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Sunday, April 6, 2014

#musicproduction: The History of Dubstep

The earliest dubstep releases date back to 1998 and were darker, more experimental, instrumental dub remixes of 2-step garage tracks attempting to incorporate the funky elements of breakbeat, or the dark elements of drum and bass into 2-step, which featured B-sides of single releases.

The term "Dubstep" in reference to a genre of music began to be used by around 2002, by which time stylistic trends used in creating these remixes started to become more noticeable and distinct from 2-step and grime.



Dubstep started to spread beyond small local scenes in late 2005 and early 2006; many websites devoted to the genre appeared on the internet and aided the growth of the scene, such as dubstepforum, the download site Barefiles and blogs such as gutterbreakz.

Interest in dubstep grew significantly after BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs started championing the genre, beginning with a show devoted to it in January 2006.

1999-2002: The sound of dubstep originally came out of productions by El-B, Steve Gurley, Oris Jay, and Zed Bias in 1999-2000.

Ammunition Promotions, who run the influential club Forward>> and have managed many proto dubstep record labels, began to use the term "Dubstep" to describe this style of music in around 2002.

Founded in 2001, Forward>> was critical to the development of dubstep, providing the first venue devoted to the sound and an environment in which dubstep producers could premier new music.

The Mixing Records record shop, formerly Big Apple Records, in Croydon, South London Another crucial element in the early development of dubstep was the Big Apple Records record shop in Croydon.

In an article in The Guardian, Simon Reynolds examined the idea of any links between the recreational use of ketamine, a dissociative drug, and the origins of dubstep, writing that a connection "Would certainly explain a lot", though also conceding "It could all be just rumour".

2002-2005: Dubstep producer Skream, one of the most widely known names on the scene since the beginning of the Dubstep movement Throughout 2003, DJ Hatcha pioneered a new direction for dubstep on Rinse FM and through his sets at Forward>>.

DMZ has showcased new dubstep artists such as Skream, Kode 9, Benga, Pinch, DJ Youngsta, Hijak, Joe Nice and Vex'd.

In 2004, Richard James' label, Rephlex, released two compilations that included dubstep tracks - the Grime and Grime 2.

These compilations helped to raise awareness of dubstep at a time when the grime sound was drawing more attention, and Digital Mystikz and Loefah's presence on the second release contributed to the success of their DMZ club night.

The Independent on Sunday commented on "a whole new sound", at a time when both genres were becoming popular, stating that "Grime" and "Dubstep" were two names for the same style, which was also known as "Sublow", "8-bar" and "Eskibeat".

2005-2008: Dubstep Section at Black Market Records, Soho, London In the summer of 2005, Forward>> brought grime DJs to the fore of the line up.

Building on the success of Skream's grimey anthem "Midnight Request Line," the hype around the DMZ night and support from online forums and media, the scene gained prominence after former Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs gathered top figures from the scene for one show, entitled "Dubstep Warz".

Regular Dubstep club nights started appearing in cities like New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Montreal, Houston, and Denver, while Mary Anne Hobbs curated a Dubstep showcase at 2007's Sónar festival in Barcelona.

Non-British artists have also won praise within the larger Dubstep community.

The dynamic dubstep scene in Japan is growing quickly despite its cultural and geographical distance from the West.

Joe Nice has played at DMZ, while the fifth installment of Tempa's "Dubstep Allstars" mix series included tracks by Finnish producer Tes La Rok and Americans JuJu and Matty G. Following on from Rinse FM's pioneering start; three internet based radio station's called SubFM, DubstepFM and DubTerrain started to play the sound exclusively with 24 hour broadcasting featuring show archives and live DJ shows.

BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs Techno artists and DJs began assimilating dubstep into their sets and productions.

Berlin's Hard Wax record store has also championed Shackleton's Skull Disco label, later broadening its focus to include other dubstep releases.

The summer of 2007 saw dubstep's musical palette expand further, with Benga and Coki scoring a crossover hit with the track "Night", which gained widespread play from DJs in a diverse range of genres.

Much like drum and bass before it, dubstep has started to become incorporated into other media, particularly in the United Kingdom.

In 2007, Benga, Skream, and other dubstep producers provided the soundtrack to much of the second series of Dubplate Drama, which aired on Channel 4 with a soundtrack CD later released on Rinse Recordings.

In the autumn of 2008, a limited pressing 12" called "Iron Devil" was released featuring Lee Scratch Perry and Prince Far-I in a dubstep style, including a tune based on the Perry riddim used on reggae hits like "Disco Devil", "Chase The Devil", and "Croaking Lizard".

Mary Anne Hobbs commented that the mood at dubstep nights is less aggressive, or more meditative, leading to a larger female attendance at events than with the genre's precursors, noting "Grime and drum 'n' bass raves tend to be quite aggy. People in dubstep clubs tend to have a more meditative approach, which is inviting to females. You see the female-to-male ratio constantly going up - it's got the potential to be 40:60".

Journalists Melissa Bradshaw, Emma Warren, and dubstep documentarian and photographer Georgina Cook have all had an impact on the cultural importance of the music.

The influence of dubstep on more commercial or popular genres can be identified as far back as 2007, with artists such as Britney Spears using dubstep sounds; critics observed a dubstep influence in the song "Freakshow", from the 2007 album Blackout, which Tom Ewing described as "Built around the 'wobbler' effect that's a genre standby." Benga and Coki's single "Night" still continued to be a popular track on the UK dance chart more than a year after its release in late 2007, still ranking in the top five at the start of April 2008 on Pete Tong's BBC Radio 1 dance chart list.

A key factor in the rise of dubstep in the media was its exposure on video sharing websites, such as YouTube who provide access to many channels dedicated to dubstep, notably UKF Dubstep.

In a move foreshadowed by endorsements of the sound from R&B, hip-hop and recently, mainstream figures such as Rihanna, or Public Enemy's Hank Shocklee, Snoop Dogg collaborated with dubstep producers Chase & Status, providing a vocal for their 'underground anthem' "Eastern Jam".

The 2011 Britney Spears track "Hold It Against Me" was also responsible for promoting dubstep tropes within a mainstream pop audience,.

Rihanna's Rated R album released such content the very year dubstep saw a spike, containing 3 dubstep tracks.

Throughout 2010, dubstep was beginning to hit the pop charts, with "I Need Air" by Magnetic Man reaching number 10 in the UK singles chart.

In April 2011, "Dubbox", the industry's first application designed for the mobile creation of dubstep music, was released for the iPhone and reached the Top 25 Best Selling Music Apps in the UK its first week.

Post-dubstep More recently the term post-dubstep has been used to describe music that combines stylistic features of dubstep with other musical influences.

In September 2011 a Spin Magazine EDM special referred to brostep as a "Lurching and aggressive" variant of dubstep that has proved commercially successful in the United States.

Unlike traditional dubstep production styles, that emphasize sub-bass content, brostep accentuates the middle register and features "Robotic fluctuations and metal-esque aggression." According to Simon Reynolds, as dubstep gained larger audiences and moved from smaller club based venues to larger outdoor events, sub-sonic content was gradually replaced by distorted bass riffs that function roughly in the same register as the electric guitar in heavy metal.

The term brostep has been used by some as a perjorative descriptor for popular Americanised Dubstep.

Dubstep purists have leveled criticisms at brostep because of its preoccupation with "Hard" and aggressive sounding timbres.

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