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A Brief History of Dubstep

Dubstep is known for its futuristic and atmospheric musical themes and its popularity in raves and clubs. This unique sound was born from “Jamaican reggae”, “jungle”, “rave”, “garage”, “grime” and other electronically centralized genres that started developing into an amalgamation about 1994. It came into its own in 2002 officially, going from the fast and strongly syncopated trance-beats, around 140 beats per minute, to the slower and more vocal-like sounds where the time key is still 140 beats per minute but the vocals’ time is anywhere from 50-80 beats per minute. Furthermore, Dubstep more heavily incorporates the musical technique of what is known as “the drop” and the use of “wubbing”.

The “drop” is when the percussion pauses for a second only to “drop” back in, this time with a heavier and possibly lower bassline. The “wobble”, otherwise known as “wubbing”, is where the percussion or bass (usually the percussion) teeters unequally in its syncopated beats. This teetering effect may or may not be repetitious and on the same beat or off-beat. These musical techniques are meant to transmit a psychedelic feeling to the listener’s mind and by which way, their body.

In the past, Dubstep received an ill reputation because of its psychedelic sound, causing the general populace to assume it was meant to be played while recreational drugs were in use. However, since the rise of Dubstep (mostly led by Big Apple Records and the artist Skrillex) and its entrance into mainstream radio by BBC Radio 1’s Dubstep documentary, the general populace enjoys Dubstep for purer purposes.

Today, Dubstep, though still a young genre in its own right, has split off into more sub-genres such as Brostep, Filthstep, Drum Step, and Post Dubstep as young artists continually try to make their mark in the musical world. Among these young artists are Benga, Burial, Joker, Rusko, Mala, Loefah and Kode9 of classical Dubstep and Flux Pavillion, Datsik, Excision, Modestep and Rusko of the above mentioned evolved Dubstep (Rusko having been a player in both genres).

Credits - M. Schmitt