Written by: Jacob Kleinman
You’re living in the Dubstep decade and you may not even realize it yet. This rising music genre can be traced back to the dank underground clubs of south London at the end of the 20th century, but has only taken root in American youth culture in the last few years. Leading the charge is Sonny John Moore, better known by his stage name Skrillex, a California-born music producer who is as well known for his bizarre haircut and stage spectacle as he is for his music.
Dubstep has no instruments in the classic sense. Instead the studio itself becomes an instrument. Allmusic.com defines the genre as “tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals.” On urbandictionary.com you can find more creative definitions that give a better sense of the aural experience; Dubstep is “the music that is created from Transformers having sex,” according to one Urban Dictionary user.
The earliest versions of Dubstep were dark and experimental, but what has translated across the Atlantic Ocean is a futuristic take on electronic dance music that’s heavy on the bass, distortion and occasional high pitched robotic vocals.
Skrillex’s music doesn’t ask you to think or analyze, it just demands that you dance, and his concerts are jam-packed, sweaty dance marathons, which the artist oversees from behind his computer with the occasional fist bump or rapid drag from a cigarette.
On December 17, Skrillex tweeted, “I love miami crowds….super dancey n groovy. I like groovy fings tingz things.” And on the last day of 2011 he wrote, ““Flex your bums it’s your last chance…of 2011 GO!”
Skrillex and his legions seemed poised to consume all in 2012. Each concert is bigger than the last. Each album sells better than the one that preceded it. And each music video gets more hits on YouTube. This is great news for his fans, but if Skrillex’s music gives you a headache the future may be beginning to look bleak.
There is, however, a ray of hope in the overcast sky that is Dubstep, and his name is James Blake, a young British musician who is returning Dubstep to its experimental roots by mixing gospel elements with his own melodic voice and Dubstep studio techniques. In the part two of this article I will go into further detail on Blake, and why he may be the perfect counterbalance to Skrillex.