Song of the moment. Soooooo goooooood.
Burial - “Stolen Dog”
That’s right - as if the recently released Burial/Four Tet/Thom Yorke double A-side single wasn’t enough, Kode 9’s Hyperdub label has just released the first new solo Burial material since 2007 (no April Fool’s).
The Street Halo EP features three new tracks, all combining some of those signature, echoey, processed vocals on top dark, ambient shuffling but in a decidedly 2011 tone. The new generation of U.K. electronic music makers like Jamie xx and Koreless are clearly indebted to the sounds from Burial’s classic, Untrue. So it’s as perfect of a time as any for the master to come back out of the shadows and add his touch to the new wave dubstep-influenced electronic music .
(via hypem)6,653 plays
Thom Yorke/Burial/Four Tet - Mirror
Supergroup alert. This song premiered during a Four Tet vs Floating Points live mix on London’s Rinse.fm today. Hearing Thom Yorke over Burial’s signature drum programming sounds like the logical extension of Radiohead’s more dance-oriented style on King of the Limbs. I’m into it.
The track will be released on March 21 as a vinyl only 12” on Four Tet’s Text label. Unsurprisingly, it seems that the release sold out within one day on pre-order sales alone (based on this and this). However, given that Burial and Four Tet have released tracks together in the past, I’m hopeful that it’s not the last time this trio will be working together, either.
Jamie Woon - Night Air
New material by Burial, aka your favorite producer’s favorite producer. I wish there was an instrumental.
Dubstep, arguably the UK’s most vibrant club music genre right now, recently spawned its first two British top 10 hits:
Katy B & Benga - Katy On a Mission
(currently #5 in the UK singles chart, entered 3 weeks ago at #8)
Magnetic Man - I Need Air
(entered 7 weeks ago at #10, still in the top 40)
The two successful releases have one common denominator: Benga, a 22-year old producer and DJ from Croydon, South London, who has been releasing dubstep records since the age of 15.
While ”Katy On a Mission” is brand new, Benga’s production on the song has been building a buzz for over a year now. Originally a purely instrumental track titled “Man On a Mission”, it first appeared in DJs’ playlists as an exclusive dubplate in 2009. Here’s a snippet played by Crazy D & Hatcha on London’s legendary Kiss FM radio station, which emerged from the city’s bustling pirate radio scene in the 1980s:
On “I Need Air”, Benga again handles part of the production duties, this time as one third of Magnetic Man (which The Guardian called "Dubstep’s First Supergroup", its other two members being fellow dubstep pioneers Skream and Artwork).
To be honest, I didn’t really “get” dubstep when the first releases on labels such as Tempa or Hyperdub started trickling into the crates of my go-to record stores around 2005. It took me until 2007 to actually buy a release, when I heard Burial’s album-of-the-decade-list-topping "Untrue" (featuring the ”most glacial synth lines since Joy Division” according to Fact Magazine). But in a way, Burial was almost his own genre. Making music that was a revelation for lonely headphone listening, his sound was far removed from the monotonous walls of wobbly bass lines that hit dubstep club nights each weekend. In the end, it wasn’t until 2008 that I finally started taking the genre as a whole more seriously, when I saw 80,000 people go crazy to Benga & Coki’s “Night” during the height of three separate sets at Sonar Festival in Barcelona (the track was played by A-Trak, Buraka Som Sistema, and Mary Anne Hobbs).
However, club music is often far too repetitive to translate well to a broader audience (I would count “Night” as a perfect example), and I never really saw dubstep as a crossover candidate for mainstream success. In its purest form, the genre’s seemingly slow, syncopated beats are not even instantly accessible to the average dance music aficionado. However, hearing Benga and Skream most recently experiment with a more soulful sound (with nods to old school jungle and rave), the double-timed dubstep rhythms have started morphing into something that sounds like the southern rap of dance music (remember what happened to southern rap when producers such as Lil Jon started adding pop sensibilities to a regional genre that had previously been belittled by outsiders?).
While I doubt that dubstep will achieve commercial success outside of Europe (or even the UK) any time soon, it will be interesting to see what the near future holds for its protagonists, starting with the commercial reception of Magnetic Man’s debut album slated for release in October. Snobby purists are already branding it as “popstep”, but I expect a few surprises from these guys, especially since the album is rumored to feature some unexpected guest vocalists such as good old BCG alumnus John Legend.
By the way, if you ever get the chance to see Skream or Benga live: They kill it, especially in front of large audiences. I was lucky enough to witness their joint set at Hard Festival in NYC this Summer, and they completely blew every other act in the line up out of the water (including MIA, Sleigh Bells and Die Antwoord).
Bonus dubstep track with pop appeal: Skream’s much hyped official remix of La Roux’ “In For the Kill” from last year (2.5 million listens on youtube, baby).