VAR­I­OUS ARTISTS Blow Your Head: Di­plo Presents Dub­step

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

(Down­town/Mad De­cent) Dub­step is the strange love child of bass-heavy Ja­maican dub and the fren­zied sound of Bri­tish new rave. Born in un­der­ground London clubs in the late 1990s, the style has only re­cently gone main­stream with a num­ber of high-pro­file rap­pers and R&B singers re­leas­ing dub­step remixes of their hits. Di­plo, a pro­ducer of sev­eral forms of un­der­ground club mu­sic, col­lects some of the scene’s biggest hits here. Un­for­tu­nately, even for die-hard club kids, the purer strains of dub­step are a hard taste to ac­quire. The mu­sic swaps the in­stantly dance­able “four on the floor” beats for jerky rhythms that barely fol­low the grind­ing bass lines that drive the mu­sic. The best tracks on this al­bum seem to bor­row from other gen­res. “Hold On,” a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the scene’s su­per­star DJ Rusko and Dirty Pro­jec­tors vo­cal­ist Am­ber Coff­man, couches dub­step’s trade­mark bass squelches in­side an un­de­ni­able pop melody and Coff­man’s lilt­ing vo­cals. Lit­tle Jin­der’s “Youth Blood” mixes its down-and-dirty dub sound with the soar­ing synths of clas­sic disco. It’s the rare dub­step track that sounds more up­lift­ing than para­noid. As this com­pi­la­tion shows, for dub­step to thrive, it must do some­thing other than show­case the pro­duc­tion skills of DJs to make haunt­ing, mu­tated beats. If it re­ally in­tends to be party mu­sic, it must an­swer the ques­tion that has al­ready spawned dozens of YouTube videos and thou­sands of Google searches: “How do you dance to dub­step?” — Casey Sanchez

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