19 de junio de 2007

La Raíz del Dubstep

En el foro Barbelith Underground se encuentra el post "The beginner's guide to dubstep"
Dubstep is an underground music scene derived equally from UKGarage and dub reggae which has been evolving since 2001 but which exploded in popularity in 2006. Essentially, dubstep is one half of what happened to UK Garage when it collapsed due to over-exposure in 2001. Half that scene, in East London and especially Bow, slowed down, focused on the MC rather than the producer or DJ, embraced dancehall and hip hop, and became grime. The other half of that scene, in South London and especially Croydon, stuck at 138 bpm (but often ran beats at half that speed), focused on the producer and largely excised the MC, embraced dub reggae, and became dubstep. For the last year and a half, dubstep has become, for me, the most exciting music in the world. It is also, right now, the sweetest and most delightful music scene you can imagine.
En el foro KVR audio hay un post con tips de producción:
First point: there are no rules for the drum programming. There was a Kode 9 quote that I can't remember exactly but which basically said that if it's 140 bpm with a heavy sub then anything else is up to you. If you listen to someone like Kode or Shackleton they can do all sorts of random shit with the drums, but still have it feel like dubstep. To me this is what people should aspire to rather than learning a set way of producing 'the dubstep beat' so they can produce loads of tedious generic stuff.

Okay, rant over, there are a number of standard beat patterns that come up a lot. I'm afraid you're going to get bad text beatboxing rather than screenshots though. Very Happy

1) Halfstep. This is the classic / stereotypical dubstep rhythm so it's good to try to do something fresh with it rather than just trying to sound like Loefah. Kick drum on 1, snare or clap on 3. Extra snares, hats, claps and kicks scattered around the bar, but the emphasis is on 1 and 3. A lot of dubstep rhythms are quite jerky and assymetric, so look at having a lot of hits (particularly kicks, I think) on odd 16th notes, and maybe have a lot more hits in one half of the bar than the other (hence all those oom tikka tikka tikka clap *pause* oom tikka tikka tikka clap cl-clap sort of rhythms).

2) 4 by 4 - the house / techno type rhythm: kick drum on each beat, everything else scattered around the place. Mala and Skream both use this a lot in different ways. I think that what distinguishes a 4 by 4 dubstep tune from a house or techno tune is mostly the vibe, but there's also less of a tendancy to emphasize the second and fourth beats by sticking a snare or a clap on them. There's also a bit of a thing for using offbeat kicks, I think - dum dum dum d-dumdum dum dum dum d-dumdum sort of thing.

3) 2-step - the garage rhythm. Kick on 1, snares on 2 and four, often a hihat on the quaver offbeats and extra kicks and hihats scattered around the place. All sorts of dubstep beats can benefit from being swung, but for 2-step beats it's pretty much mandatory.

4) there's a weird soca influenced 2-step rhythm that you get from time to time. It's roughly kick on 1, 2 and 4 and clap on 2.5 and 4.5. This is all over early dubstep like Horsepower Productions.

But it seems to be pretty hard to pin down what precisely constitutes a dubstep track - it's like there's some kind of feeling or atmosphere or vibe to the tunes that's very hard to pin down to any technical elements. To me as a producer and (I think) to a lot of listeners, part of the fun is trying to see what sort of audacious stuff you can stick in a track and still have it work in the vibe...