Dubstep understandably gets a lot of negative attention these days, and generally it seems quite difficult to find people who absolutely love the “wub wub wub” style of dubstep anymore – with its excessive build-ups and massive drops around every corner. Instead, it’s worth noting that the very broad genre of dubstep also has its own alternative scene that’s not contrived and casts electronic music in a refreshing and enjoyable light. While UK-Garage took much of its influence from 90s house music along with R&B and early jungle music, Future Garage goes past UK-Garage to also incorporate elements of dubstep, 2-step garage, IDM and techno into its music. These are some of the musicians you ought to be following along with some prominent labels carrying the some of the best electronic musicians to date.
Mount Kimbie – Would Know – Crooks & Lovers – Hotflush Recordings (HFCD004)
The 2010 debut full-length LP by London-based duo Dominic Maker and Kai Campos starts off strong with a handsome rhythm with deep bass influence. The rhythm is light and delicate, influenced by 2-step garage music and isn’t overly saturated by the bass. Yet the bass still exists in the background, awash in an ambient sort of atmosphere and texture. The use of field recordings is apparent throughout Crooks & Lovers, and in the song “Would Know”, they are used to build and excellent layer of rhythms that sophisticate and liven what would normally be very boring bass or dubstep-influenced music.
Check out Mount Kimbie on SoundCloud.
Burial – Kindred – Kindred – Hyperdub (HDB059)
Burial and Hyperdub Records are two household names that anyone into electronic music can appreciate. London-based William Emmanuel Bevan has established a firm and well-respected reputation within the electronic music community and music critics. Much like Mount Kimbie, the bass influences remain, but Burial instead chooses to incorporate elements of ambient, 2-step, UK-Garage and even some Future Garage into his music. His rhythms are light as well, yet are carefully and quite tastefully saturated with bass elements bringing his music back to the essential elements of dubstep.
Burial’s 2012 Kindred EP is obviously no exception to that. Nearly eleven and a half minutes long, the title track, “Kindred”, starts with a beautiful ambient entrance with soft female vocals. The 2-step rhythm begins, sounding very clean. Not to oversaturate the rhythm, a deep bass begins as a counterpoint to the main rhythm. The bass eventually levels out to provide long and droning bass harmonies that really add substance and life to Burial’s music. The bass mostly subsides and the ambient harmony takes over to close out possibly one of Burial’s best tracks from one of his best EPs.
Sepalcure – He Said No – Make You – Hotflush Recordings (HF039)
Take the best of Praveen Sharma (Praveen & Benoît) and Travis Stewart (Machinedrum) and you have a really fun electronic duo known as Sepalcure. Their 2011 debut self-titled LP is highly recommended, but their latest 2013 EP, Make You, takes the 2-step and bass influences (is it even dubstep at this point?) and combines it with light and dreamy field recording vocals. The 2-step influenced rhythm doesn’t really focus on the bass, and it’s quite refreshing instead to hear simple guitar melodies take its place. Yet you still hear that bass rhythm in the background, which adds substance to the listening experience.
123mrk – Unrest – Noname EP – Infinite Machine (IM004)
Marseille-based producer 123mrk has really made a name in the Future Garage music scene. His 2011 debut EP, Noname, utilizes powerful bass rhythms that are vigorously refreshing. In particular, “Unrest” blends manipulated vocals with deep and forceful bass harmonies. The rhythm in the track is great, but it’s that blending of vocals with the bass that really makes it such a wonderful song. Supported by the up and coming Montréal-based label, Infinite Machine, Noname is no doubt one of Infinite Machine’s strongest releases to date.
Check out Infinite Machine on SoundCloud.
Anyone feeling as though they had been cheated out of their drops and build-ups should look elsewhere to get their fix. The music listed here is smart, fresh and does things with elements of bass and dubstep that are unparalleled to even the biggest names in mainstream dubstep.