Posts Tagged 2010s

Drumstep

Drumstep is a dance-floor friendly variant of Drum n Bass which rose to prominence in the 2000s and 2010s in the UK and is still an underground and commercial success.  Drumstep is defined as being highly synthed, heavy and grimey basslines, but its defining feature is that it is halfstepped.

Drumstep is not to be confused with Dubstep, which is often the case.  Dubstep has tempos of around 130-150 BPM whereas Drumstep has tempos of 175-185 BPM, and often has sections of Jump-Up and Upfront Drum and Bass to add variety into the tunes.

Originally it wasn’t defined as a subgenre, it was simply known as halfstepped Drum and Bass, but with the rise of Dubstep, it was required it be defined to separate the 2 genres.

Popular artists known for Drumstep are artists such as Skrillex, Knife Party, Nero, et al.

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Brostep

Brostep is a term coined in America as the new manifestation of Dubstep over in America.  The term brostep has been used by some as a pejorative descriptor for a style of popular Americanised Dubstep. Dubstep purists have levelled criticism at Brostep because of its preoccupation with “hard” and aggressive sounding timbres.  U.S. and Canadian artists often drew inspiration from British producers who tended to work less with sub-bass and more with mid-range sounds such as Rusko and Vex’d.  Rusko himself has claimed in an interview on BBC Radio 1Xtra that “Brostep is sort of my fault, but now I’ve started to hate it in a way… It’s like someone screaming in your face for an hour… you don’t want that.”

Brostep has the similar beat patters as Dubstep, but with less usage of the sub-bass and much more usage of heavily processed mid-bass and synths to produce a very “thick” sound.  Usage of sine waves to give the “computer speak” noises is also very popular in Brostep.

Brostep has very little in ways of Dubstep influences, no Jamaican or Caribbean roots, and in some Dubstep producers minds has turned its back on its roots – which is always a sure sign of the genre not being around for long.

 

 

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Chill Out

Chill out music emerged in the early and mid-1990s in “chill rooms” at dance clubs, where relaxing music was played to allow dancers a chance to “chill out” from the more emphatic and fast-tempo music played on the main dance floor.

The genres associated with chill-out are mostly ambient, trip-hop, nu jazz, ambient house, New Age and other sub-genres of downtempo. Sometimes the easy listening sub-genre lounge is considered to belong to the chill-out collection as well. Chill out as a musical genre or description is synonymous with the more recently popularized terms “smooth electronica” and “soft techno” and is a loose genre of music blurring into several other very distinct styles of electronic and lo-fi music.

The earliest mentioned “chill out room” was at the legendary Madchester nightspot, Konspiracy.  In these rooms, visitors would find couches, comfortable pillows, psychedelic light shows projecting entrancing images and music that was decidedly downtempo, especially when compared to what was going on a few feet away on the dance floor. Its history began in the UK, with post-punk band The Durutti Column being an abstract influence on the genre in the ’80s. Higher Intelligence Agency (the HIA) helped move the chill room concept from sideshow to main event with their Oscillate chill party events in Birmingham and elsewhere in the early to mid nineties. Their first releases came out on the now defunct Beyond record label and soon thereafter in the U.S. on the Waveform label – who describes the music as ‘exotic electronica.’

In 1990 the KLF released their seminal ambient house album named Chill Out.

A number of compilations with “Chill Out” in their titles were released in the mid-1990s and beyond, helping to establish the genre as being closely related to downtempo and trip hop but also incorporating, especially in the early 2000s, slower tempo varieties of house music, nu-jazz, psybient, and lounge music of approximately 80 to 110bpm . The genre also includes some forms of trance music,ambient music, and IDM, and it has entirely subsumed the older genre Balearic Beat, although that term is still used interchangeably with chill out. Chill out is generally tonal, relaxing (or at least not as “intense” as other music from the styles it draws from), although when used to describe the music played in chillout rooms at raves, it can also encompass extremely psychedelic experimental sounds of great variety.

 

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Drumfunk

Drunkfunk is a subgenre of Drum and Bass which has many origins from all corners of the Drum and Bass spectrum.  Drumfunk takes influences from Rave, Jungle and early Drum and Bass to give a very distinct sound.  It has been around in one form or another since synthesizers were able to chop the standard loops into very small slices so complex drum and bass has been in existance since the mid 1990s, but only with the use of computers to aid production has drumfunk taken ahold.  Drumfunk is a popular subgenre of Drum and Bass all over the world

Drumfunk focuses on extremely complex drum patterns and simple bass, usually with little or no melody over the top of atmospheric ambient sound effects.  It also has very little vocals, and if there are some, it is usually spoken, traditionally taken from films.  All these combined give Drumfunk a very “pure” sound, it literally is Drums and Bass.

Pioneers and champions of Drumfunk are artists such as Seba, Fanu, ParadoxNucleus and Equinox.

On a personal note, Drumfunk is fucking awesome.

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Dubstep

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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