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.
I think we can pretty much all agree that when we’re talking about dubstep these days, we’re only nominally talking about dubstep. Like the theorized supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, that anemic, bass-powered sound of South London constituting dubstep in the strictest sense keeps a nearly infinite cosmic soup of highly disparate sounds in constant motion without registering much of a blip on its own. High-profile podcasts like The Village Orchestra’s “Blank Page” mix (moving from Boards of Canada to Zomby to Drexciya) and mnml ssgs’s recent SCB mix (in which Paul “Scuba” Rose finds parity between headfucker Donato Dozzy and funky drummer Roska) ostensibly rep dubstep in 2009 as much as DJ Hatcha’s “Dubstep Allstars: Vol. 01″ mix comp did in 2004. It’s not uncommon in dance music for the signifier to lose its signified (see: minimal techno), but it’s perhaps rare for a genre or sub-genre to improve as its title becomes diluted to the point of possible meaninglessness. While the line between Horsepower Productions and the Hotflush roster might not be yardstick-straight, but how brilliant is it that such a line exists in the first place?
After notching up a slew of killer cuts last year and an equally impressive array of remixes, ears have been pricked in anticipation of Martyn’s full length debut. Originally a drum and bass producer, it seems the Dutchman (real name Martijn Deykers) has all but defected to dubstep, rapidly cultivating himself a sterling reputation over the last year and a half for his impeccably turned out sound. Alongside Romanian peer TRG, Martyn’s productions map some of the most easily assailable crossover points between the dubstep and techno divide. Typically more clubby than the likes of Shackleton and Pangaea, yet no where near the raved up wonk of pundits like Skream, Benga et al., Martyn has managed to forge himself a neat little niche in the dubstep realm.
[~scape] While compilations by Soul Jazz and Skream have highlighted the rude bwoy and raved up ends of the dubstep oeuvre respectively, the Round Black Ghosts compilations have become the touchstone of the more subtle, techno influenced fare. Any discerning fan of the artists and the sound on display here will most likely already have […]
[Ramp Recordings] Zomby sees himself as part of the undead but with a taste for skunk weed instead of flesh. He is a resolutely anonymous producer whose publicity photo has few clues into his identity: he wears white gloves and a mask of the all-seeing eye of providence. Zomby’s been banned from dubstep forums, infamous […]
[Tempa] I have to admit that it took me a while to warm to dubstep. The spare hypnotics of Shackleton and the inimitable, tinder dry soundscapes sculpted by Burial immediately appealed but then their interpretations on the medium are truly unique. It wasn’t until hearing the likes of TRG and Martyn that I opened up […]