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Spike’s What Is Dubstep?

Hit the Floor lesson of the day:
So what exactly is Dubstep??

We all remember the success of the ‘Rage Against the Machine for Christmas #1′ facebook campaign last year and inevitably hundreds of new facebook fan pages popped up ‘lets get our shonkey track blah to number one too’…

One that caught my eye this week – ‘Lets get a Dubstep tune in the UK top 10!‘ I thought I would share this with you.

Hit the Floor Lesson Of The Day – So What Exactly Is Dubstep?

Well, in case you’ve spent the last couple years listening solely to Local FM or with your head stuck in a gurning circle (?) and have no idea what this genre of electronic music sounds like, I will try to explain.

In a bar of 4/4 music, there are four beats per bar. Most of us have at least tried to play a musical instrument at some point in our lives (even if it was just the triangle in Primary School) so this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

House or Trance tracks will usually be produced at around 100 to 130 bpm and have four kicks – one landing on each of the four beats, also known as ‘four to the floor‘. This may be accompanied for example in electro house or UK Garage by a snare drum on beats two and four.

Dubstep usually has a tempo of around 130 to 150bpm, however the drum side of the track is reduced to only one or two kicks and one snare per bar, landing on beats one and three respectively.

In contrast to the slow trudging pace of the drum and percussion, the base and sub-bass lines will tend to be hectic with fast key changes following the four beats of each bar. This leaves audiences in a state of confusion, some trying to dance in time to the drums and others trying to dance in time to the bass lines.

Further to the characteristics of your modern dubstep track, the use of minor keys and shrill synths give the genre a dark or sinister sound, inflicting the already confused audience with the feeling that the producers and DJs are secretly trying to liquidise them from the inside out, just using the power of high amplitude, low frequency audio waves emitted from large sound systems contained within small clubs..

Dubstep has been around for over ten years now, but has certainly increased in popularity over the last 18 months or so, possibly due to the main stream success with producers such as Chase & Status or Rusko. Originally a sub genre of the UK 2-step Garage scene, but now tends to lend itself more to mixing with Drum n Bass you will also notice samples of other music or quotes from films and media are relied on heavily.

So back to the facebook page.. Reading through the comments you will see there is a lot of arguing going on, half the members of the group saying ‘yes, lets get dubstep in the UK charts‘ and the other half saying ‘no keep it underground or else it will become manufactured cheese‘. My personal view is that it has taken off in such a big way recently we will almost certainly be listening to dubstep in the charts one day, so why not let an underground producer claim his 10 minutes of glory before somebody else does?

So then the link to the facebook page;
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=108794932492115&ref=ts#!/group.php?gid=108794932492115
However I am not begging you all to join, you can make that decision yourselves. Really I just wanted to take the oppotunity to share a few dubstep tracks with you

Nero – Innocence which is the track the facebook group would like to see in the UK top 10

Mr Postman by Cragga, Sampling The Marvelettes

You may recognise the sample from ‘The Business

The Prodigy – Breathe

Chase & Status – Running starts off as an electro house track then switches to dubstep one minute in, without changing tempo it demonstrates perfectly my explanative dribble above (is explanative even a word??), anyway its a very good track imo

Hope you found this useful..

Spike x

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