This morning a good friend of mine decided to send me a fake article that pokes fun at Skrillex "dropping" his groceries. The article, obviously fake, made me chuckle but also made me realize something. Sonny Moore has killed dubstep.
Before Skrillex came along Dubstep was a relatively unknown genre of music that inhabited the UK underground. It began as a bassy cousin to the house-party favorite genre of Drum & Bass, or DnB, and has now evolved into a Grammy nominated monster that has overgrown its own fan base. Fans of Dubstep today are relatively unfamiliar with the artists that brought Dubstep to the forefront.
This will hopefully educate the "band-wagoner" dubstep fans, and serve as an essential list for those of you that want to know what Dubstep was all about before it was perverted by MTV and corporate music.
As you can tell with this early track from 2000, bass still played a huge part in Dubstep music. It is however, not the main feature. This is Horsepower Productions a small electronic duo that experimented with electronic music. This is when Dubstep was still an experimental style of electronic music. You can hear the DnB influences. In fact if you listen to songs like Lets Dance you can really hear the drum sounds that are prominently featured like in this track.
In this track from 2001, Darquan brings in heavier bass and features it prominently. Its still very fluid and requires less modulation than tracks that we are used to today. This just feels like a smarter, more concise track. The samples arn't over-used and the beat behind the bass is almost hypnotic.
Benga was introduced in 2002 and this is the track that did it. Skank has bass on top of bass. This is also an early introduction to bass modulation. It is less in your face and more of a "in the background" type beat. When listening to older tracks like this you kind of get the idea that Dubstep began as music to "chill-out" to.
FreQ Nasty released this high energy party track in 2003. It shows the party roots of Dubstep, complete with tasty bass and a cheering crowd that is certain to get any crowd on their feet. The chorus is catchy and inviting. This is "Dubstep" that your parents can get into.
2003 also saw the release of Benga and Skream collaborating with each other on The Judgement. This is a massive track that definitely has roots leading to the Dubstep artists of today. Benga & Skream are responsible for most of the huge party tracks of early Dubstep. This is just one of them. Listen to the early wobbles here and get an idea of what Dubstep is supposed to be like.
Tune in later this week for part 2.