Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Various Artists, Elevator Music

Elevator Music is a collection of music from various artists that is intended to illustrate the range and variety of music that is either being influenced by dubstep or that maybe dubstep is morphing into.  It is a very interesting collection that has more – much more – than its fair share of winners.

Casual listeners can be forgiven for thinking dubstep is no more than the current hot blonde of the dance music scene.  Another month, another arcane genre.  While dance music tends to spawn genres and subgenres like a politician spawns lies, dubstep is looking more and more like the real deal.  Dubstep tends to emphasize sub bass frequencies coupled with irregular rhythms and, at least in the beginning, the use of samples.  It is largely instrumental.  Listeners interested in an introduction might be interested in the two disc 5 Years of Hyperdub collection from one of the labels that led the way in releasing dubstep.  The approach has proven remarkably adaptable and more and more often is being integrated with other types of dance music.

Elevator Music provides an excellent window into the exciting things electronic music producers and DJs are doing with the musical ideas and production techniques of dubstep.  The most familiar artist to me on Elevator Music is Martyn based on his recent mix Fabric 49 mix which I very much enjoyed.  His track “Friedrichstrasse” is the only one to appear on both Elevator Music and Fabric 49.  While the other musicians on Elevator Music aren’t as familiar to me now, they will be in future because  pretty much every track on the album is interesting.  The CD opens with Hot City’s “If That’s How I Feel” which immediately breaks the mold by incorporating vocals (albeit as rhythmic elements).  It’s a terrific track that sets up high expectations which are then fulfilled by the rest of the set.  The second track is Xxxy’s “Sing With Us” which repeats the word “listen” as a commanding refrain over a rhythm track that both stumbles and has a deep forward-moving groove.  The demand that you listen is perfect for Elevator Music as every track has something to tell you.

Elevator Music is released by Fabric Records who are calling it Volume 1.  I have no idea what they may have planned for Volume 2 but based on what we have here, it’s something to look forward to.  Elevator Music is a very good collection of cutting edge music.

Untold’s “Bad Girls”  – the “ooh!” knocks me out every time I hear it

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06/24/2010 Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , , | Leave a comment

Review: Various Artists, 5 Years of Hyperdub

We go through a lot of music in our house and the new material is coming in faster than I can review it which means the piles of CDs on the living room table are getting out of hand.  Rather than just shelve discs unreviewed I’m going to try  doing some short reviews that are designed to let you know what’s on the disc without going into a lot of detail.  This is my first stab at the shorter format.

Hyperdub is a London record label that specializes in dubstep, a currently very popular genre of electronic music that emphasizes sub-bass ( a lot of sub bass), sparse beats and samples.  The general dubstep approach has proven to be very fertile and admits of an increasingly diverse range of music.

Hyperdub was one of the record labels that first championed dubstep and 5 Years of Hyperdub is a two disc label compilation released on their 5th anniversary.  Tracks are not presented in any kind of chronological order, in fact Hyperdub’s early successes like Kode9’s “9 Samurai” and Burial’s “South London Burroughs” lead off the second disc.  The first disc is given over to a wide range of current tracks that provides a good illustration of how wide ranging dubstep is becoming.

5 Years of Hyperdub is an excellent collection that provides a very nice introduction to dubstep for listeners who may be unfamiliar with the genre and are looking to find out about it.  If this is a new type of music for you, it helps to listen with open ears and give these two discs several listens before coming to any hard and fast conclusions.  It also helps to listen on a sound system that is capable of producing subsonic bass.

Darkstar’s “Aidy’s Girl’s a Computer” from 5 Years of Hyperdub

06/01/2010 Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , , , , , | 1 Comment