Dubstep

by Daniel Everitt

Dubstep

Dubstep rhythms are usually syncopated, and often shuffled or incorporating tuplets. The tempo is nearly always in the range of 138–142 beats per minute, with a clap or snare usually inserted every third beat in a bar. In its early stages, dubstep was often more percussive, with more influences from 2‑step drum patterns. A lot of producers were also experimenting with tribal drum samples, such as Loefah's early release "Truly Dread" and Mala's "Anti-War Dub".


One characteristic of certain strands of dubstep is the wobble bass, often referred to as the "wub", where an extended bass note is manipulated rhythmically. This style of bass is typically produced by using a low-frequency oscillator to manipulate certain parameters of a synthesiser such as volume, distortion or filter cutoff. The resulting sound is a timbre that is punctuated by rhythmic variations in volume, filter cutoff, or distortion. This style of bass is a driving factor in some variations of dubstep, particularly at the more club-friendly end of the spectrum.


Originally, dubstep releases had some structural similarities to other genres like drum and bass and UK garage. Typically this would comprise an intro, a main section (often incorporating a bass drop), a midsection, a second main section similar to the first (often with another drop), and an outro.

Many early dubstep tracks incorporate one or more "bass drops", a characteristic inherited from drum and bass. Typically, the percussion will pause, often reducing the track to silence, and then resume with more intensity, accompanied by a dominant subbass (often passing portamento through an entire octave or more, as in the audio example). It is very common for the bass to drop at or very close to 55 seconds into the song, because 55 seconds is just over 32 measures at the common tempo of 140 bpm. However, this (or the existence of a bass drop in general) is by no means a completely rigid characteristic, rather a trope; a large portion of seminal tunes from producers like Kode9 and Horsepower Productions have more experimental song structures which do not rely on a drop for a dynamic peak – and in some instances do not feature a bass drop at all.




The sound of dubstep originally came out of productions by El-B, Steve Gurley, Oris Jay,and Zed Bias in 1999–2000. Ammunition Promotions, who run the influential club night Forward>> and have managed many proto dubstep record labels (including Tempa, Soulja, Road, Vehicle, Shelflife, Texture, Lifestyle and Bingo), began to use the term "dubstep" to describe this style of music in around 2002. The term's use in a 2002XLR8R cover story (featuring Horsepower Productions on the cover) contributed to it becoming established as the name of the genre.

Forward>> was originally held at the Velvet Rooms in London's Soho and is now running every Thursday at Plastic People in Shoreditch, east London. Founded in 2001, Forward>> was critical to the development of dubstep, providing the first venue devoted to the sound and an environment in which dubstep producers could premier new music. Around this time, Forward>> was also incubating several other strains of dark garage hybrids, so much so that in the early days of the club the coming together of these strains was referred to as the "Forward>> sound". An online flyer from around this time encapsulated the Forward>> sound as "b-lines to make your chest cavity shudder."


Throughout 2003, DJ Hatcha pioneered a new direction for dubstep on Rinse FM and through his sets at Forward>>. Playing sets cut to 10" one-off reggae-style dubplates, he drew exclusively from a pool of new South London producers—first Benga and Skream, then also Digital Mystikz and Loefah—to begin a dark, clipped and minimal new direction in dubstep.

At the end of 2003, running independently from the pioneering FWD night, an event called Filthy Dub, co promoted by Plastician, and partner David Carlisle started happening regularly. It was there that Skream, Benga, N Type, Walsh, Chef, Loefah, and Cyrus made their debuts as DJs. South London collective Digital Mystikz (Mala and Coki), along with labelmates and collaborators Loefah and MC Sgt Pokes soon came into their own, bringing sound system thinking, dub values, and appreciation of jungle bass weight to the dubstep scene. Digital Mystikz brought an expanded palette of sounds and influences to the genre, most prominently reggae and dub, as well as orchestral melodies.

After releasing 12-inch singles on Big Apple, they founded DMZ Records, which has released fourteen 12"s to date. They also began their night DMZ, held every two months in Brixton, a part of London already strongly associated with reggae. DMZ has showcased new dubstep artists such as Skream, Kode 9, Benga, Pinch, DJ Youngsta, Hijak, Joe Nice, and Vex'd. DMZ's first anniversary event (at the Mass venue, a converted church) saw fans attending from places as far away as Sweden, the United States, and Australia, leading to a queue of 600 people at the event.This forced the club to move from its regular 400-capacity space to Mass' main room, an event cited as a pivotal moment in dubstep's history.


In the summer of 2005, Forward>> brought grime DJs to the fore of the line up. Building on the success of Skream's grimey anthem "Midnight Request Line", the hype around the DMZ night and support from online forums (notably dubstepforum.com) and media, the scene gained prominence after former Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs gathered top figures from the scene for one show, entitled "Dubstep Warz", (later releasing the compilation album Warrior Dubz). The show created a new global audience for the scene, after years of exclusively UK underground buzz. Burial's self-titled album appearing in many critics' "Best of ..." lists for the year, notably The Wire's Best Album of 2006. The sound was also featured prominently in the soundtrack for the 2006 sci-fi film Children of Men, which included Digital Mystikz, Random Trio, Kode 9, Pressure and DJ Pinch. Ammunition also released the first retrospective compilation of the 2000–2004 era of dubstep called The Roots of Dubstep, co-compiled by Ammunition and Blackdown on the Tempa Label.

The sound's first North American ambassador, Baltimore DJ Joe Nice helped kickstart its spread into the continent. Regular Dubstep club nights started appearing in cities like New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Montreal, Houston, and Denver, while Mary Anne Hobbs curated a Dubstep showcase at 2007's Sónar festival in Barcelona. Non-British artists have also won praise within the larger Dubstep community The dynamic dubstep scene in Japan is growing quickly despite its cultural and geographical distance from the West. Such DJ/producers as Goth-Trad, Hyaku-mado, Ena and Doppelganger are major figures in the Tokyo scene. Joe Nice has played at DMZ, while the fifth instalment of Tempa's "Dubstep Allstars" mix series (released in 2007) included tracks by Finnish producer Tes La Rok and Americans JuJu and Matty G.







Reference

Dubstep. (2008, June 22). Retrieved June 7, 2013, from Wikipedia website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubstep



Questions

Understanding:


1. What would happen if another "Dubstep Warz" was held?

2. What is the main idea of this article?


Interpretation:


1. What explanation do you have for the success and popularity of Dubstep?

2. Why do you think Dubstep originated in the United Kingdom?


Evaluation:


1. What is your opinion of Dubstep?

2. What choice would you have made is you owned Foreward>>

and were given the opportunity to host Dubstep?


Answers

Understanding:



1. If there was another "Dubstep Warz", I would see about attending such concert, because all the best DJ's n the world would be there.

2. The main idea of this article is the beginning, growth, and development of Dubstep as a new genre of music.


Interpretation:


1. I believe that Dubstep has grown to be so popular globally because of its unique tempo, beat, and drops. Many people would likely be interested if they heard it.

2. I think that Dubstep originated in the United Kingdom because of the popularity of grunge and UK garage in that area, which them developed into the Dubstep that you hear today.


Evaluation:


1. In my opinion, Dubstep is a great genre of music, because of the fact of how unique and catchy the tempo and beats can be.

2. If I owned the production company Foreward>>,

I would definitely go on in the production, of Dubstep, to see its growth and popularity soar over the years.

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