Posted by: martinworster | August 13, 2009


Dubstep – or versions of it – was being made back in the mid to late 90s. Although you wouldn’t think it, given the current hyping of the scene in the music magazines and in clubs all over the world. There’s even a ‘dubstep’ night here in Orange County. The late 90s dubstep was an offshoot of the UK garage and 2 step scenes – which themselves had emerged from speed garage and jungle music. Okay – so I’m getting lost in an anorak of obscure musical sub genres, a maze of interconnected and sprouting categories and compartments. 


My point is that lazy music journalists and DJs are always over eager to jump on the next big thing and give it a name and undue hype – to something that has, in this case, been around for ten years. There’s nothing new with that, that’s what music journalists and DJs do. Dubstep is okay – I like some of it. I’m probably showing my age, but it gets a bit repetitive after a while. I like the reggae squelchy basslines, clanking two step beats, sci fi samples, basic synth arpeggios and the general air of urban melancholy and post apocalyptic decay it emanates. It reminds me of driving around London, listening to pirate radio stations post rave, the city humming. Burials album was perfect at capturing that – a hazy, lost it’s marbles, lonely beauty.


I just saw that Soul Jazz have issued the works of the Ragga Twins as a deluxe double CD vinyl with extensive liner notes. I also hear the current trendy dance music referencing early 90s hardcore and rave sounds. Indeed some of it is such an accurate pastiche that it sounds like it was from the early 90s. It was a music at the time that was very much looked down upon by the music press. There was a certain air of snobbery, that hardcore was an inferior type of music solely for urban youth to take ecstacy to. Which it was. But with the benefit of hindsight, the impact and importance of the music and attitude has really proved itself and shows that everything, particularly, fashion is cyclical. It’s impossible to be original these days. 


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