Dubstep Heroes, and A Burial


For many dubstep is a word that means little, maybe the glimmer is there and there is an understanding that it is one of dub’s children, perhaps as a relative of techno or dance music. In any case, it is my favorite tribe at the moment and this year’s joy has been the inspiration of this surprising scene. I have found a lot of artists and songs in the genre that I really like and the rise of dubstep has been mirrored by its exposure within the DJ scene. Already, the style of the sound is percolating up to the pop level and my inclination is to believe that it will continue. Some of my favorite albums this year have been from the bass-crushing vaults of the scene’s pioneers, like Skream or Caspa; but my favorite has to be the New album from Burial, Untrue. But, as I said dubstep may be new for you so here is a primer…

Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music which has its roots in London’s early 2000s UK garage scene. The genre’s name was coined by Ammunition Promotions. Musically, dubstep is distinguished by its dark mood, sparse rhythms, and emphasis on bass. Dubstep started to spread beyond small local scenes in late 2005 and early 2006, with many blogs and forums devoted to the genre appearing on the Internet. Simultaneously, the genre was receiving extensive coverage in music magazines such as The Wire and online publications such as Pitchfork Media.

Interest in dubstep grew further after BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs began championing the genre, devoting a show to it entitled “Dubstep Warz”, in January 2006. By October 2006, the genre was being covered in the UK national press, where the Daily Telegraph wrote of “the latest development in British dance music… yet another sound stemming from London’s garage scene, a bass-heavy instrumental form rather confusingly known as Dubstep.” But the, we should let the scene speak for itself…

Really, it’s some interesting stuff, and if you want to find out some of its intricacies click here. And this is a video for one of the genre’s defining songs “Midnight Request Line” by an artist named Skream.

In any case the point of my diatribe is to talk about one other of the genre’s pioneers, Burial. Yep, Burial. And there is also a proper review of him in a recent Pitchfork review which you can access here for brevity’s sake. The album is not pop by any stretch of the imagination but it has a minimal, ambient quality that gives a cinematic veneer of mystery. The beats are there by not being there, making your mind fill in the gaps of anticipated rhythm…it’s very bumpy, glitchy in spots but it flows. Let’s get down to the more pressing issue of what all this sounds like for you.

Here is an educational (though boring visually) video for a song called “Unite” by Burial from an awesome

set of compilations on Soul Jazz Records right now called Box Of Dub…


And here is that video…


2 Responses

  1. Cool stuff! I never heard the word dubstep but one artist that I have been listening for a while now is “Sofa Surfers” and they work a lot in that sound, mixing reggea beats with electronic effects, and lounge style music.
    Great stuff.

  2. Sofa Surfers are not dubstep b/c dubstep wasn’t quite going then but their sound is similar and I wouldn’t hesitate to put them in a set of dubstep. Good call Emelio.

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