2008 : The Year in Dubstep

The general year review was dealth with in December (find it in the archives). But I wanted to get into some more details regarding dubstep, because despite of what a lot of people claim : It has been a good year for dubstep. And I’ve kept track of the major things happening this year so I can prove it to you all .
Read on!

Full Lengths :
Quite a few full lengths came out this year, something most producers still refuse (or simply can’t) do yet.
Here are the ones you shouldn’t have missed out on :

2562 – Arial

2562 aka Dave Huismans is one of the strongest acts on mainland Europe right now. He blends minimal techno with dubs and his full length Arial was named the best dubstep release of the year by BBC1 Radio’s Mary Ann Hobbs.  So he comes highly recommended. I can imagine not everyone will like this release. It is extremely minimal but it has grown on me a lot and I’ve embraced the techno side of the album.
Out on Tectonic

Benga – Diary of an Afro Warrior
Now I must say I’ve never been the biggest Benga fan. So I found this album to be rather mediocre.  As the title probably gives away it has a lot of Afro influences. There’s also some triphop creeping in there. .
Go judge it for yourself because the media and public opinion seems to disagree with me and received this album very well.
Out on Tempa

Distance – Repercussions
Distance brings his second full length to the table. Just like on the previous effort it is very uncompromising and harsh. It has a metallic sound to it ( Greg Sanders, like myself, is quite the metal head and it shows). It is quite slow in the build up but the second half of the songs usually provide enough bass and nastiness for the dance floor. The second disc contains past 12″ releases and has some classics on it that shouldn’t be missed either (Victim Support for example).
Out on Planet Mu

Dusk & Blackdown – Margins Music
Blackdown & Dusk team up for this unique release. They mix in a lot of grime and Eastern influences in their music. They are from an area in East London where there are a lot of people from Bangladesh and the likes and all those influences oozed into this effort to make it quite sublime. The grime coöperation with Trim is also very good.
Out on Keysound Recordings

Headhunter – Nomad
Headhunter is also digging more into the (minimal) techno side of the dubstep spectrum. In fact, some of the tunes on here are dub techno rather than full on dub. But when the bass level is pushed up the dance ability of this release becomes very evident. An excellent debut.
Out on Tempa

Ital Tek – Cyclical
Alan Myson also comes from a non dubstep background but with this release proves that he is right where he belongs. Moody dubstep with drum & bass influences and excellent production made this one of the early success stories of the year.
Out on Planet Mu

Scuba – A Mutual Antipathy
Check out the review on this website
Out on Hotflush Recordings

Skream – Skreamizm Volume 5
Best volume yet of Skream’s series. It encompasses almost everything dubstep is right now. It’s got a few rottun dance floor crackers, some UK Garage influenced tunes and some more atmospheric dark tunes. Must have as this pioneer proves that he is still more than relevant in dubstep.
Out on Tempa


The Bug – London Zoo

The Wire Magazine’s #1 album of the year. Kevin Martin has been a force in electronic underground music for nearly 2 decades. He brings in a lot Jamaican influences on this release that has (very) heavy bass and nasty vocal contributions from  Flowdan, Warrior Queen etc.
Out on Ninja Tune

Collectors :
I can think of only one essential release here : Tempa Allstars Vol. 4 & 5 . Tempa along with Hyperdub and Tectonic are the biggest labels right now (in my opinion) and the 4th & 5th instalment of this series are very much essential. Featuring Pinch, Skream, Komonazmuk, Ramadanman, Luke Envoy, TRG etc.

Mix Cd’s :
I’m not that big a fan of mix Cd’s because usually the re playability of those is not that high for me. Still 2 releases stuck out for me. Again Skream’s Watch The Ride brought a heavy dose of destruction, mixing in a good amount of his own tunes and some classics (Where’s my Money, Examination of Time…) and also introduced some interesting unreleased stuff (Badman Place, Dark Passenger, Method…).
The second noteworthy release was the new edition of Dubstep Allstars : Volume 6 which was mixed by Appleblim this time who let his love for techno & garage inspired dubstep drizzle into the mix.

Singles & 12 Inches :

  • Appleblim & Peverlist  : Circling / Over Here
  • Babylon System : Loaded / Dancing Shoes
  • Babylon Syste m : Californian Style / Examination of Time VIP
  • Benga : Electro Scratch / The Germ
  • Darkstar : Need You / Squeeze My Lime
  • Gemmy : Bk 2 The Future / Bass Transmitter
  • Goth Trad : Law / Clown
  • Ikonika : Please / Simulacrum
  • Ikonika : Millie / Direct
  • Jack Sparrow : For Me / Lights Off
  • Jack Sparrow :  I and I / Preditor
  • Joker & Rustie : Play Doe / Tempered
  • Luke Envoy :  M.U.G.E.N. / Trapdoor
  • Mala : Miracles / New Life Baby Paris
  • Martyn : All I have is Memories / Suburbia
  • Martyn : Natural Selection / Vancouver
  • Mike Lennon & Reso : Brass Eye / Brass Eye (Reso rmx)
  • Peverlist : Infinity is Now / Junktion
  • Pinch : Midnight Oil / Joyride
  • Rusko : Cockney Thug / Love is Real || Jahova / Lions Paw
  • Skream : Hedd Banger / Percression
  • Stenchman : Distress Signal / Fat Bloated Idiot
  • Sukh Knight : Born Invincible / Jinglist / Shooting Stars
  • Synkro : Hold Tight / Bitz / Balls
  • Untold : Kingdom / Purify / Test Signal
  • Vaccine : Wishful Thinking / Signal to Noise
  • Wolf Man & Obeah : The Kraken / Kiss
  • Zomby : Mush / Spliff Dub (Rustie rmx)

On a slightly related sidenote : these are some dubstep related parties coming up in Belgium :

  • 06/02/2009 : Martyn + ????  @ Petrol, Antwerpen
  • 07/02/2009 : Maryn + Luke Envoy +… @ Vooruit, Gent
  • 07/02/2009 : Urban Assault : The Return @ Vibro Club, Heist-op-den-Berg
  • 14/02/2009 : The Bug + Headhunter @ STUK, Leuven
  • 21/02/2009 : Rustie + Hudson Mohawk @ Trix, Antwerpen*
    * + Special screening of the dubstep documentary “Bassweight”

Peace Out!

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One Response to “2008 : The Year in Dubstep”

  1. Thanks for the update. On the real.

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