Friday, November 07, 2008

Dubstep - Split Into Fractions?

One topic discussed within Germany's Dubstep-scene these days is the question whether it's good and healthy or not to name different sub-genres and directions within the musically wide ranged sound that is called Dubstep today. Despite the fact that world scenes leading figures as Mary-Anne Hobbs or Paul Scuba still proclaim that "everything around 140 bpm and with a bad-ass bassline" might fit into the name of Dubstep I think that these days the genre of Dubstep has come to a point where it's impossible to squeeze all different sub-styles into one set anymore, we're not talking about a whole night set here, and the musical differences and gaps between the likes of e.g. Shackleton, Martyn and Skream have developed up to a point that, apart from approx. 140 bpm and a big bassline, they've not very much in common no more so we - or the artists themselves - should name what we hear. Having different names / sub-genres under one roof that still could be called Dubstep must not necessarily lead to a total segregation and seperation or, which is the worst case scenario a few afraid are talking about recently, a total split of the scene - this is what we've learned from genres as Drum'n'Bass where different genres as Liquid or TechStep or Clownstep or whatever are still accepted as a part of the whole and although there are people that do only listen to one specific sub-style of Drum'n'Bass as there are such in Dubstep as well this is not caused by names for sub-genres but by personal preferences.
In today's Dubstep we see mystical and ancient music influences as it goes for Shackleton and his specific MythStep sound, we see influences of Detroit Techno as in Martyn's tunes, rave & wobble all over as well as pure Reggae / Steppers-influenced tunes, some Post UK Garage-beats as delivered by TRG, more Electronica-like stuff as Burial and the whole Hyperdub-camp and lately some bootlegs with a slightly commercial and party banging background that make Dubstep more accessible to those who haven't hopped on the bandwagon until now - we saw that latest development in UK Garage, BigBeat or Drum'n'Bass before and realized it is a kind of natural progression that happens along the way.
Taking all these different influences and sounds and realizing that there are enough releases on the circuit so that everyone is able to listen to "his" or "her" preferred Dubstep vision without denying that it is Dubstep at all talking about different styles or sub-genres will not destroy any scene or doing no harm to what those being afraid want to protect. It will still be one scene, one movement, one whatever - one scene that has started from scratch and built a blossoming family tree of different styles that are - hopefully - leading to something new and unheard. This sound to come might not match with those who've been around Dubstep from day one - this goes for myself as well as I'm mainly bored of today's releases compared to the excitement of late 2003 and 2004 - but that's natural as well and as genres or styles develop into the future there are always people that come and people that go away. This hasn't killed Techno, it hasn't killed Drum'n'Bass and it won't kill Dubstep as well.


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