Dubstep: The cream of the crop
Dubstep has seen better days on Rinse, as London’s sound of choice has found itself out of favor amongst listeners dissuaded by the anti-cool factor that comes with being America’s soundtrack to take drugs to. Nevertheless, while the lineup of DJs dropping Dubstep in 2013 is on the short side, that just means that those left pushing the sound are the last men standing, popular and relevant enough to survive the station’s many purges.
First up, the legendary Youngsta alongside MC Toast holds down Minimal Mondays – 2 hours dedicated to a frosty, dungeon sound beloved by purists and perfect to soundtrack solitary walks across a city. It’s the single best place to hear new material from the genre’s original dons. On the other end of the spectrum, N-Type’s Tuesday night show keeps things high-energy with monstrous basslines that bring the heat without ever dipping into self-parody. It’s also a hilarious time with N-Type’s one of a kind adlibs coloring the proceedings – think a cockney carnival barker gone rave presenter. Finally, personal favorite Plastician covers the entire spectrum on his show, from darker more minimal material to American noise to slinky Garage and even MC-led material that dips into Grime. It’s a tendency that stretches across the spectrum these days, with even Youngsta and N-Type throwing in minimal drum & bass and Trap music into their mixes. While it doesn’t necessarily bold well for the genre’s health, it does make for interesting listening. Personally, I just want them to bring back Antisocial Entertainment – I miss that crew.
Bass Music: Clans, Posses, Crews and Cliques
If Rinse has gone light on Dubstep proper, the station still shows a healthy support for the still amorphous (and awkwardly named) Bass Music scene that’s since emerged from it. More House inflected and less prone to skulking darkness, these timeslots mostly showcase the independent labels that have pushed the London sound forward over the past few years. Hyperdub, Hessle Audio and Night Slugs are all represented monthly, with DJs Scratcha DVA, Pearson Sound & Ben UFO and Bok Bok & L-Vis1990 handling duties for their respective squad. Each show is fairly eclectic and there’s no exact guarantee on what you’ll get on any given week but expect a mix of classics and forthcoming releases reflecting each label’s output. Perhaps the best of the bunch is the oft underrated Keysound show with Dusk and Blackdown which avoids cratedigger territory in favor of strictly new and upfront material from up and coming producers. Over the past years they’ve broken talent such as Wen, Visionist, Beneath, Kowloon, Double Helix, Amen Ra and more, and they remain the best place to hear the next big thing in dark, underground music – without they hype.
Finally, while crews and cliques dominate this scene, the undisputed king of the hill is undoubtedly DJ Oneman and his MC Asbo, whose rollicking pirate radio session combines the absolute best of contemporary Hip-Hop and House with classic Garage, Grime and Dubstep. Arguably the best DJ working in the world today, Oneman’s weekly showcase is the place to hear absolutely perfect mixing alongside and always vibing selection of tunes. Rinse mainstay and noted producer Brackles rounds out the lineup.
Daily shows and Oddballs
Finally, some of Rinse’s shows just don’t fit in quite anywhere, holding singular spots on the label. The absolute best of these? Undoubtedly The Heatwave’s weekly Dancehall-Bashment showcase, a show guaranteed to have you smiling if not skanking thanks to Gabriel Heatwave’s up-to-the-minute selection and MC Benjamin D’s hyperactive commentary. It’s easily the best reason to stay up late on a Sunday night and if you’ve got a few more hours to kill, The Norwood Soul Patrol’s 3AM-5AM shift will hold you down with classic 60s-80s cuts straight off the wax. A freeform counterpart to Loefah’s dance oriented spot, The Soul Patrol features his Swamp81 crew dabbling in classic soul-through-House with selection of rare groove fitting comfortably in between Madlib mixtapes and Quentin Tarantino soundtracks. For those who prefer their beats strictly drum-machine-free, Donald Mack’s Tuesday night show delivers 100% Funk and Reggae every week and Alexander Nut’s Eglo showcase keeps things downtempo and up to the minute.
On the flip side, The Clairvoyants are anything but organic, and their Saturday night Graveyard shift is an instant soundtrack to any house party, provided your house party enjoys the dark side of contemporary tempo. The Wire fans take note: Idris “Stringer Bell” Elba has been known to make regular guest appearances on the show. New recruit Lily Mercer does the same for contemporary Hip-Hop (with a backpack bent) every other Friday. Finally, while it’d be kind of weird to listen to another city’s drivetime shows, The Breakfast Club and Drive Time with Julie hold down daily morning and afternoon spots, and feature laughs alongside more pop oriented music. But jeez, you’re telling me you’ve gone through ALL the other shows I mentioned?