It’s tunes like this that remind me of why I got into dubstep in the first place. Where the dub element is foremost in the mix, brought to life with the electrifying kicks and snares that put the ‘step’ right into it. It’s been said many times, not least on these pages, that the genre really lost its way when its sound system roots got washed away in a sea of mid-range, wobble “bass” lines, mainly, but not exclusively, emanating from the other side of the pond. I once read a blog that attempted to explain the history of dubstep and proclaimed there to be two main versions; one that emerged from hip hop and the other out of metal. I shit you not. The web of course is full of discussions on the topic . Whenever a dread-heavy sound system roller is posted online, a standard bearer will come along, stick his rastafari flag in the ground and tell all the Skrillex fans to fuck off. Many will take offence and one of the more cerebral users will say something like”come on man, everyone has different tastes, genres always evolve, it would be a pretty boring world if we all listened to the same thing etc etc” Which is true of course. Just don’t call it dubstep. Cos the name is not a fucking coincidence, the clue is in the title.
Rant over. Tune above is taken from the Greensleeves Dubstep Chapter 1 compilation and contains more than its fair share of almighty tunes, taking its cues as much from dancehall as dub, with vocal cuts from some of the finest deejays of the 80s such as Yellowman, Barrington Levy and Admiral Bailey, as well as more recent stars like Gyptian. Remixes come courtesy of pioneers like Mala, Kromestar, LD and Coki. V.I.V.E.K.’s take on the Johnny Osbourne classic Fally Ranking is spectacular but nothing in my opinion comes close to the TMSV tune above, with its mix of ground-shaking bass, mournful instrumentation and soulful, soaring vocals. It’s been played a lot in recent weeks by DJ Crises whose immense show on Rinse fm every Tuesday is an absolute must for anyone into this kind of vibe.