Burial remixes must be a kind of cottage industry right now (if u see the Buddha, remixx the Buddha) but I’m drawn to the way Leif attaches a Baltimore-style kick pattern & interweaves new subtleties into the original while keeping the trademark muted clanky feel. Baltimore structure with Burial timbres – so much more interesting than the plain ‘add B-more break’ remix decision! Leif redirects the effete British rave nostalgia-pop (“ambient trance” a friend calls it) of Burial down a sweatier east coast US alley.
The aura of the original remains intact, just displaced. In fact, the remix meshes so closely with the album track that it eats my memory of that ‘first’ version and becomes the definitive one, for me.
speaking of wubstep & What Happens When It Washes Up in Amerika, i’ll be playing NYC’s DubWar on December 21, at this spot called Love that everybody says has the best sound in NYC. Alongside DJ Geko Jones and Jah Dan blessing the mic. We will crush you.
wanna win a pair of tickets to tomorrow’s Dub War in NYC?
Name this riddim. First person to e-mail the correct name/info to nettlephonic at yahoo dot com gets free tickets. If you think nerds don’t deserve free tickets, send me a pretty song instead and we’ll see.
i first bumped into bassline via Dexplicit, a producer i knew from the grime scene who also creates powerful 4-on-the-floor tunes. If you’ve caught me playing in a club in the past year or so, chances are you heard at least one bassline track by Dexplicit.
i’m no genre cop, but i think of bassline as 4/4 housey stuff wrapped in (obviously) elephantine basslines with grime/dubstep synth programming, ravey fx & vocal cut-ups, some MCing, and, deliciously, those triplet breakdowns that Wiley throws into his riddims. (Check ‘Eskimo 4×4 on DJ Murkz MySpace to hear a grime anthem rebuilt by bassline logic)
Wordthecat’s new post on bassline sketches the genre’s UK geography & offers a bumpin’ Dexplicit-heavy mix. “It’s interesting to see a style that is popular all over the north of england making inroads into the capital,” writes Chris, “(Londoners like to think) the currents usually move in the opposite direction.”
the two mixtape excerpts below come from Bassline Flava vol. 6 by DJ Total (buyable). They contain a lot of what i find thrilling about bassline… The first flips a triplet time-shift (then the mix throws in a Jay-Z vocal on hyperspeed), the second hits that rare elegiac / unrequited love thing (the heart-stricken diva) which gets me every time…
the lactose intolerant may denigrate bassline as cheesy, but its dancefloor power is undeniable.
Low End Spasm ups a basslinely mix (which i havent heard yet), noting that, “our 4×4 obsession is a reaction to dubstep’s flatlining rhythm (not to make sweeping generalisations or anything – tunes like Night by Benga & Coki still totally destroy the dance and there’s more). But in many ways 4×4, especially niche bassline house, is the anti-dubstep. Huge banging blines that buzz and wobble like the best of em, but also no reserve on the drums, no holding back, just euphoric breakneck tempo all the way.”
The great part about having a thing & an anti-thing is that, if they have similar tempos (and they do), you can mix them together, bend ’em into both and neither on the turntables…
But then you go to Italy, not a ‘nice’ city but Milan – expensive and user-unfriendly – and you find Crookers. Sound leaks, no matter how carefully you package it up. Bass travels through any wall. Although what you hear on the other side might not be…
The Bug on dstep, d&b, and the asphyxiation of influence:
Because for me the beauty of dubstep were the producers that I met in the beginning, the fact that they were influenced by a lot of different music; Kode 9, Mala, influenced by jungle, influenced by dub, influenced by classical music, soundtrack music. That’s brilliant, I could hear that on the tracks but now i think that there are new producers that are coming into dubstep and they only listen to dubstep and for me that’s when jungle became drum n bass, that was the problem then. Drum n bass producers were just listening to drum n bass producers so there weren’t as many interesting influences on the music and I think of course with dubstep now, its amazing the progress in the last year but I don’t see why I should say everything’s positive when its obviously not really.
from a thoughtful two – part interview with Kevin.
dubstep is still so studiously documented and recorded in the annals of bass history that it needs decent artwork to accompany it like monarchs’ portraits in history books, but grime exists mainly on mp3/ phone/ whites and is accordingly easy to delete from memory. most grime producers are more concerned with bringing out new beats than accumulating a ‘respectable’ archive to be remembered by.
this is a good point. i drafted a post on something similar when Andy sent me 2 or 3 clips to dubstep documentaries on YouTube. but we shouldn’t overlook Risky Roadz and all the grime DVDs! These are thrilling, self-produced documents both from and of a scene, completely visible but hardly a ‘respectable’ archive.
the subject of a grime DVD is a whole lot of things – lyrical beef, strutting, DIY cameraboy aesthetics, skyhigh testosterone levels, etc., whereas the subject of a dubstep documentary – any documentary – is ‘dubstep’ itself (the integral objecthood of the docu’s subject); not the content of the scene but only its most obvious, exterior shell, the part of it which has hardened into visibility and no longer moves (maybe the dead part). Once people outside your scene recognize your scene as such, (talking in money terms here) they recognize you as a potential market, something they can invest in or advertise to: you exist.
London dubstep documentary
I’m not criticizing (dubstep) documentaries at all, i simply feel that these are interesting ways to think about the way scenes get remembered or forgotten or overlooked, the durability of its artefacts – cultural visibility – and how well (or poorly) these aspects of a scene can flourish as mainstream media narratives.
and then there’s another thing, about the way ‘quality’ (usually a long-term consideration) and ‘newness’ are very different production goals.
Roll Deep in session
Nearly everybody in the docus (big respect to all involved!) talks about dubstep’s diverse and hard-to-pin down nature, but the nature of a documentary is that by the time that we see it, the subject’s been killed a bit. Things move on. And self-conscious diversity rarely stays diverse for long. In the interview above, Kevin says:
I cant really help but take a look back as well to try and assess what’s sort of going on in the scene because when DMZ had its first anniversary, when it moved upstairs, that night was a turning point for me and not just a positive one. Its great for Mala and its great for Digital Mystikz for all the hard work they’ve put in these past three years but for me, at that night, suddenly the audience seemed more like a drum n bass audience, it seemed more white, it seemed more male, the formula seemed to be almost there then so that was the first night I really noticed there was emerging a really strong formula like in drum n bass, like all the tracks were starting to sound a bit like Coki or Skream. And Skream also that night was rewinding every track which i thought, well the crowd weren’t even generating so much interest for him to do that, so it seemed like a lot of hype and an audience that I thought were maybe a little too closed.
Bristol dubstep documentary trailer
…but it’s true: scenes need anthems, they just shouldn’t become formulas. (I’ve enjoyed watching Team Shadetek’s Brooklyn Anthem become itself, a Brooklyn anthem! – even the crowd up in Denmark knew it when i dropped Ghis’s rmx last Friday).
You can think about Risky Roadz as grime’s Pyrrhic victory in translating itself across media. It is much better at being itself on YouTube then dubstep is (massive physical bass weight doesn’t translate across YouTube clips; instead dstep vids give us people explaining what we’re missing). But grime videos’ success at, well, being grimy means a lot of shouting, a lot of confusion & swears, angry artistic city kids, no voice-over or talking-head explanation since there’s no assumption of curious outsiders looking in who should be catered to or created…
Risky Roadz freestyle clips
but who cares about dialectic when we’ve got this?
on my radio show tonite. (“but i saw you walking thru Ciutat Vella with Filastine!”)
(last weeks show, my first, with a heavyweight live set by Drop The Lime is streamable as mp3 or realaudio here.)
official version of tonite: “London dubstep producer Shackleton of the Skull Disco label visits with DJ Rupture on Wednesday evening at 7 PM to talk about drum programming, dancing with the dead, sufi Islam as expressed via Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and how everything changed when minimal techno demi-god Ricardo Villalobos offered to remix Shackleton’s epic track about the twin towers.”
ok. Junior Reid mixtape excerpts coming soon! (this is what i was trying to do before everything fell apart)
Binyavanga Wainaina! (on, among other things, Negroponte’s 100-dollar laptops “for the whole brown world”, Binyavanga first muddied up here.)
When free American maize turned up in Kenyan schools in 1984, thanks to Bob Geldof and USA for Africa, it arrived in gunny bags and presented itself at school dining tables: steaming yellow, not white like the maize-flour we knew as a staple. We had heard that this food was coming. We had heard that people were starving to death – only a few miles away from us, in fact, over the border. But even that was “out there.” We were all hearing on the radio this song by big celebrities about the starving people in Africa. We were singing these songs, as well – thrilled that we, too, could feel mushy about people in Africa. We saw the sacks unloaded. But they were silent. So we started to speculate. I must confess that I hated school food, anyway, and that yellow maize porridge tasted not that much worse than everything else we were forced to eat. But our speculation was powerful. It is American animal feed. And it started tasting a bit too earthy. It has been treated with contraceptive chemicals. And it started to taste metallic. It was sent to us because it has gone bad already. And it started to smell funny.
Soon, in the Njoro High School dining hall, vast amounts of yellow porridge went directly into the bins. Our teachers, normally violent fascists in matters of discipline, looked the other way. We had food fights with the porridge every evening, and the floor would be littered with the clumpy remnants of America’s love.
Tomorrow, Saturday Feb 24th, I’m hosting the ‘listener hour’ at WFMU, 9-10am. Streaming. Matt Shadetek (of Team Shadetek) will be the special guest, playing us some exclusive productions & chatting about his new album on Sound Ink, transatlantic bass shipments, and (if we’re lucky) what’s up with that Homeland Insecurity cop footage at the end of Shadetek’s fun & powerful future-now rockers video. check it — Brooklyn Anthem ft. 77Klash & Jah Dan:
I’ll be muddying up the airwaves with some dubstep & DMZ ruffage in anticipation of Dave Q’s DubWar party at Tonic happening later that day – he’s brought over Mala (Digital Mystikz) & Loefah.