Archive for dub

2009 in Review by Decibel Festival Director Sean Horton

Posted in Lists, Music News, Note to Readers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2009 by worldromper

Sean AKA Nordic Soul is the Decibel Festival Curator and Director, he is my good friend and one of the greatest contributors to Seattle’s thriving underground music community. This is a very insightful summary of electronic music in 2009 with his Top 15 list at the bottom as well:

From Sean:

Every year it’s part of my job at PlayNetwork to come up with a list of top albums and overall assessment of music trends for the year. Below is my brief review of what I felt was a pretty landmark year for electronic music in the US and in general. Barring any incredible releases over the next month, these are my picks for the year. Keep in mind this list is strictly made up of albums; not EPs, 12’s or remixes (i.e 95% of the electronic music I purchased this year).

2009 in Review : Binary Pop, Warp’s Legacy, Dub Mutations and the Return of Sexy Dance Music

2009 has been an incredibly innovative year in relation to music production. Artists like Animal Collective, Fever Ray, Royksopp and Moderat have proven once and for all that digital beats and electronic sound design can appeal to a pop audience that otherwise wouldn’t find themselves listening to “electronic music”.

This year also marks the 20 year anniversary of the greatest electronic music label (arguably greatest label) of all time, Warp Records, which has had an exceptional year across the board with strong indie releases from Grizzly Bear and Maximo Park as well as strong releases from their more obscure electronic artists like Tim Exile and Clark. Warp’s 20th anniversary box set is not only one of the best reviewed collections of they year, it’s also a brilliant testament to the label’s vast catalog of ground breaking artists (i.e. Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Jamie Lidell, Nightmares on Wax, Prefuse 73, Autechre, Broadcast, Plaid, Battles, Squarepusher, etc).

In addition, 2009 witnessed the rise of Dubstep as a respected genre in the US through acclaimed UK labels like Hyperdub (Burial, Kode9, Joker, Zomby, Flying Lotus) and Tectonic (2562, Martyn, DJ Pinch, Benga) both of whom continue to blur the boundaries between Grime, Dub, West Coast Hip Hop and Detroit Techno. With the avid support of tastemakers like BBC Radio 1’s Mary Anne Hobbs and Low End Theory’s Daddy Kev (Alpha Pup Records) UK Dubstep and West Coast Glitch Hop / Hip Hop have both become quintessential styles on the electronic music frontline in the US. From Burning Man to this year’s Movement festival in Detroit, Dubstep and Glitch Hop have fully emerged in 2009 as a staple sound in North America.

Another emerging trend has been the Deep House and Tech House revival, which has been experiencing a resurgence the past few years as club-goers have tired of the heady, sterility of Minimal Techno and the frenetic, over the top sound of Electro House. Artists like Gui Boratto, Voodeux, Pezzner, Milton Jackson, Stimming, Mode D, Catz n Dogz, DJ T and Dixon have all helped in keeping underground dance music both sexy and musical.

Overall 2009 has been a phenomenal year for technologically driven music, proving that creativity is truly catching up with the tools used for musical expression in the digital age.

Here are my Top 15 albums of the year:

1. Animal Collective “Merriweather Post Pavilion” Domino Records

2. Various “Warp 20” (Box Set) Warp Records

3. Moderat (aka Apparat & Modeselektor) “Moderat” Bpitch Control Records

4. Fever Ray “Fever Ray” Rabid Records

5. Phil Kieran “Shh” Cocoon Recordings

6. Nosaj Thing “Drift” Alpha Pup Records

7. Jon Hopkins “Insides” Domino Records

8. Various “5 : Five Years of Hyperdub” Hyperdub Records

9. Lusine “A Certain Distance” Ghostly International

10. Grizzly Bear “Veckatimest” Warp Records

11. Gui Boratto “Take My Breath Away” Kompakt Records

12. 2562 “Unbalance” Tectonic Records

13. Modeselektor “Body Language Vol. 8” Get Physical Music

14. Tim Hecker “An Imaginary Country” Kranky Records

15. Voodeux “The Paranormal” Mothership Records

Decibel Festival Showcase Spotlight: dB in duB Afterhours- DUB MUTANTS

Posted in Events, Festivals, Music News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by worldromper

As the dub sound spread from Jamaica to the UK and on to the rest of the planet, the genre twisted and mutated into a loose and often dysfunctional family of subgenres, from dubstep to drum and bass to experimental IDM. In fact, all electronic music owes a loud shout-out to dub, from its focus on the bass to vocal sampling to the idea of stripping extraneous elements down to the minimal. Dub lives on in a thousand miscreant children, all of whom will continue to evolve, mutate, and produce offspring that will perhaps become genres in their own right.



At dB in duB Afterhours: duB Mutants we celebrate the family of freaks that has grown up influenced by the heady sounds of daddy dub. Straight outta Bristol comes Pinch, a passionate pioneer and influential tastemaker for the dubstep sound in the UK. He is known for fusing the genre’s heavy basslines with techy and melodic subtleties, as well as with reggae, dancehall and world music- this producer knows no bounds. DJ G landed on RinseFM with his first-ever 12” dubstep release, and his devotion



to the deeper, more soulful side of the genre is winning him widespread acclaim all over the world. Rolling in next from the frontline of dubstep is Moldy, the “Original Fungalist.” This mover and shaker is one of the most prominent US producers in the genre; his club nights, radio station and choice releases are making a massive impact on electronic arts culture, particularly on the

KJ Sawka

KJ Sawka

East Coast. Adding to the lineup is local Seattle favorite KJ Sawka, whose live drum and bass performances on acoustic drums set to electronic triggers make dance floors doubt their eyes, and move their feet.

Next door the lounge will be indulging the weird side of the dub family, with artists whose far-out approach to music makes them avant-garde oddballs in a family of freaks. ndCv experiments on sound, manipulating noises in the most nontraditional way and bumping them back disguised



and distorted. Evolving in front of you next is Obelus, who forms a link between traditional live performances and electronica to create musical conversations as laptop meets improv. Electrosect runs in with wild eyes from the left field; this enthusiastic promoter and unmatched supporter of the Seattle community uses his keen intuition to guide listeners into the deeper and more abstract realms of electronic music. Finally the family meets at the sonic intersection of dubby midtempo and hip hop textures with Snap’Krakl’Pop, three brothers whose found sounds and interesting approach to musical divergence just might be the next offspring of the dub revolution.

Like any family, the dub clan is full of freaks, ready to try out this world for themselves and to fly their flags high.  Go to dB in duB Afterhours to dance, to groove and to chill, but most of all- do it for the children. The mutant children.

dB in duB Afterhours takes place Friday, September 25 at Little Red Studio. Click here to buy tickets and for more information about the 2009 Decibel Festival.

Decibel Festival Showcase Spotlight: dB in duB Part 1: Past, Present and Future of duB

Posted in Events, Festivals, Music News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by worldromper

Photo by Jikamajoja on FlickrMany beats ago on the island of Jamaica, reggae artists and producers started experimenting with B-sides of tracks, letting loose their more creative sides and removing the vocals, emphasizing the bass and drums, and inventing new sounds with heady reverb and echo effects. Sound design pioneers Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock and Lee “Scratch” Perry were the first in the world to regard the mixer as an instrument, renovating the original songs into rhythm-centric “dubs” whose rich, organic soundscapes gave new attention to negative space, multi-layered depth, and of course, the bass.

Now decades later, dub has profoundly affected the birth of hip hop and electronic music, and what started as a small sonic revolution of smooth island beats now has a widespread influence on production all over the world. “dB in duB Part 1: Past, Present and Future of duB” celebrates not only the creation of the dub genre and its subsequent exposure, but also its evolution through the years into multiple subgenres-  from garage, drum and bass, grime, trip hop, and dubby techno to the most recent dub darling, dubstep.

Mad ProfessorThe 2009 Decibel Festival kicks off near the beginning of the story of dub with trailblazer Mad Professor. A grand king of the genre, Mad Professor has championed traditional dub from his London studio for decades. Not only has he worked with reggae legends as well as famous artists outside the dub domain, but he has also been instrumental in transitioning the genre into the digital age and staking the UK’s premier claim on exposing dub to the world. Known for original productions as well as remix work, the prolific Mad Professor has had his hands in over 200 albums and an immense “old school” impact on modern breakbeat culture.

Benga photo by Derek DjonsStomping along next is one of the godfathers of dubstep, Benga, who hails from the UK like the rest of the sound’s procreators. Out of one record store (Big Apple Records), one club night, and one very talented group of friends, dubstep emerged from garage, 2-step, and grime to be propelled into an innovative genre of its own right. Music like Benga was creating at age fifteen is now taking the world by storm, most notably on the West Coast of the US where the thick wobble has grabbed the attention of electronic music fans from Seattle to San Diego.

Deepchord presents: Echospace represents the forefront of the newest hybrid, dub techno. Producing with only vintage analog equipment that gives its “life-force” to the music, the duo uses dense atmospheric elements that add an emotional charge to their loopy, minimal sound. Rounding out the showcase is local champion of the fresh and the eclectic, Kid Hops, whose two radio programs on KEXP have exposed listeners to new music from way-out reggae to funky, dubby drum and bass.

Dub is the sound of a warm welcome, with a roots-oriented vibe and soothing beats combined with synthesized sounds and electronic machinations from tomorrow. It is the perfect juxtaposition of the past and the future, and is best experienced in the present- and in front of a bass bin. The story of dub continues at Decibel Festival, and as we explore its echoes through several subgenres you may find that just as dub has taken up permanent residence in electronic music culture, it has done the same in your head. Dub is here to stay, and to move dance floors with a bassy bounce like only island music can.

dB in duB Part 1: Past, Present and Future of duB takes place Thursday, September 24 at Neumos. Click here for ticket sales and more information.