Monday, January 3, 2011

The Sound of London

The fast developing music genre, dubstep, will dominate American and British music scenes in the coming years. Beginning in the grimy streets of London, dubstep artists gave form to the sound of the British city using a massive oscillating wobble bass, tight echoing drums, and decayed vocal samples. As with any music genre, the artist’s compositions vary greatly, adding to the ever-expanding library of dubstep sounds. An artist such as Rusko goes completely overboard in his sound-scapes, using loud explosions, breaking glass, and fire sirens to overwhelm the listener. While at the other end of the dubstep spectrum, Burial employs dissentient low-key sub-bass in conjunction with haunting vocals and drums in unusual time signatures to create a ghostly feel throughout his music.

Being born and raised in England, and then moving to the United States, I have taken on a different view to dubstep than most Americans. In discussing dubstep with friends, many said that it’s a form of dance music, which is a stance I can completely agree on. However, growing up in the city where the music originated gave me a very different attitude towards dubstep. I believe the music is more about conveying the feel of London to listeners everywhere. 

When Americans think about England, they think top hats, monocles, charming accents and the Royal Family - and these things still exist, I promise! What I believe dubstep artists attempt to communicate through their music though, is the breakdown of these old ideals, and their reformation into a country that runs on cockney slang and the filth of London streets (in the most aesthetically pleasing way of course.) All these artists really want to do, is show just how cheeky London really is. On the flip side, London  harbors a beautiful darker side, which coexists with the grimy London I described just above. Dubstep artist Burial portrays this London through his music more perfectly than I ever could. In essence, dubstep is London's voice, and its screaming at the top of its voice, "Hey, I'm an asshole, but I'm a beautiful one at that."


  1. "I’m not even really sure how the whole British pop music obsession began, but it did. I feel that it happened when I began taking a break from school and was wallowing in my own misery."

    2011, Cody Chavis (Noted blogger)

  2. This sounds really fun. I'm looking to exploring the world of dubstep. Would you consider James Blake part of the dubstep movement? It's like a challenging genre of music to really explore when I listen to gay gay gay music.

  3. I would definitely say he is part of the dub-step movement. He's one of the artists who's moving away from the traditional dub-step style i.e. hard wobble bass etc. However, this is definitely not a bad thing. After all, a genre has to keep progressing and modifying its sound in order to stay fresh and alive. He is making a nice niche for himself within dubstep. His music is real beautiful and inspiring, I love it.

    Thanks for the comment, Cody :)

  4. It's fun to hear a different point of view on London. Congrats! You've peaked my interest.

  5. James, you need to come to my room sometime and try out Lilt Rider. It's made by Gaijin Games (the guys who do the bit.___ series.) It's a music game consisting entirely of dubstep.