Dubstep Isn’t Really Just Repackaged Techno, According to Someone Who Is Not Haddaway

I don’t know why I feel like I have to like it secretly “” that’s about me “” but I do indeed like dubstep.

If you’re over, say, 25, dip Skoal on a regular basis, or have a stock portfolio AND your own health insurance, you probably have no idea what dubstep is. Or you could be like me, and just so happen to know a few aficionados. I am a big Radiohead fan (yes, The King of Limbs sucked; get off my ass about it), too, and when their front man, Thom Yorke, first got involved with it, I started paying more attention.

Even if you haven’t heard of dubstep before, it’s possible you’ve actually HEARD it “” in a commercial or online, or maybe you’ve even seen the “Imperial March” dubstep. Either way, think of, if you can, what would result if techno became minimalist. That’s sort of hard to wrap the brain around, so I will give you some time to comprehend.

Ready? Now think of minimalist techno just concentrating on the bass line of any given song. Dubstep rhythms are usually syncopated, and often shuffled or incorporate tuplets. The tempo is nearly always in the range of 138-142 beats per minute, with a clap or snare usually inserted every third beat in a bar. It’s like bass for people whose hearts act weird when they’re around house music. Or if you have no idea about anything related to music terminology, pretend I am Charlie Brown’s teacher.

Don’t worry; they took down all their flashing “I’m A Sexy Bitch” gifs back in 2003 when everyone but musicians quit MySpace.

Remix your favorite song “” maybe some Oak Ridge Boys or Dean Martin “” in the aforementioned manner, and “¦ poof! You now have a new genre of music. That was so easy, but I just sprained my left brain cortex and got my awesome all over your newsprint paper!

According to udubstep.com: “The name “˜dubstep’ was first coined to apply to bass-driven electronic music in 2002 in a town called Croydon” in England, which is probably gray and dreary, and it rains all the time, but they have a pub where you can grab a pint and some fish and chips and “¦ where was I again? I digress!

OK, here we are:

The actual roots of dubstep are a bit tough to pinpoint because it is a merge of dozens of types of electronic music, and even after it began to achieve popularity it has continued to evolve and grow.

Dubstep is thought to have evolved out of “Jamaican dub music” and other soundsystem cultures. The Jamaican soundsystems emphasized disco-type sounds with reproduced bass frequencies underlying. This eventually gave rise to the dub variety of reggae music that had features like sub-bass (bass where the frequency is less than 90Hz, a.k.a. really really deep), 2-step drums and distortion effects. All of this development eventually churned out the more modern British sounds of “jungle,” “garage” and now “dubstep.” It is important to note that many of these features existed individually prior to dubstep, but were only brought together under one roof in the early 2000s.

The site believes the first club to begin using the name dubstep for this variety of music was Forward>> in the Soho area of London (see the description of Croydon above). The club helped form a record company that released the first dubstep album in 2002. Since then, thanks to plugs from magazines like Wired, Pitchfork, and Ladies Home Journal, growth has pushed forward into North America and beyond “¦ even in tiny Dubai.

Two artists who have been a part of the movement since the start are Benga and Skream, two Brits who also work together as Magnetic Man (not to be confused with Method Man, by the way). Here in America, Skrillex just won three Grammy Awards, and Bassnectar continues to gain fans.

YouTube’s most popular videos include a dubstep remix of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks,” which has, at this writing, over 35 million views. Also popular on YouTube (in addition to the videos of pregnant girls fighting and boils being lanced): remixes by Nero, Flux Pavilion, and Emalkay.

There is a little bit of dubstepping going on in Baton Rouge, too. Twice monthly, the L Bar downtown holds its Dirty Disco night and plays plenty of dubstep. A good place to check if you are looking for more shows is www.myspace.com/louisianadubstep.com. Don’t worry; they took down all their flashing “I’m A Sexy Bitch” gifs back in 2003 when everyone but musicians quit MySpace.

So OK. Now you have been both educated about music (hopefully) and entertained (fingers crossed) “” time for me to dubstep OUT!

About Stephanie Landry

Stephanie Landry is a lover, not a fighter, with the exception of some inanimate objects. Sing out to her here, or stand at her window with your boombox blasting your mixtape. Either way.

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