Archive for February, 2013


Dubstep originates from London as an organic merging of Drum n Bass, Garage and Dub.  Originally as experimental B-sides of 2-step garage, but gained commercial momentum when the sound was championed by John Peel on BBC Radio 1 from 2003-2004.  Artists such as Photek, Wordsound Germany, Plasticman and Loefah were early pioneers of the genre, exploring how Dubstep can be presented.

Dubsteps format is syncopated with a large use of tuplets and shuffled rhythms, averaging to about 140BPM.  The signature of Dub – that being the hard and strong snare/clap is ever present in Dubstep, but with far less reverb usually.  Dubstep has a very dark and minor vibe, usually with minimal vocals, and if there are, usually spoken or rapped.

The most famous part of Dubstep is the bassline.  Due to the slow bass and snare hits, there is a lot of room in between for creativity in the bassline dubbed the “Wobble”  This is a bassline, usually a saw or sine being put through an oscillator and various other filters to give it a grimy and dark timbre.

Towards the end of the 2000s Dubstep was receiving worldwide play, and becoming endemic in pop songs.  With artists like Britney Spears, Rihanna and Snoop Dogg releasing singles and albums with a heavy Dubstep influence.  The height of Dubstep in its original form would be at the end of the 2000s with artists such as Magnetic Man, Nero and Skrillex.  The latter artists have sinced redevloped its sound and their signature productions are no longer considered Dubstep – in a severe pigeon holing context and is explored in Post-dubstep, Brostep and other sub genres.


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Hardstyle originates from Holland in the late 1990s, and takes its influences from hard trance, gabber, and hard house.  These 3 styles blended together makes Hardstyles signature sound.

Hardstyle is recognised as having a highly compressed kick drum, and a reverse bass that is on the offbeat, approximately 140 BPM.  It also utilises short vocal (usually female) samples, and early forms of Hardstyle were very similar to techno.  During the mid 2000s it becale slightly more melodic using more trance-like riffs and synths.

The most famous part of Hardstyle is the way of dancing to it.  Becoming extremely popular in The Netherlands, its  almost like a shuffle, where the moves are done to the exact beat shown here:



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Acid House

Acid house is a derivative of house music that originates from Chicago in the mid 1980s.  It quickly spread into the UK and Europe, where it found a home alongside rave music towards the late 1980s.  Acid house’s signature sound is a repetitive early-trance style which came from Roland synthesizers, namely the 303, 606, 707, 808 and 909 models, and adding lyrics, usually spoken and taken from speeches such as “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr.

There are 2 schools of thought as to how Acid house got its name.  The first is from the style of trip one would get by taking drugs like LSD or MDMA, which were commonplace in clubs at the time.  The second is when this first wave of plagiarism was a hot topic in the press and politics, especially in the UK.  The term “acid burning” is a slang term meaning “to steal.”

The first track to showcase this sound is understood to have been “Acid Trax” by Phuture, which was composed in 1985, but not officially released until 1987, but gained worldwide play by DJs in clubs for those 2 years.  The first actual “Acid house” track to be released was Sleezy D’s “I’ve Lost Control” which was out on vinyl in 1986.

In the UK, Acid house was a key factor in the “Second Summer of Love” in 1988-1989 due to the rise in popularity of psychedelic drugs and the psy-influenced music of Acid house, which saw a noticeable decline of football hooliganism and Acid house gave birth to the rave scene of the early 1990s.

Due to ignorance and possibly fear, the media, more specifically tabloids gave a lot of column inches to the acid house and rave scene, with a large emphasis on the drug use that was happening in the clubs.  The news articles were often composed using bad science and sensationalist headlines such as “10,000 DRUG CRAZED YOUTHS” – The Sun, 1988.  The resulting panic by tabloid readers resulted in a crackdown and Acid house was subsequently banned in shops, radio and TV, which was the beginning of the end for Acid house.  But the underground rave scene lived on.

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Big Beat

Big Beat is commonly understood to have its origins in the UK in the early 1990s which fuse together Breakbeat rhythms, commonly loops from popular music with heavily distorted basslines, and typical synths from the 1990s.

The phrase came from the duo Big Bang who during an interview described their sound as Big Beat leading to the article title “Big Bang in Clubland.  Could BIG BEAT be the 1989 answer to ACID HOUSE?”

The style achieved create commercial success with producers such as The Prodigy, Fat Boy Slim, The Chemical Brothers and Cut La Roc to name a few.  The main reason for their commercial success was the Pop nature of the songs, being short, with a distinct chorus and verse structure with lyrics, and, especially in the USA, the heavy rock influence and samples used attributed to the success of Big Beat.

The style is no longer attributed to any releases, having faded by the turn of the 21st century, but was seen as an important genre as it blended rock and club music and gave rise to greater appreciation of both genres.


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