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Dubstep Has Been Quietly Killing It This Year

September 22, 2015Ben Carvalho

2015’s been a strange one: EDM’s corpse is thoroughly decayed even though no one’s got around to writing an obituary, “future bass” is a flaccid mess of bandwagon-ers, and your friend who wouldn’t shut up about deep house last year just imported a BBK shirt. The only time dubstep seems to get mentioned is shitty blogs trying to make ad revenue from pretend “dubstep is dead” scandals (Here Are 10 Brostep Tracks That Prove Dubstep Isn’t Dead [#8 Will Amaze You Because It’s Actually Drumstep]).

Dubstep is doing great however, in that nice stable niche good genres inhabit after they blow up. In fact, 2015 has seen a glut of creative, quality 140bpm releases. Since I couldn’t stand to read, let alone write, another long-winded think piece on dubstep, let’s get straight to the music. Here’s a round-up of the essentials, feel free to comment with your favorites as well.

*special mention to Eva808 and Egoless, they’re not listed below, but both are doing serious damage this year.

Commodo, Gantz & Kahn – Volume 1
These three have been the holy trinity of dubstep the past few years, so combine them on the flagship Deep Medi label and you’ve got all the hype the genre can manage. The entire release is quality, with the highlight being long-awaited “Crystal Collect”. Between the intoxicating delay on the intro, the sub-aquatic wobble of the bass in the first drop, and the grinding melody of the second, this is one of the best tracks of the year regardless of genre. On repeat listens, pay special attention to the interplay of the stuttering hi hat and wet clap, every detail is pristine with these three.

Karma – Heal/Rumble Fish/Flee In The Fog
Karma’s ascended to a whole new plane of weirdness with this release. “Heal” is an absolute monster; the tough bassline and supernatural oscillations can melt even the staunchest psyche into a whimpering puddle. Elsewhere “Rumble Fish” is a mechanical monster in the tradition of Goth-Trad; galloping low end and ticking percussion surge forward like a runaway train, always threatening to rip free of its tracks.

Piezo – Antelope Swing EP
One of my favorite dubstep producers, Piezo has flown under the radar but delivers masterful material. Both “Antelope Swing” and “Blaster” are long-awaited tracks from him, but the surprise highlight is “Happy Blue”. No matter how you dance to this joyful stepper, there’s always a clap, snap or wobble to validate your flailing. While you’re at it, check Piezo’s mix for Subaltern and recent EP on Artikal.

Sub Basics – Vapour / Orbit / Elixir
I hadn’t heard of Sub Basics before his release on Visceral Vibrations, but this EP rivals anything the big names on this list have put out. The swelling vibrations of “Orbit”, the paranoid yet beautiful evolution of “Elixir”, the deep sea futurism of “Vapour”; these are tracks best listened to with eyes closed and gravity suspended.

LAS & Mikael – The Outlaw EP
Innamind Recording‘s golden boys can do no wrong. Every release either of these weirdos drop is a must-buy. They keep doing things that just shouldn’t work, yet turn out marvelously. A fermented brew of Mala‘s spacious haunted dub, Hessle‘s clattering genre-jumping, and Peter Fonda’s cold, dead stare; The Outlaw EP is the strangest concoction this side of the Rio Grande. “Key” and “Shut” are the highlights, also be sure to peep LAS’s brilliant new mix for Innamind/Blacklist.

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