Badly thought out way to get the bad thoughts out.
Friday, 12 September 2008
Glass Half Full
Half-step has a pretty bad reputation in some circles nowadays - nothing says 'stick a boring robo-belch on top of this and roll it out for six minutes' like a snare on the third - but in 2005, Skream and Loefah (and others) were making some of the baddest tunes in the world using that beat, and Youngsta was constructing some of the baddest mixes in the world using those tunes. There's something about the tunes in this set which makes them very much 'the 1' for me - they're minimal without being boring, raw without being underproduced, dark but enjoyable, aggressive but danceable... and the half-step beats here aren't rigid rhythmic approximations of the perennial anti-dubstep slur of ''it's just DNB slowed down''. They've got funk, and swing, and (a stoned) SWAGGER.
This is the perfect music for a DJ like Youngsta to mix, too. There's enough space in it for those clinical beatmatching skills to really shine, and for two tunes to be kept in a perfectly balanced mix for minutes at a time, sparse sound effects and samples held floating above the bass, playing off against each other... Whoops - but you've got to gush when you hear this (watch out for the b beat-juggling).
I saw Appleblim and the Mystikz at Bestival last weekend, and the beats are pretty all over the place now, with the emphasis on percussive kick-drum led drive - which is a good thing, obviously. Progression is IM POR TANT (in those capitals, too). But to me, probably just because I got into dubstep early in 2006 when a lot of the tunes in this set were just coming out, this is about as dubstep as dubstep ever has sounded, and probably as dubstep as dubstep WILL ever sound.