sun 27/09/2020

CD: Adventures in Dubstep and Beyond Volume 2 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Adventures in Dubstep and Beyond Volume 2

CD: Adventures in Dubstep and Beyond Volume 2

Fascinating and imaginative trip to the vanguard of British bass music

Dubstep has now permeated pop. Drum and bass was the last British underground bass music to rub up against the mainstream but back in the mid-Nineties the major labels didn't know what to do with it. Apart from launching Goldie's career and leading David Bowie up another excruciating dead end, it failed commercially. Dubstep, on the other hand, has been eagerly embraced by US stars - Jay-Z, Rihanna and Britney Spears, to name three - and UK acts such as Chase and Status, Skream, and Magnetic Man have stormed the charts. This assimilation is invigorating but sometimes, when the latest dubstep-flavoured Euro-pop nugget hits the airwaves, one pines for the raw deal. This is where Joe Muggs steps in.

Muggs is an artsdesk associate of mine, indeed, we do the site's monthly Singles and Downloads together. However, he is, along with Mary Anne Hobbs, also generally acknowledged as a leading media disseminator of dubstep's cutting edge, a man who's had his ear to the ground since the music first bloomed. Thus I haven't any qualms suggesting his latest Ministry of Sound compilation is not a surface-tickling selection, no, this is a full immersion into the music's thrilling outer limits. From the space cadet basscore of Slaughter Mob's "Buddha Assassin" to the nouveau soul of Maddslinky featuring Omar, the jerky Balearic bleep-techno of "Hitmane's Anthem" to the relentless earthquake throb of DVA's "Still Born", it's all bang on point, riveting and a bit out there.

Many older fans and arbiters of electronic music tastes seem curiously suspicious of dubstep, regarding it as a trend running parallel to their interests. The truth is that dubstep is currently the prime space where young electronic musicians interact with sonic futurism and the second volume of Adventures in Dubstep and Beyond should be embraced by anyone who likes their ears to chew on the truly new.

Watch a fan video for Rustie's "Hyperthrust" featuring John Candy bugging out to dubstep sounds

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