Monday, June 6, 2011
I’m not quite sure what to say about this one. For starters, I, uh, I love Justin Vernon. Big fucking surprise there, who doesn’t. Nothing better than a scraggle-haired hipster on a nylon string-thing that can actually make you feel something. I’ve been a huge fan of his Blood Bank EP on rainy days or in the arms of someone special, of “The Wolves” off of For Emma, Forever Ago while enjoying a smoke in the dog park with my best friends, and of his contribution to Dark Was the Night in “Brackett, WI” as I raced through a very crowded Grand Central on the way to track 42, night after night. In any setting, when you’re in any mood, and no matter where you are – Vernon is a beacon of chill. Nothing stands in his way. With his softest harmonies and sweetest words (Only love is all maroon, lapping lakes like leary loons, leaving rope burns - reddish ruse), Vernon via Bon Iver might be just what you want to hear, always. In the simplest of terms – his sound makes you happy, calm. Happycalm. Need I say more?
To be perfectly honest, Bon Iver’s new self-title leaves me feeling clever and sleepy, for lack of better adjectives. Holocene is my current favorite – I love how Vernon has grown in this album, and this track shows it best in my opinion. The static-like marching drums in combination with a sultry piano and wood instrument is beautiful – the perfect addition to an already uniquely soothing sound off this record. Michicant is another favorite, hypnotizing but somehow shocking, revealing a much more ambitious side to Vernon that works quite well.
Brace yourself for much less acoustic and romantic Vernon. It might be a lot to let go of for some of the die hard fans (many of which I’ve encountered), but I think it’s incredible to see an artist like Vernon consecutively produce great albums that show great progression and risk in the creative process, from album to album. Reminds me a lot of the way Beck and Radiohead have grown. We’ll see.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Here we are ladies and gents, June 2011. The year is almost halfway through and its already been almost three months since the last state of Dubstep I wrote in early March...crazy shit. Anyhow, this article is devoted to the last three months in Dubstep in terms of hot tracks, trends, developments, news, etc. You don't wanna miss this one Dubheads.
The Last SOD there was a big focus on American artists and how couldn't there have been, they dominated the winter of 2010/2011. Skrillex was dropping a track pretty much every week, 12th Planet had just released a couple of sweet remix's, and Zeds Dead's new singles were in. Thats not been the case in the last few months. Sure, Skrillex is still a single's maniac, but this last few months has seen a return to the big English names in Dubstep. I can't say I'm sad to see it.
This is in no small part thanks to BBC Radio One's newest Dubstep driven show, In New DJ's We Trust. No single DJ hosts the show twice in a row which has allowed for incredible guests like Plastician. However, the real hero's of the show are Dubstep Icons Skream and Benga. Everyone should recognize these two from their uber-prolific solo careers as well as comprising two thirds of Magnetic Man, a UK based electronic group with several top 25 hits in Great Britain. They host approximately one episode a month and they are pretty much guaranteed to be the strongest. In it they premier new tracks from DJ's as well known as Rusko and as obscure as superginger as well as premiering new drops of their own. While not all of the DJ's are from the UK (both Skrillex and 12th Planet have made appearances), the vast majority are from British soil.
In New DJ's we trust isn't anything brand new, its been around since November of 2010. It's just only in the last few months that its really made waves on both sides of the Atlantic. The tracks aren't what some of have to expect of British producers, dark menacing tracks without any dance club potential (see early Skream and Benga). While most of the music isn't as wobble and scratch centric as the American brand of Dubstep it still delivers with catchy, accessible beats.
Take Bristol's Joker, who recently dropped the first track from his upcoming album, a number entitled "The Vision (Breathe In)" featuring fellow UK native Jessie Ware on the vocals. Its big, its bass driven, but its 100% danceable, arguably the catchiest track with Jokers name on it and certainly his most poppy original (his remix's tend to be more danceable). While Joker has never been the most brooding of the UK hyperdub lot, the direction his single took reflects the larger direction Dubstep has seemed to be heading. If you look at the UKF's Dubstep geared Youtube page, you'll notice that every other track seems to have a female hook in it somewhere. This is completely unlike, say, 2006, when it was pretty rare to find vocals on anyone's tracks. Camo and Krooked, Skism, all these guys are headed more and more towards the dancefloor.
The fanbase will always find something to hate in a genre despite their love for it. Already sellout accusations are being hurled left and right as OG's seem to be shifting their direction. Strange thing about all of it is how natural the transition seems to be. Joker, Skream, Benga, Zomby, these are guys who have been making the same dark bassy music for the last half decade or more. And while they definitely maintain some of their roots (see Skream and Bengas track output on In New DJ's We Trust), it probably gets stale after awhile. There is something intensely appealing about dropping a track at a concert and immediately seeing people hit the floor and dance, no need to feel out the slower passages.
Where will Dubstep go next? My guess is its already headed their. The dirty beats will remain intact, but vocal driven tracks will increase along with the general dance floor appeal of the genre. My biggest hope is that fan's will maintain open minds in remembering this is a genre of boundary breaking progression and that to complain about it selling out only serves to leave it stagnant like so many past genres, electronic and otherwise.
Be cool guys, and keep listening.
Here are a handful of the dopest tracks that dropped in the past few months. Enjoy safely!
The Vision (Breathe In) - Joker ft. Jessie Ware
Joker - The Vision (feat. Jessie Ware) by KineticMuzik
All Fall Down ft. Shaz Sparks - Camo and Krooked (A longer version can be found via Youtube)
Camo & Krooked - All Fall Down feat. Shaz Sparks (Original Mix) by Camo & Krooked
Strange Behavior - Feed Me ft. Tasha Baxter
Feed Me Feat. Tasha Baxter - Strange Behaviour by Twiks
Unknown - Dream and Integral
Integral and Dream-Unknown(Skream Benga Radio 1 Rip) by integral3rd
Promises - Nero Ft. Sub Focus
Nero ft. Sub Focus - Promises by TaKoHANDz
Things Fall Apart - Zomby ft. Panda Bear
Zomby - Things Fall Apart [ft. Panda Bear] by pipppo
Enjoy this one friends. I'll try to write more.