There’s been a lot of talk lately lamenting the bastardisation of dubstep with many laying the blame for what they consider to be the demise of the genre at the door of a number of North American DJs and producers including the recently titled ‘most hated man in dubstep’ Skrillex. Such is the intensity of this focus on hating the harder, electro edged dubstep, it could be argued that we have failed to give enough attention to the counter insurgence of new and exciting producers who are keeping their output much closer to the genre’s original incarnation.
Therefore, Bare Bass this week is all about highlight what’s good and what’s proper when it comes to the forefront of low-end frequencies. Bristol in the UK is always a good bet when searching out quality dance music – after all, the city has given the world the Bristol Sound through musical pioneers including Massive Attack, Portishead, Roni Size and Tricky amongst others.
Looking at the quality of such musical pedigree, it might not be surprising that Bristolian producer Kahn has been getting props from all the right places for his work on tracks including Like We Used To and Helter Skelter both on the city’s own well respected Punch Drunk record label, as well as the playful hypnotic merry-go-round of bass that is he remix of Alter featuring the beautiful hazy echoes of vocalist Jasmine. Usually a touch more 2 step than others in a lot of his work these days, Kahn also has the arsenal to hit it harder when he chooses.
Such breadth of scope is demonstrated to full effect in the dark and dastardly goings on of Fierce – if you hear this track past 3am on a dance floor and the place doesn’t erupt then grab your jacket and leave.
Another act keeping his distance from the midrange madness is Manchester’s Biome. Similar in style to Kryptic Minds and Kromestar and the sounds pushed by DJs including Rinse FM’s Youngsta, Biome’s productions are deep and dreamy with snarling sinister undertones. The former d’n’b head has mastered that tricky balance of sound vs empty space that makes dubstep so unique and, having stacked up a decent back catalogue of past releases, seems to be now getting the recognition he deserves. Tracks worth seeking out include No Tomorrow, Minus, Space and the epic Propaganda.
Another one who likes to keep his dubstep deeper than Atlantis is Sleeper whose Zombies is heavy enough to put a huge hole in even the most sturdily constructed clubs thanks to an unforgiving bass line and a penetrative shimmering symbol stab and trademark kicks. Although signed to the highly regarded Chestplate imprint, much of Sleepers music remains unreleased so hearing a piece of this Englishman’s work requires a bit of online digging.
Thankfully, Sleeper likes to give stuff away for free so you shouldn’t have to go too far before coming across tracks including Submerged and 2nd Step which the kind bloke has made available for download for nada. There are numerous other acts and artists that deserve a mention in these here pages for showing the dubstep’s evolution doesn’t have to be so linear. Our advice for those who are keen to hear more is to keep your ear to the underground and listen out for that special tremor which signals that dubstep for deep heads is alive and kicking.