Author Archive: Bill Bearden

LWE Interviews Mary Anne Hobbs

Having hosted the experimental new music show on the BBC’s Radio 1 for over ten years, Mary Anne Hobbs knows her stuff. She wants to know what else is out there, and she wants to share it with you. She is arguably the person who turned the world on to dubstep, in the early hours of January 10th 2006 on a very special Breezeblock entitled Dubstep Warz. Since then, she put together two eclectic compilations for Planet Mu (Warrior Dubz in 2006 and Evangeline in 2008) and is about to release a third called Wild Angels. LWE caught up with MAH a couple weeks before her 10-date American tour in support of that record. We spoke to her about the rise in popularity of dubstep and her experiences as a BBC broadcaster and globetrotting DJ.

Zomby, One Foot Ahead Of The Other

Built entirely using an Atari synthesizer, a vintage drum machine, a handful of rhythmic themes, and few effects, “One Foot Ahead Of The Other” is Zomby’s crisp new nine track EP for Ramp Recordings. At times samey and formulaic, it makes heavy use of arpeggios and triplets, and is generally more playful than the producer’s previous weeded up material. One might hear this and think “video game music,” but like Quarta 330′s remix of Kode9′s “9 Samurai” it plays like a statement of what’s possible despite such limiting retro tools. The title track, for example, combines pleasant 8-bit sounds with a great 2-step beat ala USL’s “Making Love.” The understated sub-bass is a bit of a letdown, but allows the musical ideas their primacy.

Mount Kimbie, Sketch On Glass

“Sketch On Glass” is the highly anticipated second release by Mount Kimbie, following their highly rated “Maybes” EP from earlier this year, also on Scuba’s Hotflush Recordings. These guys are in the zone! Pioneering a catchy brand of light-as-air, deep-as-the-ocean, feel-good dubstep, here they offer us four more superb tracks.

Current Value & Rodell, Sparse Land EP

Much is made of tempo as it relates to time feel in the world of drum & bass and dubstep. When producers of the former try their hand at the latter, it sometimes lacks the genuine feel so essential to a good composition. With Sparse Land, Tim Hielscher (aka Current Value) and Dean Rodell deliver mixed results on an EP that combines the two genres with a touch of hard techno. This very combination is the idea behind Subtrakt, the Austrian label co-owned by Rodell.

Various Artists, Tectonic Plates Vol. 2

As I loaded Tectonic Plates Vol. 2 into my playlist, the artists who appeared one by one were a “who’s who” of dubstep producers who have made waves and splashes in the scene this year. Joker’s inclusion immediately caught my attention, and may do so for many people because of his recent Hyperdub debut. Also gracing the tracklist are heavyweights Benga and Skream, as well as a couple of LWE favorites, 2562 and Martyn kicking things off. Rounding out the compilation are then Flying Lotus, Moving Ninja, Peverlelist, Shed, and RSD. Last but not least and the one who facilitated this impressive lineup is Pinch, whose Tectonic label the compilation appears on.

Kromestar, Alien

Over the past few years Kromestar has emerged as one of London’s most prolific and creative dubstep producers. Real name R. Kalsi, he also goes by Iron Soul when making grime and Droid for a kind of hybrid sound. Using a sonic palette similar to last summer’s “Attenshun,” he channels Lil’ Jon and bangs out another crunkstep classic with the release of “Alien.” A pumping bass note, as though driven by servos, chugs along under what can only be described as machine gun laser synths.

Caspa & Rusko/Unitz, License to Thrill: Part Four

[Dub Police] Individually known for wrecking decks and blowing subs with some of the largest bass lines mankind has yet encountered, Gary McCann and Chris Mercer (Caspa and Rusko, respectively) team up to create something surprisingly soulful. Absent are the usual big drops, vulgar movie samples, and even the wobble. Instead, a slightly acidic synth […]

Joker/2000F & J Kamata, Digidesign

[Hyperdub] Joker, as his name perhaps suggests, is not one to take his productions to seriously. His tracks tend to be brash and rude, and they shun emotion like it’s a man in a collar at a dubstep rave. It’s hard to ignore the attitude of adolescent rebellion hat infects Joker tracks. When he and […]

Toastyboy, On Something/You’re Special

[Halo Beats] Having been on dub for ages, “On Something” has finally been released on Slaughter Mob’s Halo Beats label. For Damien Russell, aka Toastyboy or Toasty, it’s a departure from his signature style of breaks-influenced dubstep. Unlike earlier productions for Hotflush, Destructive, and Storming, this one doesn’t rely on sampled snares and cold synths, […]

2562, Embrace/Hijack

[3024] Yes! Another tune that puts the step back in dubstep and this one is exquisite. “Embrace/Hijack” is the latest left turn by Dave Huismans, aka 2562, whose alias is derived from the area code where he lives in The Hague. After a handful of singles and a full length for Tectonic, this latest effort […]

TRG, Decisions

[Tempa] Making his debut on Tempa after catching my ears with refreshingly steppy beats this past year, Cosmin Nicolae, better known as TRG, is pushing the sound forward by going way back in time. Many will compare the 2-step rhythms and ambient stabs to Burial, but a better reference point would be Horsepower Productions’ 2000-2002 […]

Starkey, Ephemeral Exhibits

Art by John Baizley [Planet Mu] In this era of laptop production and file sharing, a genre that once thrived on limited white labels and expensive dubplates was bound to be pushed forward by outsiders. Once only heard in a few south London clubs and on pirate radio, dubstep is now a global phenomenon. You […]