Skream - Midnight Request Line
Over the last couple of years, dubstep has had a massive surge in popularity, with at least one dedicated night taking place in the vast majority of the UK’s urban centres every month. In some cities, such as London, Bristol and Birmingham, it’s hard to avoid dark and heavy basslines if you’re out at the weekend.
This is most definitely dubstep’s time, then, but for those who are still unfamiliar with the genre’s sound (if not its name), we’ve put together this essential playlist of must-listen tracks. Once you’re heard this lot, you’ll have a much better idea of what dubstep is all about, and you might just be inspired to fire up your DAW and contribute to the genre yourself.
Let’s start with Skream’s Midnight Request Line: widely recognised as the first major crossover dubstep hit, this track helped launch the scarily young and prolific producer who’s also known as Olly Jones.
Benga & Coki - Night
One of dubstep’s most defining cuts, this crossover track from Benga and Digital Mystikz’ Coki has been played out by DJs across many genres.
Rusko - Cockney Thug
Huge track from the Leeds-born producer and DJ, featuring heavily shuffled beats, a colossal wobble bassline and amusing samples from Guy Ritchie films. What’s not to like?
Caspa feat Beezy - Disco Jaws
Dub Police head honcho Caspa employs the hilarious rapping of Beezy on this somewhat tongue-in-cheek tune.
La Roux - In For The Kill (Skream's Let's Get Ravey Mix)
With a number of daytime plays from Radio 1, this has to be considered the best-known dubstep track ever.
La Roux - I'm Not Your Toy (Nero Remix)
La Roux’s Elly Jackson is almost the standard choice for vocal dubstep remixes, and this one is top notch.
Chase & Status - Eastern Jam
Never mind Snoop Dogg’s Millionaire remix of this classic tune - check out the Indian-style vocals, chubby beats and massive bass drops of the original.
Skream - Metal Mouth
Listen to this Skream track over a massive PA and you’ll be begging for mercy - it’s an absolutely savage monster of a tune that’ll bring out your bass face every time.
Mistabishi - Printer Jam (Barbarix Remix)
There are plenty of memorable dubstep remixes out there, but this one is particularly noteworthy, with the huge bassline effortlessly switching into Mistabishi’s crazy cut-up printer samples.
Bar9 - Midnight
One of the hardest-hitting dubstep crews operating today, Bar9’s dark, jump-up style is constantly being dropped by dubstep DJs across the country.
16Bit - Chainsaw Calligraphy
About as mental as a dubstep track can possibly be – this 16Bit number takes the genre’s reputation for chainsaw-like basslines to its logical conclusion.
Benga - 26 Basslines
This stormer from Croydon-based producer Benga contains some great modulations - it’s a great example of how much impact a good b-line (or 26 of ’em) can have.
Pangaea - Memories
There have been a few artists trying out lighter but more intricate dubstep tunes recently, and Pangaea is certainly a rising producer worth watching.
Burial - Untrue
Taken from his 2007 Mercury Prize-nominated album of the same name, Burial’s take on dubstep is full of shuffled beats, deep sub-bass and emotionally charged samples.
Pinch - Cave Dream
Planet Mu has been releasing some fine dubstep tracks over the last five years or so, and this one from Pinch demonstrates the label’s very high standards.
Jakes - 3kout
Representing Bristol’s vibrant yet dark dubstep scene, this wobblefest of a track comes from one of the H.E.N.C.H. crew’s finest producers.
Darkstar - Need You
This rather cheeky tune features a very addictive bassline proudly emerging over shuffled beats. A good example of the fine work currently being put out by the Hyperdub label.
Zomby - Gloop
Another Hyperdub artist, Zomby harks back to the videogame soundtracks of the ‘80s with his use of arpeggiated synth sounds in this subtly layered dubstep tune.
For a step-by-step guide to producing dubstep, check out the latest Computer Music Special, Make Dance Music (CMS42), which is on sale now.
Liked this? Now read: A-Z of dubstep
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