Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dusk + Blackdown Rinse FM April

Dusk + Blackdown Rinse FM April '15 tracklist

Atlas “On The Cusp” [unreleased]
Aphix “Ruby Grooves” [unreleased]
Graintable “Magnetic North” [Platinum Fade]
Monday Club “Black is the colour of my true love’s hair” [unreleased]
RS4 & Lombardo “House Music Was Born” [unreleased]
Mssing No “Limits Power” [unreleased]
Truce “Be There” [unreleased]
Deadbeat “Bleak” [unreleased]
Qualifide “You Cannot Hide” [unreleased]
Brenz "Codeine 98" [unreleased]
Lamont “The Glass House” [unreleased]
Lojik “Saracen” [Durkle Disco]
Lamont “Locust” [unreleased]
Menchess “Mitzibishi Song” [Goon Club Allstars]
Facta “Alsatian” [unreleased]
Roska "This Could Take A While (JD Reid Remix) [Roska Kicks and Snares]
Samrai & Platt ft Trigganom “One Step” [Swing Ting]
Argo "Silencers VIP" [unreleased]
Joedan “Rag N Bone” [Vex]
Lyeform “Cavemen” [unreleased]
Lyeform “Stigma” [unreleased]
Klient "Vultures" [forthcoming Tessellate]
Maribor “BodyBag” [unreleased]
Archer "Final Ending" [unreleased]
Arctic “Sweet Like Hawaiian” [unreleased]
Filter Dread “Space Beams” [unreleased]
Braaks “Palace” [unreleased]
Jade Wells "Salem WIP" [unreleased]
Detboi “Own thing” [unreleased]
Strict Face "Mylar Swamp" [unreleased]
Double Helix (LHF) ft Ragga Twins “Fugese” [forthcoming Keysound Recordings]
Invader Space "Knicks" [Blanklink, free DL]
Skream “Midnight Request Line (Just Geo rerub)” [unreleased]
Deadboy "Copwar" [forthcoming Local Action]
Royal-T “Glacier” [Butterz]
Sharp Veins "Yamaha Wave Venture" [Blanklink, free DL]
Island “Cypher”  [Crazy Legs]
Salute "Thunder Shorts" [unreleased, was a free DL but link dead]
Damu “0004 22-Audio-1” [unreleased]

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rinse Mar 15

Keysound Rinse show March 2015 - All Keysound Special

Download here

Dusk + Blackdown “Akkaboo” [Keysound Recordings]
Dusk + Blackdown “Submerged” [Keysound Recordings]
Dusk + Blackdown “Drenched” [Keysound Recordings]
Blackdown “The Danger Line” [Keysound Recordings]
Dusk + Blackdown “Malarial Mind” [unreleased]
Dusk + Blackdown “Mantis VIP” [unreleased]
Dusk + Blackdown ft Farrah “Simplicity” [unreleased]
Blackdown “Crackle Blues (Burial remix)” [Keysound Recordings]
Blackdown ft Tavis Triance “It’s Been Six Months” [unreleased]
Blackdown “Northside Cheng Dub” [Keysound Recordings]
Dusk + Blackdown “The Drumz of Nagano” [Keysound Recordings]
Dusk + Blackdown ft Farrah “Iqbal’s Groove” [Keysound Recordings]
Dusk + Blackdown ft Teji & Farrah “Kuri Pataka” [Keysound Recordings]
Dusk + Blackdown “Rolling Raj Deep” [Keysound Recordings]
Dusk “Focus” [Keysound Recordings]
Blackdown ft Durrty Goodz “Concrete Streets” [Keysound Recordings]
Dusk + Blackdown ft Trim “The Bits” [Keysound Recordings]
Geeneus Ft. Riko, Wiley & Breeze ‎”Knife & Gun Knife & Gun (Blackdown remix)” [Keysound Recordings]
Geeneus Ft. Riko, Wiley & Breeze ‎”Knife & Gun Knife & Gun (Blackdown devil mix)” [Keysound Recordings]
DVA Ft. Badness, Riko, Killa P & Flowdan ‎”Bullet A' Go Fly (Dusk + Blackdown remix)” [Keysound Recordings]
Starkey ft Durrty Goodz “Gutter Music vocal VIP” [unreleased]
Mavado “Dying (Blackdown refix)” [unreleased]

Amen Ra “Akashic Visions” [Keysound Recordings]
Double Helix “LDN” [Keysound Recordings]
Double Helix  Chamber of Light [Keysound Recordings]
Amen Ra “Simple Things” [Keysound Recordings]
Double Helix “Voyages” [Keysound Recordings]

LV & Josh Idehen “I Know” [Keysound Recordings]
LV & Joshua Idehen “Melt” [Keysound Recordings]
LV & Josh Idehen “Lost” [Keysound Recordings]
LV & Josh Idehen “Island” [Keysound Recordings]
LV & Joshua Idehen “Northern Line” [Keysound Recordings]

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Rinse Feb 15

** Dusk & Blackdown Rinse FM Feb 15 ft Epoch **

Sully “Thema” [unreleased]
Deadboy “It did not feel right” [Crazy Legs]
813 "Tinky Tonky (Slugabed remix)" [DonkyPitch]
Funk Ethics “A13” [unreleased]
OKZharp & Samrai “Baddies” [unreleased]
Busy Signal “Tamara (Swing Ting 125 remix)” [forthcoming]
Lyeform “Voudou” [unreleased]
DJ Julz “Bass Push(skoteni)” [free DL]
Fang Lillies “BK stomp” [forthcoming Signal Life]
LKD Beats “Untitled 4” [unreleased]
Funkystepz “Witchcraft” [unreleased]
Lorenzo “Flashback” [unreleased]
Lorenzo “Guava VIP” [unreleased]
Lamont “Concrete” [unreleased]
Zenwan “Cosmic Divination” [unreleased]
Grim Sickers + No Lay - Jenga [Wen Celestial Mix]
Lyeform "Xibalba" [unreleased]
Damu “Whirlybird” [Keysound Recordings]
unknown "Milk” [unknown]
Wen “Play Your Corner (ft Riko Dan) (Walton Remix)” [unreleased]

**Epoch in the mix**

D Double E “Lovely Jubbly (Epoch's Strongarm Refix)” [unreleased]
Epoch “Ville” [unreleased]
Epoch “Next Door” [unreleased]
Dusk & Blackdown “Wot Do U Mean (Epoch's S.D.O Remix)” [unreleased]
Epoch “Fight For You” [unreleased]
Epoch “Bombs” [unreleased]
Epoch “I Want My Life Back” [unreleased]
Epoch “Techboys” [unreleased]
Epoch “Tiger” [unreleased]
Epoch “Only You” [unreleased]
Unknown “Novel” [unreleased]

— **Dusk & Blackdown**

 Etch “Untitled Hardcore #2 (Skelriddim)” [unreleased]
Prizma "Amazonian" [forthcoming Tessellate Records]
Debt “Off Switch” [unreleased]
Detboi “Joyride” [unreleased]
Sully “Hours, Miles & Still…” [forthcoming]
Abtomic "Keep on" [forthcoming]
Novelist & Mumdance “1 Sec” [XL Recordings]
Fang Lilies "Color Crop" [forthcoming Signal Life]
Moleskin “Bit” [unreleased]
Shreiking Specialist “Step Back and Have a Look” SRC "Rat Road" [forthcoming Progressive Intelligence]

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rinse Dec 14 & Jan 15


Dusk + Blackdown rinse Dec '14 tracklist

Jakob Glock "Passing Time" [unreleased]
Hodge & Facta "Spheres of Costa Rica" [Tempa]
Roska "Wave" [Kicks & Snares]
Cimm "Bladed" [unreleased]
Walton "Wrench" [unreleased]
unknown "Outcry" [unreleased]
Cimm "Blackout" [unreleased]
Sepia "Introduce the game" [unreleased]
Matta "Decoder" [unreleased]
Detboi "Pin Point" [unreleased]
Detboi "The Hunt" [unreleased]
DAT Oven "Icey Lake (Mickey Pearce remix)" [unreleased]
Roska "Light Dem Up ft. Illaman" [Kicks & Snares]
The Crane "Ascendancy Pyromancy Flame" [Scrufix]
Qualified “Take that away” [forthcoming]
Luke B "Don't Get Better Than Me And You (Sully remix)" [unreleased]
RIP Productions “Back Again (Unreleased DJ Mix)” [forthcoming]
Folding City "Ice Riddim" [unreleased]
DJ Q “Ordinary People” [Q Recordings]
Catching Notes "Our Sound"  [unreleased]
Zed Bias "Shizam ft. Stylo G & Scrufizzer [My Nu Leng Remix]" [Black Butter]
unknown “IMY” [unreleased]
Hybrid Theory "Thats What It Is (Flava D Remix)" [forthcoming]
Mr Mitch "Hot Air" [Planet Mu]
Walton "Bulldoze" [unreleased]
Rabit "Air Port Systems (Underclass RMX) [unreleased]
Dusk + Blackdown “Wot do you mean?! (Epoch's S.D.O. Remix) [unreleased]
Amen Ra "Natural Boost" [unreleased]
Matt Wizard “Rainbow Road” [unreleased]
Thriftworks "Pearly Whites" [Bandcamp DL]
Matt Wizard “Cosmic Ray Gun” [unreleased]
Swindle "Summer Fruits" [Brownswood Recordings]
Torus "Ethereal" [Rwina]
Sharp Veins “Pompelmo” [Coyote]
Damu “Holed up in the Hovel” [forthcoming Keysound]
unknown “Moko” [unreleased]
Novelist x Mumdance “Shook (Vocal)” [XL]
First Grandson "Dried Prawns" [Inna Riddim]
Mr Mitch “Wandering Glaciers” [Planet Mu]
Atlas "Solitude" [unreleased]

Dusk + Blackdown Rinse FM Jan ’15 tracklist

PHSNWSKY “Mystic” [forthcoming]
Logos “Omega Point” [unreleased]
M.E.S.H. “Scythians (Logos Remix)” [released]
Aphix "Into Spheres" [unreleased]
Wen “Pace Myself” [unreleased]
Venin and Knowledge "Soundboy Digs Own Grave Before Kissing His Wife and Children Goodbye" [unreleased]
Okzharp & Samrai “Gated” [unreleased]
unknown Cutting Spree [unknown]
J-One “Some Vibez” [unreleased]
Eva 808 “You Know” [unreleased]
Parris DJ “Let's Stretch, Then Workout!” [unreleased]
Lamont and Piezo "Jack Flash" [unreleased]
Damu whirly bird [forthcoming Keysound Recordings]
Gage "Telo (Suda remmix)" [free DL]
Truce One Blood [unreleased]
unknown “Method” [unreleased]
Lorenzo “Fantasies” [unreleased]
Double Helix “Exodus” [unreleased]
Logos & Mumdance “Dance Energy (89 Mix)” [forthcoming Tectonic]
DJ Leukos “Untitled Riddim (Mike G Remix)” [Car Crash Set]
Terror Danjah & Zed Bias ft. Olivia Louise - Telepathy (Original Mix)
Madd Again! (ft. Specialist Moss) "Dem Ah Pree" [unreleased]
Detboi “Scatter” [unreleased]
Beat Pharmacy “Roll Call" [unreleased]
Sepia “Patience” [unreleased]
unknown "Out Here" [unreleased]
Amen Ra “Natural Boost” [unreleased]
Richelle "Don't Do (Samename remix)" [Free DL]
Madd Again! BAWLOUT [forthcoming]
Footsie "Move to the beat remix" [Butterz]
Wiley “Morgue (Gage fukup)” [free DL]
Just Geo "Ain't Your Thing" [unreleased]
Just Geo “Blue Tick Gang”
Loom "Burning Chrome" [forthcoming Slit Jockey Records]
Just Geo “Steady On (RF mix)”
Just Geo "Emerald City" [unreleased]
Matt wizard “Snow Forever” [unreleased]
Paper Tiger “No I in Cream” [unreleased]
Matt wizard “Jupiter Jam” [unreleased]
Fresh Paul “Blue Knuckle” [forthcoming]
Fresh Paul “Crushup” [forthcoming]
Deadboy “One” [unreleased]
House of Black Lanterns “Code of the Streets” [unreleased]

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dec 14

There's been a bunch of things going on recently...


The last Keysound show on Rinse in 2014: here.

(tracklist to follow)

 "LowKeysound" mix 

...for Dummy mag: here. The flip of the Keysound Bangers mix.

Hyponik interview.

Me chatting ish over lunch.

Free D/L

Of "Deep Data" by Circula, here.

RIP Spaceape.

I talked about crying in public and no one's parred me yet. Remarkable.

Bob Fossil v Big Narstie

Why both are certified badmen.

NCLPad's (all) Keysound mix

Kowton – Countryman (LDN013)
Beneath – Illusion (LDN034)
Bias + Gurley – Roll (Blackdown’s A Debt Repaid Remix) (LDN021)
Dusk + Blackdown – Dasaflex (LDN033)
Dusk + Blackdown – Back 2 Go FWD>> (LDN049)
Beneath – Tribulation (LDN034)
LV + Josh Idehen – Melt (LDN022)
Moleskin – Burst (LDN 036)
E.M.M.A – At Sea (LDN039)
Sully – It’s Your Love (LDN026)
Wen – Swingin’ (LDN Mix) (LDN044)
Dusk + Blackdown – High Road (LDN032/LDN033)
Double Helix – LDN VIP (LDN036)
Dusk + Blackdown – Drenched (Facta Remix) (LDN049)
Dusk + Blackdown – Akkaboo (LDN005)
Wen – Play Your Corner (LDN044)
Dusk + Blackdown – Crackle Blues (Burial Remix) (LDN002)
Dusk + Blackdown – The Bits ft. Trim (LDN004/LDN006)
Logos – Atlanta 96 (LDN030)
Geeneus – Knife and Gun (Blackdown Devil Mix) (LDN008)
Dusk + Blackdown – This is London (2011 Riots Remix) (Unreleased)
Etch – Sphynx (LDN040)
Dusk + Blackdown – Mantis VI3 (LDN003)
No Fixed Abode – Sunset (Mumbai Slum Edition) (LDN029)
Dusk + Blackdown – Kuri Pataka (The Firecracker Girl) (LDN006/LDN007)
Dusk + Blackdown – Focus (LDN005/LDN006)
LV + Josh Idehen – Imminent (LDN045/LDN048)
Balistiq Beats – Concrete Jungle (Yardman Rhythm) (LDN020)
Skream – Angry World (LDN016)
Damu – Ridin’ the Hype ft. Trim (LDN027)
Starkey – Gutter Music (LDN009)

NCLPad on his mix...

“It’s like…they went back to go forward.”

"With the arrival of Certified Connections (LDN050), it felt like an ideal time to look back on the previous forty-nine releases. If truth be told, I’d been working on a ‘roots of’ type mix on and off for a while, but then Benjybars dropped his and I decided to leave it a while (that mix is absolute first-rate, it still soundtracks my drive to work regularly). So, with Benjybars’ Roots of Keysound, Grievous Angel’s Margins Music: Redux, it’s fair to say there are a few monumental mixes out there for the Keysound faithful."

"Anyway, with memories of that boat party still fresh in the mind, I set about putting something together myself. I was just trying to join the dots between where the label is at right now and where it’s come from. It was fun mixing the old with the new and hopefully keeping some kind of coherence. This is the result."

"Here’s to the next 50!"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dusk + Blackdown Rinse FM November

Last week we had the gang up on Rinse to celebrate our new compliation. Here's the audio from the "Certified Connections" special. The comp is out tomorrow on CD, digital and vinyl (with a mixed version from Parris on the Boomkat versions).


Dusk + Blackdown mix

Dusk + Blackdown "Wot do you mean!? (movin' parro mix)"
Dusk + Blackdown "Wot do you mean!? (dub mix)"
Blackdown "Wot do you mean!?"

Logos mix

Logos "Glass (Shapednoise remix)" [forthcoming Different Circles]
Logos "Metropolis" [Keysound Recordings]
DAT Oven x Rabit "Thuggin' At The Icy Lake (Logos blend)" [dub]
Inkke "Choong Hoe" [dub]
Mumdance "Springtime Devil" [dub]
Rabit "#Tearz" [dub]


DLVRY "Axis" [unreleased]
Spokes "Ritalin" [unreleased]
DLVRY "Airlock" [unreleased]
Spokes "Burner" [unreleased]
DLVRY "Slow Light" [unreleased]
DLVRY "Swords" [unreleased]
DLVRY "Floa" [unreleased]
DLVRY "2 Tha Streetz" [unreleased]
DLVRY "Cycles" [unreleased]
Spokes "Lo Pan Strikes" [unreleased]
DLVRY "Guilt" [Keysound Recordings]

E.m.m.a. mix

E.m.m.a. "Bijoux de Diamants" [unreleased]
Mokadem "Can't go on" [unreleased]
Mokadem "Foolin" [unreleased]
E.m.m.a.  "Light years" [Keysound Recordings]

Sully mix

Sully "Concord (Banshee Remix)" [Hsuan]
Facta "Spheres of Costa Rica" [Tempa]
Luke Benjamin "Don't Get Better Than Me and You (Sully Remix)" [Unreleased]
Sully "Little Things" [Unreleased]

Caski mix

Rowl "???" [unreleased]
Biome & Caski "Rumcatcher" [unreleased]
Perc "Take Your Body Off (Tessela Remix)" [Perc trax]
Silas & Snare Surgeon "Isonoe" [unreleased]
Caski "Tunnel Music" [Keysound Recordings]
Piezo & Seth "Pasted" [Voodoo Rebel]

Parris DJ mix

Parris "Untitled" [unreleased]
Parris "Burrrrrr" [unreleased]
Parris "Untitled" [unreleased]
Parris "Untitled" [unreleased]
Wen "Swingin' (Parris Remix)" [unreleased]

Aphix mix
Aphix "Clapsicle"  [unreleased]
Aphix "Vyro" [unreleased]
Aphix "Nyla"  [unreleased]
Aphix "Us In Knots" [unreleased]
Aphix "Trick Or Truth" [unreleased]
Aphix "White Flash"  [unreleased]

Etch mix

Etch "Toxin" [unreleased]
Etch "Elixir" [unreleased]
Etch "T-1000" [unreleased]
Etch "Overdose (One 4 Parris)" [unreleased]
Etch "Fluid" [unreleased]
Etch & Parris "SubFreq" [unreleased]

Luke Benjamin mix

Burial "Lambeth" [Hyperdub]
Luke Benjamin "Open your heart" (acapella) [unreleased]
Luke Benjamin "Open your heart" [unreleased]
Luke Benjamin "Who am I (prod Loom) [unreleased]

Monday, November 03, 2014

Happy Birthday: I am 10


Ten years ago today I started a blog only because I wanted to see how easy it was to start a blog. Five years ago to the day I shared a seminal Hatcha CD – and wished to still feel this strongly about music as I did then. Five years on and many life obstacles since, I still do so to celebrate, I want to share with you something that’s been privately sat on my iPod for quite some time.

Honestly, I think it’s the best live dubstep set I’ve ever heard recorded and it came straight out the mixing desk of Plastic People at the club night that gave birth to and raised dubstep, FWD>>:

DOWNLOAD the unreleased: Mala b2b Loefah ft SGT Pokes live at FWD>> 01.06.06 or wetransfer.

I’ve had access to this set ever since I did some archive work for Ammunition around the time of the “Roots of…” compilations. Thank you to FWD>> and DMZ for letting me share this previously unheard live recording from FWD>> at Plastic People, east London.

Now, I was there in the flesh for this set… I remember it well and wanted to share some memories to accompany the audio. Happy Birthday y’all.


0m:28s “shocking in the dark… we come through to rock the discotech.”
People talk about the music that came out of FWD>> at Plastic People but one of the key ingredients of the venue was its sense of focus and that very much came from how dark it was. Regulars had their spot, mine was just left of the pillar directly in front of the decks, but to get to it you risked bashing into people you simply hadn’t seen as you went across the dancefloor. But once in – with the curtain pulled behind you – it was a full sensory experience, total immersion. The physical PP sound system, the low ceiling, low lighting and strong smell of other people’s green.  Shocking in the dark…

1m08s “this one built like a Sherman…”

This is bassweight rudeboy, what do you know about that?

1m58s “Some understanding…”
What I like most about this set, and indeed most of the sets of this era, is that there was this sense of understanding between all the key participants. Here, two old friends were writing their own destiny together, build on a strong sense of who they were but also who they weren’t in relation to the other. If one went ying, it was yang time – especially production wise. 
This sense of understanding extended to most of the key producers of this era and how they interacted with each other. This music was made to be played together, they all knew they were contributing to the sound that was being built. But yet equally there was a repulsion as well as attraction interaction happening: people were very protective of their sounds and their spaces; it was massively frowned on to clone one another (even if copying/mutating/being inspired by – implicitly or explicitly – is a massive driver of scene-based musical progress). I remember Loefah saying he couldn’t use an arpeggio or an arpegiator after Skream wrote “Request Line” and “Tapped”, despite the fact that Olly had hardly invented 1-3-5-8. 
So it was set in this atmosphere that music was set: D1 had his trance-y sound, Loefah the dark deadly halfstep, Mala caused upward percussive euphoria, Coki that jump up insanity, Skream could turn his hand to so many styles (jazzy, warm, breaky, jump up, grimey and the aforementioned arpeggios), Kode went on his own abstract plane. People had an understanding of each other, but only some understanding. There was commonality but differentiation, dialog but distance, attraction but repulsion. Some understanding.
2m:33s “Head nodding ish that break your neck…”
It’s also worth noting that “Disko Rekah”, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Loefah (From my 2009 interview with him: “To be honest when I lost my confidence it was the middle of 2007. I started writing tunes like “Disco Wrekka.” I think that’s utter bullshit that tune. Terrible…”) 

A tune he hated and came to represent something he didn’t like in his music writing, be that a familiar pattern or an urge to appease dancefloor impact that he wasn’t comfortable with. It just seems crazy that even here, at dubstep’s creative peak – the beginning of the journey for so many fans, way way more that had come before this time – contained the beginning of the end for Loe.
3m:04s “Loefy, for Skream, jack it…”

I can remember Skream at this set, lurking in the tiny cramped space behind the decks. You really had to be VVIP to go in there, not least because you were basically on top of everyone in it, including the DJs playing.
And in a word association, even though it’s Pokes on the mic, the line “jack it” reminds me so much of FWD’s core host, Crazy D, and immortal post-rewind line “’taters on that as we jackit” [Jacket potatoes… get it?]. The Crazy D lexicon: did anyone ever write that down? I swear 9 and I promised a thousand times we would… wastemen.
4m:02s “all the gang working with the angles… spread ‘em”

Angles: elbows, shoulders, knees, toes… acute, oblique, in motion. Shocking out in the dark.

4m:54s “all you’ve gotta do is say ‘yes’…I’m about to let you know…”  “in come Mala”

Mmm Mala “Say Yes refix” [unsure of its official name...]. In a scene rich in deadly bass specialists, this refix always was a breath of fresh air. And that – despite the “formula” perception that seemed to get passed on to the next generations in later years – was the point. That beyond a tempo and an interest in bass, anything was possible and indeed encouraged to be brought to the table.
7m:47s “MALA! FWD?!! Some dirty digital… FWD>> THASS A PULLUP! THASS A PULLUP! Ready for the raw skanage. Sarah Soulja.”

Now, I’m not sure why he name checks her right there, beyond the fact that she was in the venue and probably reaching for the reload, but let me tell you about Sarah Soulja. 
Sarah Soulja doesn’t want to be written about. I mean, she probably won’t be angry at me for this, but I know for a fact she wouldn’t invite me to write about her, she’s too modest, too shy and more to the point, too eye-wateringly busy.

But without Soulja there would be no dubtep; literally.

Now I’m not going to dwell on her, mostly because she’d be embarrassed and wouldn’t want me to, but let me just quickly list the incredible things Soulja has done within music – the ones I know of at least. 
She’s worked in seminal vinyl emporium Blackmarket, for distribution companies (a thankless but key task for vinyl), worked in publishing (helped Dizzee, Ms Dynamite, Zed Bias, So Solid get deals, to name but a few).

She co-founded Ammunition (with Neil Jolliffe), the company that cradled dubstep before there was dubstep and ran Tempa, Soulja records, Road, Rinse recordings.

She started & runs FWD>>.  She co-runs Rinse FM with Geeneus and fought for years to get them their legal licence (see the emotional video below). She manages Skream. I’m pretty sure she’s behind Katy B’s success.

I know she’ll probably lightly hate me for this haha, but c’mon Sarah, credit where credit’s due, yeah?

8m:47s “FWD>> gang with the energy, calling all…”
As well as falling in love with the music, one of the things I really began to love about FWD>> parties was their multiculturalism. Obviously a community began to form around this music that everyone else told us was shit or would never work but communities can take many forms, often quite homogenous. FWD>> was entirely opposite. There were guys from Bow, Gee & Slim standing at the back not saying anything, A&Rs, media types, the Croydon lot, the north or north west guys like SLT, Anti Social or LHF, bloggers, even headz from Bristol like Pinch & Pev. Ms Dynamite came a few times, Normski even turned up once, making a fool of himself by telling Dusk he had “all those records” when Oris Jay had just played an hour of his own dubs. It was a real blend of people and in a city that looks multicultural but in fact has quite a few glass ceilings, I came to really value the diversity of people to chat to.

10m:08s “Out to Cluekid”


Just a small point here, but you know all this 130/jungly/Special Request/Etch/DetBoi stuff we’re on right now? Well Cluekid, LD and Skream were doing that in 2006 at ~140bpm. Obviously I love all the new wave of these beats, I think they bring some rhythmic chaos to the dance, but I’m just sayin’…
11m:47s “All gang getting red inside Plastic…”

The funny thing is, as a non smoker (of any kind), I actually miss smokey clubs a bit. It sorta (literally) added to the atmosphere, if not over the top. Maybe I might feel differently about this when I die in my ‘50s of lung cancer, but as an occasional vibe to be part of, it worked. Medically irrational I know I know…
13m:45s “All crazy legs… first one to do the caterpillar…”

Amazing how Loefah can get a rewind just for his intro beat; his snares, kicks are that heavy they demand the pullup. Or how just “I don’t give a shit” it is to go straight in with the sub, no intro waffle.
And in these hits you can hear past echoes of where the Swamp sound would go. Halfstep 140 beats + 80s hip hop samples classic drum machines hits > drum machine grooves, albeit now at a house tempo. In fact when I spoke to Loefah at Outlook this year, I half remember him saying a lot of his guys were trying halfstep hits (at the Swamp tempo). Connections… cycles… we go back to go FWD>>.

14m:10s “Straight out the bin bags. It’s just like man kicked over a wheelie bin. Who brung a wheelie bin into the dance?”

This is Pokes riffing on “filth”, but it’s really unique the way he does it. It’s not bars, he’s not rhythmically spitting like a full MC would or even a more fluid host like Crazy D or Shantie might. He’s just dropping in little mental fragments; narrative samples that act and react to the music and the crowd, help form those connections & feedback loops.

Wait what: connections & cycles again? ;)

16m:43s “Loefy run the border/this one chew up your tape recorder…”

The thing about dubstep, since it’s inception in 2000, with Ghost’s “The Club”, Horsepower’s Tempa 001, Oris, Zed, Artwork etc, is that it spans a period of massive technological change in society. There have been many seismic shifts in societies before, but I don’t know how many technological shifts this large that there’s been in Western society in the last 100 or so years (quite happy to be wrong on this, not my field…). We’ve gone from an era at Ghost 001 of DAT tapes, cassettes, vinyl, landline phones, “Personal Computers”, a touch of dial up internet but infrequently so, print magazines, CDs to… well, where do we start? 

Always & everywhere 4G data connectivity, the ability to communicate or reach nearly everyone at any time, the ability to self express (1-to-1, 1-to-few, 1-to-many/world) effortlessly (email, What’s App, Facebook, Twitter, blogger/Tumblr/Medium, Instagram, SoundCloud) not to mention all the technology underneath that allow us to connect and mashup/remix like APIs etc.
I think the impact of technology on music scenes is a much, much bigger piece than this and much harder to evaluate while we’re in the eye of the storm, but it’s fun hearing Pokes say “tape recorder”, because even by 2006 such things were an old school cultural reference (MP3s had emerged), yet 5 years before when dubstep emerged you’d still record pirate radio on tape because while high definition formats were available for sale, they weren’t easy to create. And DAT machines, well, they’d BetaMax’d themselves, the bastion of expensive studio owners.
But I think the point here is about how cultural references get passed down by central figures, be they MCs, between generations. You can sorta see that now with emerging (and talented) DJs like Parris and Riz La Teef cutting dubplates, actual acetate dubplates in 2014, despite the total anathema that is Technics not making decks anymore or clubs maintaining their decks in working order. It’s like the idea of dubplates, not (just) the concept of them of a tight selection process, but the act of cutting, being seen to cut, to be seen to mix with them (a much more interesting visual process than mixing with CDs btw), has been passed down via the dubstep next generations.
This is just like the hoards of music producers want their music on vinyl despite the fact that the digital audience for their music is 10x, 100x, 1000x maybe even 100,000x the vinyl audience (total vinyl sales crossed 1m in the UK this year yet 1 YouTube vid can get 1m views easily. Sales =! views but you know what I mean...).
And so maybe MCs play their part in passing those memes down (as much as key producers do/did), as well as a looser, harder to define role in sharing language, slang, cultural memes.

17m:42s “I got lost in listening to that riddim… sorry man I was lost for a minute, you have to forgive me”
A lot’s been said about DMZ’s “meditate on bass weight” slogan, emblazoned on their flyers, and personally I never really liked the hippy/religious overtones of “meditate” but there always was something in that line, something quite deceptively subversive to prevailing dance music paradigms.  I don’t think it would be over stating things to say that 99% of the records played by DJs are played with the intent to hype the audience up, to encourage motion or gain an energetic reaction; I mean, this is dance music after all. 
But in the halfstep/full time rhythmic tension and the huge basslines over serious, physical systems, dubstep dared to hold you in stasis rather than force you to react. 
But further to my point earlier about the progression of technology - audiences consuming music via shitty iPhone in-ear headphones (they filter out even mid bass, you noticed?), laptop & smartphone speakers, audiences unable to reach good soundsystems – much of this was lost or lost on crowds too large.

I miss it though and try to recreate it when possible when DJing, no matter how excruciating it can feel to play a beatless tune to start with or a palate cleanser just when your set is rolling. Because it just feels cool…. Not cool as in ‘fashionable’ but cool as in comfortable with self or lightly introspective.  Even as a non smoker this feels right, in the right place and space. Any guy can play a banger.
25m:30s Vex’d “Third Choice (Loefah remix)”

Between this and “Mud” I think they may be my favourite Loefah beats. “Mud” is near perfect reductionism but the thumb pianos/marimbas in Third Choice refix are personal.
27m:06s Mala "Learn"

^ My dub of "Learn"

Oi neckbeard, even the hi hats in Mala’s “Learn” intro are sicker than your best dub’s best bit. Seckle down.
“Learn” is one of the greatest rhythmic constructions I’ve ever heard. Words fail me… I’m not even going to try,

Though check who was lost for words at the time: Skream, Ben UFO, Bass Clef, Deamonds (Night Slugs), Dan Hancox, Corpsey, Elgato (Hessle))

30m:30s “Burnin’… PULLUP”
Man, you couldn’t escape this track for a period.

32m:52s “Burnin’ refix” into “Anti War Dub”>>

Can you feel the acceleration here? Back in '05 I wrote about this, the way that different rhythmic densities accelerated or decelerated the momentum and what was so creative about this time wasn’t just that there were interesting beat patterns or energy plateaus in the up, level or down arcs, but that you could zig zag between them all, creating these rushes or implosion. I still aim for that now: just having one arc, drum pattern type or energy level is dull.
34m:54s wait, “Anti War Dub VIP”?

VIP dubplate versions at FWD>>. Normal.

37m:27s “Out to Crazy [D], Benny [ill, from Horsepower], man Youngsta…”

All the headz inside.
38m:16s “Goes out to Blackdown…”


43m:01s “Root”

You know, it’s funny that Loefah got so known for the deadly dread halfstep because his early, Big Apple era stuff had this trademark bongo/percussive streak. Of his stuff from this ear, “Root” was one of the most dense in the drum dept. Love it.
44m:12s “Out to Skream & the gang…”

Ollie Jones inside.

46m:52s “when I reach that place…”

The word dubstep comes from two places, a dubbier/darker variant of 2step garage, but also the “dub” (instrumental) version side of the vocal a-side, both of reggae and garage. As such vocal tunes were the exception rather than the rule but this one really stood out. I heard it here and I heard it shortly after at DMZ and remember asking Mala about it and him saying words to the effect of “this must have hit people differently, since everyone’s asking me about it…”.

Funny how certain tunes have certain breakthrough moments.


L-->R Jammer, JME, Wiley, Pokes, Mala on deck, FWD>>, Plastic People.


L->R Bobak, Crazy D, Skepta, Pokes, Wiley, Heny G, Toast, Yunx


56m:07s “out to Soulsnatch”
Now Soulsnatch was a lesser known nickname of blogger Drums of the South, aka photographer Infinite, formally known as Georgina Cook, my visual counterpart for much of the mid to peak era of dubstep, many of whose shots are on this piece.

For a visual document of the DMZ era, you need to head over here. I’ve just had full on memory flood looking at these spaces and places again. Again: putting Georgie’s work into context is an entire blogpost in itself. For now, enjoy.

 1h:01m:12s “It gets deeper… FWD>> IT GETS DEEPER STILL! FWD>> WHO SAYS PULLUP? Who says ‘appy birthday to Skream?”
1h:07m:57s “Out to Shackleton up front…”
The funny thing is about Shack is his music is pretty damn serious. When I saw him play (later) at Plastic People, I pretty much had to leave the dancefloor it was pushing those pleasure/pain barriers. And of course now he’s an internationally revered producer. But him and Appleblim were just the guys who skanked wildly down the front for the longest time. And in person he’s pretty shy. Rhythm will do that to ya I guess.
1h:17m:54s “The lockoff…”

The lights came on, they had to drag us out.


Enjoyed this? Here's some links to...  

1. All my Pitchfork columns.
2. Our latest Rinse show, full of fresh dark rolling dubs (tracklist here).
3. Older interviews with Mala n Loefah, Loefah, Loefah and Kryptic Minds
 Burial, Burial again, Skream and Shackleton.