music is math…

New Music

Monthly Mixtape – December

A bumper end of year Monthly Mixtape including Portishead, Erik Satie and a whole load of stuff in between.

Click here for the Spotify playlist and enjoy…


From Dub to Dubstep

While dubstep evolved from Jamaican dub reggae in a somewhat indirect fashion, its pioneers quickly found their darker instrumental garage cuts also suited the principles of dub music production.

And so dubstep as we now know it was born. Heavy bass drops, sparse rhythms, ragga-style vocals and, of course, massive sound systems have since become staples of the sound, even as producers experiment with a wider selection of influences.

As UK garage and drum and bass became more commercial, dubstep appealed to those looking for a style more faithful to the origins of dance music production.

Just as producers such as King Tuby and Lee Perry worked at mixing desks in the 1970s to create a visceral mix of stripped back bass and drums, a new sound was now developing based on these principles as well as incorporating influences from all kinds of electronic music and beyond.

Dubstep has been embraced by traditional reggae and dub communities all over the country, from the streets of South London to nights like SubDub in Leeds. Even “The Upsetter” himself, Lee Perry, recently collaborated with several dubstep acts to rework his seminal Blackboard Jungle Dub album.

As this short film shows, interest in the links between dub and dubstep are reaching new levels. This month sees the start of the ‘Dub to Dubstep’ tour, with backing from organisations including Black Routes and Arts Council England, which will see the Channel One Sound System tearing up venues from Bristol to Leeds.

30 years ago, Channel One started taking their sounds to new audiences outside the Caribbean communities of London and have since toured all over the world as well as playing the Notting Hill Carnival for over 25 consecutive years!

Now they will be performing alongside the people they helped influence as a host of exciting dub and dubstep acts join them in celebrating their 30th anniversary. Check out Kromestar’s ‘Hungry Dub’ for a taste of what’s in store…

There is a playlist to go with this post but as Spotify’s rubbish for dubstep (and dance music in general, sadly) it’s not as good as I would have liked. Apologies, but there’s still some good stuff on there (from Mad Professor to Digital Mystikz), just click the Spotify Music tab at the top and download away!

What on Earth is Thom Yorke doing?

A couple of moths ago I wrote here saying how Radiohead were recording new material and were once again set to confound the music industry by releasing their music in a radical way. I’m sorry to have to say that this never really happened, with the exception of one free song, ‘These are my Twisted Words‘.

The weeks following this release have seen the band confound not so much the music industry, but its own legions of fans. Normally, Radiohead entering the studio with Nigel Godrich generally results in the band emerging with some new songs and playing some shows.

What has actually happened is odd to say the least. Radiohead’s latest sessions have indeed resulted in new songs and gigs, however these have mostly been in Thom Yorke’s name.

While it was unclear what Yorke and co. would do next, I doubt anyone predicted a live performance of The Eraser in Los Angeles with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing bass.

The “supergroup” is an almost invariably disappointing notion, which is why many are still a little apprehensive of this move. This seems different though, it seems to have been born out of ambition and creativity rather than arrogance. Just as interesting is the prospect of more solo work from Johnny Greenwood and the other members of the band.

These are uncertain but exciting times for the band and their fans. At a time when music is often predictable and uninteresting, Thom Yorke has again proved himself to be the master of surprise.