Sach O sticks to the ancient ways.
Last night, Plastician tweeted that he’s pretty sure that Dubstep is bigger in America than it is in the UK. Cue the righteous anger. Still, it’s impossible to deny that the word has gained more traction in the U.S than any electronic music genre in recent memory, capturing the hearts of a generation more or less ignored by both the mainstream music industry and the not-quite-alternative rock press. At the end of the day, I’m rather ambiguous about the whole scene: I’m not a fan of raging bros, DeadMau5 or drug casualties but a rising tide lifts all ships and if the popularity of Brostep raves means I get to catch Zed Bias & Ramadanman on the same night, works for me.
It’s interesting to note however, that the original artists behind the once-underground sound are still as mysterious as ever. Burial has just emerged from a 4 year hiatus sounding as brilliant and inimitable as ever. Mala and Coki still only drop 90% of their releases on wax only – and only release 10% of the dubs they play out. I still don’t know who Zomby is. Kode9 will give a hearty, loquacious interview but getting his picture’s like pulling hen’s teeth. Dubstep may have blown up, but the original band of musical outliers behind it remain as ethereal as ever, rock stars Skream & Benga aside. Maybe that’s why that despite the glut of careless material floating around the internet, this new Pinch single still sounds so amazing. The A-Side with Loefah (his first release in 3 years!) is pure dread, the sort of amplified menace and physical force that will crush any rah-rah competitor in seconds. The B-Side with UKFunky don Roska is a percussive roller that plays ping-pong with your synapses before a singular wave of low end knocks you out. Pardon the overwrought descriptions but it’s an amazing record that merits close scrutiny from listeners of all stripes. Musicians and musical scenes often wither under the harsh light of mainstream attention and it takes a special sort of artist to walk away from the money, the girls and the fame. It’s worth taking the time to recognize that Burial isn’t the only one in Dubstep who’s taken the untrodden path and emerged all the better for it.