For the past two years, I've been consuming a lot of dubstep: classic stuff from a couple of years ago, but also a healthy dose of Montreal-produced Brostep as promoted by the likes of the JLD crew. While there is definitely a gap between early Benga and Dave Dialect's latest bangers, labeling the genre in my iTunes library was never really that hard: "Dubstep". But lately, for the past six months more or less, I've been really confused about the organisation of my library. New stuff keeps coming in by the truckload via sources like the Boiler Room, GenXGlow, Wastechester, Resident Advisor, XLR8R and a couple others, and the issue is that I haven't got a clue what genre the stuff I'm finding belongs to.
Martin Clark has a post up on Pitchfork that describes the situation much better than I could ever do so. This new trend in electronic music didn't start just now... offshoots of dubstep with formal names seem to be appearing every month, with an aesthetic that touches on my existing styles but never seems to settle on one. The ease of distribution that brings the internet catalyzes this production of bastard offspring to a dizzying rate. All the better for music lovers like myself, as long as your enjoy wading throw the giant cesspool that is the 'net in search of rare gems.
Some say that dubstep has gone full circle and gone back to it's roots with a fresh new twist through... I'll say that electronic music in it's whole is re-consolidating. In a not so distant past, drum & bass heads were considered eccentric scene folk who wanted nothing to do with dance music, and these days veterans like Photek are releasing "bass" EPs on labels with have nothing to do with breakbeats. After years of evolving withing their respective boundaries, scenes seems to be finally mixing up, and influences from loads of genres are crossing over in a perfect clusterfuck of everything electronic. These traces of influence appear everywhere, from more direct references to more sublte nods across scenes. A record (and by records I mean wax) I bought just the other days is a good example: staple of post-dubstep Breach and leader of the new "juke" (jukestep?) movement Addison Groove have put out remixes of 15+ year old D'n'B anthems... Kind of unexpected. In the more subtle stuff, sampling in Joy Orbison's Ellipsis of an interview with Source Direct also shows how far-reaching this influence can be.
A counter-current in electronic music is bound to happen, and as the specifics of musical aesthetics are defined for each new genre we'll probably get to eliminate the hopefully temporary "bass" designation which I have come to hate so much. What's the future, what will be the new dubstep? Garage? Future Garage? Brostep? Drumstep? Clubfunk? Clubstep? Moombahton? It's too early to call the shots, but it's definitely an interesting time to be an electronic music enthusiast.