud of you Steve!

As before, in a bid to stop leach sites destroying my bandwidth (and get a chance to say Hi! to the people who download our mixes), this mix is only available through email. Just drop me a line at grievousangelsoundsystem@yahoo.co.uk to get the URL of the mix. It’s a 191K MP3 encoded with LAME which weighs 103Mb. Be warned though: the bass on these tunes is DEEP and the mix might sound a bit odd if your speakers / headphones don’t go down very far…

EDIT: Tracklistings are in the “lyrics” field — works on iTunes on a Mac, dunno if it works in anythin else.

Thank you to the (fairly large) numbers of people who have already go in touch with me for your support, and for not revealing mix URLs on message boards.

Dubstep Sufferah mix tracklisting

1. 0.00. Coki (Digital Mystikz) – Mood Dub (DMZ DMZ004)
2. 4.14. Digital Mystikz – Jah Fire (DMZ DMZ002)
3. 6.19. Skream – Traitor (Ital ITAL 001)
4. 9.07. Loefah – Horror Show (DMZ DMZ002)
5. 12.12. Loefah & Skream – 28G (Tectonic TEC003)
6. 17.08. Loefah – The Goatstare (DMZ DMZ006)
7. 19.48. Skream – I (Tempa 0.14)
8. 21.39. Digital Mystikz – 10 Dread Commandments (DMZ DMZ002)
9. 25.15. Loefah – Twisup (Youngsta and Task remix) (DMZ DMZ003)
10. 28.19. Skream – Lightning (Tempa 016)
11. 31.43. Vex’d – Lion (Subtext SUB002)
12. 34.31. Pressure Feat Warrior Queen – Money Honey (Vocal Version) (Hyperdub HDB002)
13. 36:50. Vex’d – Angels (from Planet Mu LP Degenerate
14. 48.43. Toasty – The Knowledge (Vex’d Remix) (Hotflush HFRMX001)
15. 44.27. Boxcutter – Brood (Hotflush HF010)
16. 39:23. Search & Destroy – Candy Floss (Loefah Remix) (Hotflush HFRMX001)
17: 53:39 Skream / Dizzee Rascal – Midnight Request Line (Grievous Angel Vocal Edit) (Tempa 0.14)
18. 56:34. Loefah & Skream – Fearless (Tectonic TEC003)
19. 1:01.19 Random Trio – Indian Stomp (Cyrus EP Tectonic TEC004)
20. 1:03:21 Digital Mystikz – Anti War Dub (DMZ 007)
21. 1:08:03. Dusk & Blackdown – Drenched (Keysound Recordings IDN001)
22. 1:09:51. Kode 9 & The Space Ape – Kingstown (Vocal Mix) (Hyperdub HYP003)
23. 1:14:30. Eschaton
Ends 1:15:23

More dubstep

No time to do label scans — been meaning to do this post for days already…

But… the remix double-header on Hotflush is FAB. Vex’d’s remix of Toasty’s The Knowledge Loefah’s mix of Search And Destroy’s Candyfloss (I got caught out by the labels being transposed on my pressing!) is LUSH as you like. Gorgeous halfsteppin’ bassline wobbler. Meanwhile Loefah’s mix of Search And Destroy’s Candyfloss Vex’d’s remix of Toasty’s The Knowledge is simply the biggest noise you will hear all year, for all the world sounding like Swans do dubstep (now THERE’S an idea for a boot! Soon come — Shards Fragments and Totems’ competition for best suggestion of a Swans track to remix…). Probably the best record of the year so far.

D1’s Degrees is, well, the one we’ve been waiting for since Youngsta’ sets on Rinse in May last year. Great Blade Runner-esque synth washes and corruscating bass. Yes he’ll probably turn into the Photek of dubstep, and probably very soon, but in the mean time can he PLEASE just bang ’em out?

Skream’s Skreamism is, well, reviewed somewhat late here, but y’know, I’ve been working. And I was surprised by just how good these tunes are in the mix. Yes Hag comes a bit too close to Marcus Warp’s pet peeve of dubstep becoming second-rate digidub, but the rest is fab. The untitled one and Smiley Face are good beyond belief while Lightning is that “Amen-break dubstep” tune you’ve all been reading about, and it’s terriffic. Well worth your eight quid and the packaging is gorgeous — did N Type really do that illo? Cool!

And… DMZ 007. Digital Mystikz. Anti War Dub. You just KNOW it’s going to be magnificent, but this is special. Loefah might be my favourite dubstep producer, but Digital Mystikz are my favourite dubstep GROUP. Mala and Coki enlist Spen G to create dubstep’s second most emotional tune, and it’s deceptively simple and melodically direct, while the steppers’ blueprint is adapted to near-techno formalism and represents a new departure for dubstep. (Since you’re asking, Kode 9’s Kingstown is the most emotional dubstep tune yet made; Dusk & Blackdown’s Lata will be the third.)

It sounds better every time you hear it and (whisper it) there’s some politics in there. Makes a nice change. Buy it while you can.

Dubstep forum mixes from the mists of time

Bizarre. Ancient posts from some hugely enthusiastic dubstep stars from back in 2004 and before. DJ Distance: http://www.ukmusic.com/forum/search.php?searchid=61513
Plasticman: http://www.ukmusic.com/forum/search.php?searchid=61577
Some Joe Nice in there too. One day there will be websites dedicated to finding the web presence of stars from “before they were famous”.

Dubstep latest

Box Cutter: Brood b/w Sunshine

On Hotflush of course, Boxcutter shows off his phenomenal high tek skills — Brood is half step hyped up with vast timestretched breaks, and i wouldn’t be out of place in a Si Begg set. That’s a compliment by the way, I like Si Begg, and I like the way that a lot of Dubstep from Vex’d and Mark One outwards reworks the breaks blueprint. It’s not as good as the visceral cthonic impact of DMZ gear but then, what is? B-side Sunshine is, well, dubstep gone jazz funk — and it’s great!

Random Trio: Cyrus EP

Cyrus’ first proper release is an odd bag but it’s a grower. He doesn’t do the wobbly bassline thing (no, don’t tell me you’re bored with it, I don’t believe you), rather he focuses on extremely sparse tunes that lead on bongo hits with sub bass that is very, very subby — scarcely worth playing at home actually cos you simply won’t hear the bass (it’s present on my studio monitors but not on any of the hifi’s I’ve got). here is a bit of a “Cabaret Voltaire B-side” syndrome going on, but when it comes together on tracks like Indian Stomp it rocks — try this track in the mix, you won’t believe where it takes you.

http://www.randomtrio.blogspot.com/
http://www.randomtrioproductions.com/

submerged

Dusk and Blackdown: Submerged / Drenched.
On a similar note is Dusk and Blackdown, about whome one could almost say, welcome to the Drexciya of dubstep. We’re talkin widescreen, down-tempo, somewhat abstract dubstep that is occasionally (and wisely) laden with strings. It’s not a brilliant record, but it is very good, and it’s just a taste of what’s coming: the new EP, due in May, is vastly better and Lata in particular is going to catapault them into the stratosphere. Still, I’m glad I’ve got this one – though I quite fancy hearing it on CD. (Any chance, Martin?)

http://blackdownsoundboy.blogspot.com

d1

D1: I Believe b/w Belong / Steamroller

I think this EP is maybe not quite as immediate as some of the D1 stuff out there; Steamroller is probably the most memorable tune here, but that might be just because it’s (to me) the most familiar. Even so, it’s brilliant music.

Loefah Vs Skream: 28g b/w FearlessLook, I’m not even going to review this. Just buy it while you can.

Bash rocks

Me at Bash, rocking
The consensus is that Bash was a triumph. It was wild! I’m sure it’s partly to do with the fact that Dubstep is the hottest sound on the planet right now. For this was an evening where the leading lights of dubstep, convened by your hero and mine (and key link between Dubstep and its industrial forebears) Kevin Martin in partnership with Loefah (the best producer in the world right now? I think so), got together, kicked back, and played reggae, in the knowledge that by the end of 2006, they will probably all be so famous a relaxed night like this just won’t be able to happen.

So it goes with the historification process.

So get Bash while it’s hot. I think John put it best when he said it was like being in someone’s front room — someone with both fantastic taste in dancehall (and jungle, for that matter) and a HUGE fuck off sound system. (Not quite the best sound in London, not while Shaka’s alive anyway, but not bad.) And obviously, it’s not quite as good as being in John’s front room and playing his tunes, but then not many people have a collection as good as his.

I loved it from the first minute — yo know you’re onto a winner when Loefah’s on the door selling tickets (or in John’s case, crossing you off the guest list, jammy bastard) — I tell you, I nearly creamed myself. I met a bunch of other people that night and all I can say is, these dubstep folk are really nice. The picture above is me giving it up for Kode 9, who played a blinder and reckoned it was the most relaxed DJ set he’d ever done — “Play a record, hit stop, play another record” — though he still managed to play that DEVESTATING ragga jungle classic, Krome & Time’s “Studio 1 Lik”, which is a big fave of mine and went down an absolute storm. Pokes reached across the decks and rewound it straight off. Class.

Anyway. Bash. Dancehall power!!!

New Moll Selekta releases: Sugar Minott: the Roots Lover 1978 – 1983 and The Bunny Lee Rocksteady Years

Sugar Minott: the Roots Lover
I’ve just been sent two new releases on German reggae reissue label Moll Selekta (via the inestimable Steve Barker), a label I’d never heard of but seem to have over a dozen very interesting releases on their books. The Sugar Minott disc is a cracking double CD set of full-length, mainly early 80s roots and dancehall gems with an extremely high hit rate. We’re talking Channel One cuts with Roots Radics and Black Roots backing so musically most of the cuts are impeccable — and the mastering is by the maestro himself, von Oswald. Sleeve notes are fair; there’s a good biography, even if it’s obviously translated from the German (with somewhat error-prone typesetting), though the track information is a little sparse. But putting these minor quibbles to one side, there are HEAPS of absolutely KILLER tunes on this compilation. It’s well worth seeking out; go buy.

ROCKSTEADY!!!

Everyone likes a bit of rocksteady, if only to trace the evolution of riddims that later surfaced in reggae and dancehall. Here we are presented with the sweetest of r’n’b harmonies over just-shy-of-reggae jerky beats and it’s fab. Another sumptuously produced and mastered release, it’s the best possible introduction to Bunny Lee’s treasure trove of rocksteady stompers. Recommended.