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August 22, 2011 9:37 PM   Subscribe

For those of you pining for the good ol' days of demented Chris Cunningham videos set to the music of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, I give you Tony Truand's clip for Skrillex's First Of The Year (Equinox). most likely NSFW
posted by mannequito (111 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oooh, that was nasty. Makes me wanna get back to the animation I was doing over the Dubstep Mime guy...
posted by egypturnash at 9:48 PM on August 22, 2011


I don't think that was Cunningham level interesting or unnerving at all.
posted by Roman Graves at 9:49 PM on August 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


Lyrics for the song in case anyone needs them.
posted by empath at 10:08 PM on August 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


The video was dumb beyond words (par for the course for videos, I accept this), the song sucked, and it was nothing like a Chris Cunningham video.
posted by Yowser at 10:18 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


That must've been a weird casting session. Just picture the waiting room full of guys doing their best to look like pedos.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:21 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your favourite band, their latest video, your aesthetic judgement, you as a human being, Metafilter and the whole world -- all suck.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:26 PM on August 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


Brostep = best genre name ever.
posted by dydecker at 10:30 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Derpstep is better.
The artist is a doofball, the song is wack, but the video is pretty rad.
Except for her counting the numbers off at the end.
That looks like some Korn shit.

Still, good video. But not on Cunningham-level.

Well wait. Perhaps Richie Cunningham. He's a director. Don't know if he makes music videos tho.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:35 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can I get you something? Want a glass of water?
posted by jeffburdges at 10:40 PM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


christ, more like 'desperately trying to live up to cunningham without understanding why he was great'
posted by p3on at 10:40 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Skrillex is just the new Korn or Limp Bizkit.

Everyone at my office listens to Skrillex and none of them like any other dance music. I can't stand it, really. (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites is a decent track, but the rest, meh...)
posted by empath at 10:41 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Too bad Skinny Puppy never had better videos.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:04 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


There sure is a lot of hate directed toward Skrillex -- and a fair bit of it I understand, when it comes from people who expect something very different than what they expect on an introductory listen.

My read on Skrillex is pretty much summed up by the fact that his skill is as a Producer rather than a Composer. Skrillex's tracks rarely show any significant composition complexity (whether he's capable of it or not, it doesn't show in Skrillex tracks).

But lacking that, I think people then dismiss his work as facile or "derpstep" or "brostep," which I think doesn't give him credit for the fact that he comes up with some incredibly good "micro" compositions. Most of his tracks grab you immediately and hang on because, not only is there something likely to be entirely different coming up in the next measure, but something entirely different is liable to come up in the next 16th-note.

Make no mistake -- this is the catchiest aspects of pop in dubstep clothing. I wouldn't dream of putting Skrillex in the same category as a composer as Aphex Twin or Squarepusher -- they do things that are musically interesting and compelling, and Skrillex, generally, does not.

But don't sell him short because he's not doing something musically interesting, because I think he's doing something *sonically* compelling and, for better or worse, Skrillex's ADD-style micro-composition surprise-around-every-16th-note aesthetic is the thin end of the wedge.

Personally, I'm keeping an eye out for the proverbial alchemist of the genre. Someone with the composition chops of a Brian Eno or a Richard James with the jump-out-of-the-speakers sonic immediacy (or, if you will, "empty calories") of Skrillex. It just might be this kid Sonny who's just in his early 20s and has a lot of years to grow into his compositions. Chances are it'll be someone else. But if you happen to have any idea who it is, let me know.
posted by chimaera at 11:18 PM on August 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think he's incredibly talented. I just don't like it.
posted by empath at 11:39 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am an old fart and I had never heard of Skrillex. Music is OK, but that "Call 911 right now!" sample ruins the song for me. I'll check out some other songs, as it has some nice ideas/tricks. Video doesn't do it for me, nothing really happens in the second part.

What's up with Cunningham, by the way? I haven't seen anything after Rubber Johny.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 11:45 PM on August 22, 2011


But if you happen to have any idea who it is, let me know.

Burial.
posted by ageispolis at 11:46 PM on August 22, 2011


wow, I didn't realize there was such hate on for Skrillex.

It's always weird coming at it from the other direction - I had never heard the name until two months ago, when a friend I hadn't seen in a few years handed me a USB stick with a bunch of random albums on it while we were camping. Sitting in the truck in the afternoon sunlight with all four doors open sipping beers ... Skrillex sounded nice. Didn't know he was The Next Annoying Thing!

FWIW, I initially thought it was too much of a Cunningham imitation, hence the framing. And McDermott, there's no need to punch me in the dick that way. You can be gentler.
posted by mannequito at 11:50 PM on August 22, 2011


What's up with Cunningham, by the way? I haven't seen anything after Rubber Johny.

Chris Cunningham Live
posted by setanor at 12:04 AM on August 23, 2011


He's also done a couple videos and some visual identity stuff (he's worked a lot with the Horrors and associated side projects like Cat's Eyes)
posted by setanor at 12:05 AM on August 23, 2011


My problem with Skrillex is that his music has no soul and no femininity, and its not even particularly dancy. It's just super aggressive, balls-out GRAR for ritalin junkies. It's okay as a contrast every once in a while, but the super-jock-y fans of his literally don't like any thing else in the genre.

Here are some similar artists that I think are a lot more better because their music has some soul:

Feed Me - Blood Red
Flux Pavillion - I Can't Stop
Noisia (remixing Deadmau5) - Raise Your Weapon
Nero - Me And You

Skrillex is actually the most recent manifestation of a recurring trend in dance music of a genre being created by urban blacks and/or gays and stripped out of its original context and made into a 'hardcore' variant by suburban whites.

Even the stuff I linked here isn't 'proper' dubstep which is derived from Garage and Grime.
posted by empath at 12:05 AM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


did i really say 'more better'? I did. Okay, time for bed.
posted by empath at 12:10 AM on August 23, 2011


the super-jock-y fans of his literally don't like any thing else in the genre

That's kind of the thing, I guess. It's especially problematic if you DJ.
posted by setanor at 12:10 AM on August 23, 2011


Everyone at my office listens to Skrillex and none of them like any other dance music. I can't stand it, really.

It must be a terrible existence when you can't stand that other people enjoy something. I mean, I get that way when I see people eating gefilte fish ::shudder:: so I can kind of relate.

Love Skrillex, love AFX, love Cunningham's AFX videos (dear God, Rubber Johnny...), love electronic music of all types, and love Korn and Limp Bizkit and Stravinsky and Stevie Ray and the Holy Modal Rounders and Luis Miguel and Gaga and Vivaldi and C. Ramachandra and The Pixies and Dizzee Rascal and Merzbow and Hank Williams and Paul Hindemith and Young Jeezy and Hikaru Utada and whoever scores reality TV shows (DRAMATIC GONG SCRAPE). Your favorite band probably fucking rules, and I'd totally go see them with you.

Tribes will always hate on tribes, I guess, and that's actually responsible for a lot of the more badass bits of music history, so whatever. But as sort of a recovering theory-snob, these days I get a lot more enjoyment out of empathizing with other people's tastes (and liking the hell out of stuff I'm "not supposed to like" because it's too artificial or faddish or whatever) than I ever did sneering at them.

Anyway, thanks for linking to the video; 3:15 well spent.
posted by jake at 12:11 AM on August 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


empath - Noisia was also on that same USB stick! thanks for the other links
posted by mannequito at 12:12 AM on August 23, 2011


these days I get a lot more enjoyment out of empathizing with other people's tastes (and liking the hell out of stuff I'm "not supposed to like" because it's too artificial or faddish or whatever) than I ever did sneering at them.

I think it's possible to dislike something without contempt for its audience... maybe this is hard to separate from in this sort of dialogue?
posted by setanor at 12:14 AM on August 23, 2011


I have a knee-jerk reaction to the name because it shifts my memory back to any of several uncomfortable moments the last couple years where I'll be in the middle of a set and I see someone lumbering towards the booth on a mission and I know and I JUST KNOW and then I knew it and I hear "dude what the fuck, play some real music, nobody's dancing, just play some Skrillex and that will get everyone on the floor" and then I'm like oh sorry are those folks out there now all cleaning staff?
posted by setanor at 12:17 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where can I find deadmau5 x skrillex yaoi fanfiction?
posted by Jimbob at 12:21 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not Skrillex
posted by setanor at 12:22 AM on August 23, 2011


It must be a terrible existence when you can't stand that other people enjoy something.

I can't stand Skrillex, not that they like Skrillex, although it does get a tad annoying having to listen to it all day long.
posted by empath at 12:26 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"dude what the fuck, play some real music, nobody's dancing, just play some Skrillex and that will get everyone on the floor"

Yes, I had someone literally scream at me during a trance set: "PLAY SKRILLEX" and not just once.
posted by empath at 12:27 AM on August 23, 2011


On preview: Good call on the Noisia, empath. Adore them. But I really disagree about Skrillex having "no soul" -- I think he has as much soul as any other human being. Ultra white suburban Fruity Loops surgical production might pound on your nerves for any number of reasons, but it would be hard to deny that he's pouring himself into his music. I dig that, because I appreciate the insane technicality of it. The unrestrained aggression is obviously going to resonate with your Alpha Bro Friends, and with me on particularly shitty days. (so do any number of metal bands and dnb artists).

I think it's possible to dislike something without contempt for its audience... maybe this is hard to separate from in this sort of dialogue?

Of course it is! But I don't think most people actually separate them that much. Especially when they declare "I hate x" or "y is lame". Music is a product of its environment, etc etc. Even if you listen to something from an artist you know absolutely nothing about, chances are good that your knowledge of other music, with all its social baggage, will color your perception somehow. I just get frustrated when music drives people further into cliques, instead of bringing them together.
posted by jake at 12:50 AM on August 23, 2011


Skrillex is actually the most recent manifestation of a recurring trend in dance music of a genre being created by urban blacks and/or gays and stripped out of its original context and made into a 'hardcore' variant by suburban whites.

Yeah, just like those no-talent ass clowns, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Beatles!
(well, the gay part is maybe a newish twist, barring the little-known album "Megadeth Plays the Cole Porter Songbook"... uh hang on, holy shit, I need to go actually make that.)
posted by jake at 12:59 AM on August 23, 2011


But I really disagree about Skrillex having "no soul" -- I think he has as much soul as any other human being. Ultra white suburban Fruity Loops surgical production might pound on your nerves for any number of reasons, but it would be hard to deny that he's pouring himself into his music.

'Soul' doesn't mean pouring your emotions into your music. 'Soul' means 'sounds black'.
posted by dydecker at 1:11 AM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I get all the soul I need from my Fairlight, thank you much.
posted by setanor at 1:13 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's not in the same league as Chris Cunningham.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:21 AM on August 23, 2011


'Soul' means 'sounds black'.

You probably could put it that way, but i'm talking about groove -- syncopated beats, some sense of dynamics to the track, something you can dance to rather than just pump your fist in the air. There's plenty of super-white music that still has soul.
posted by empath at 1:24 AM on August 23, 2011


Give me an example.
posted by dydecker at 1:24 AM on August 23, 2011


Okay, now please define 'sounds black', and explain to me why the artists he listed 'sound black' (I don't think they do at all, and I've listened to all of them).

I also could point out about 300 places in Skrillex tracks where syncopation and dynamics are used to great effect. You can't sit here and tell me that "Scatta" has no dynamics, for example.
posted by jake at 1:27 AM on August 23, 2011


I haven't knowingly heard Skrillex, but a local blogger posted a thing about How to write a Skrillex song

It doesn't really clear things up.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:29 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I couldn't believe it, when they played, they played the record, you know the one, its got that huge build up, and I went so so crazy, and I couldn't find my friends. So so so so crazy.
posted by setanor at 1:29 AM on August 23, 2011


Give me an example

OF white music with soul? I can give hundreds of examples:

Here's just a random one from my last mix cd.

Julio Bashmore - Battle for Middle You Subtle, groove-y, but still witha punchy bass, and I don't think it sounds 'black' whatever that means.
posted by empath at 1:37 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone who hasn't heard of Skrillex should start with his remix of La Roux's In for the Kill, then maybe Reptile's Theme (remix) if you're in for something toasty, and finally Rock N' Roll (Will Take you to the Mountain) which has a fun music video.

I think Skrillex's drops tend to be jarring, so you kind of have to ease into liking his music.

On Preview: empath, Skrillex is danceable.
posted by lemuring at 1:46 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I should qualify this by saying that I have Parliament, Stevie Wonder, Curtis, Oscar, Herbie, and plenty of west coast hip hop in daily rotation. And I'm not buying the notion that 'soul' has any significance beyond personal expression, and I'm pretty sure that's different for everyone. It's present in the music of extremely funky black dudes, of effeminate latte-sipping singer-songwriters, of German guys who have been dead for two centuries, of Mexican guys singing about love, of Chinese erhu players. Nobody owns lowercase-s "soul".

If you're talking about capital-S "Soul music", the historically black record genre which grew out of gospel and r&b, you might have a point; Skrillex certainly isn't Soul. Neither are any of the other guys in that list.

But really, maybe I'm reading too much into it, but what I'm seeing is "I can't identify with this kind of rhythm. Therefore I declare it to be soulless and without groove". It is neither of those things to me (and to many other people), and I believe that a big reason you feel that way is the sheer number of stupid people who yell at the club DJ, and Alpha Bros at your office. I could be wrong, but I've seen this pattern repeat itself in every single "your favorite band sucks" discussion, whether it's concerning electronic music, rock, metal, hip hop, jazz.
posted by jake at 1:49 AM on August 23, 2011


I love that Julio Bashmore track, and I do think it's soulful as well. But it sounds to me like it samples a "black" voice from an RnB or a disco track and it's far far from being "super-white".

I asked you to give me an example of a super-white song that sounds soulful. I don't think you'll be able to.
posted by dydecker at 1:50 AM on August 23, 2011


Skrillex is a bit of an enigma to me. His first EP was really fun, albeit one that grew on me after awhile. His previous band was god awful and it's apparent his music is mostly a bag of tricks and there are much more interesting electro artists out there (see: Valerie Records entire roster). However, I still like him.

The Korn song he is on is truly god awful though.
posted by MrSmuckles at 1:55 AM on August 23, 2011


I asked you to give me an example of a super-white song that sounds soulful. I don't think you'll be able to.

Please explain how "Maria" from West Side Story isn't soulful. Fair warning: if your explanation is "it doesn't sound like it was written by an African-American", I'm going to link you to a Tony MacAlpine shred solo that will cause your testicles to retract into your abdomen.
posted by jake at 2:06 AM on August 23, 2011


Please explain how "Maria" from West Side Story isn't soulful.

Explanation here.

For what it's worth, jake, I don't think the tracks empath linked to above were very soulful either. I'm not dubstep expert so I dunno if there are "wobble" tracks that hit the same spot but to me the four below on the same UK bassmusic continuum sound much more soulful, danceable, subtle and more interesting than like Skrillex or whatever.

Groove Theory - Tell Me (George Fitzgerald Remix)
Burial - Archangel
Blawan - Getting Me Down
Joy Orbison - Hyph Mngo

YMMV
posted by dydecker at 2:27 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


wow, I didn't realize there was such hate on for Skrillex.

dubstepforum sticky: please do not make new threads about Skrillex or brostep
/r/dubstep mod: why you should stop talking about Skrillex

(adding those here only to note it's not just one person with an axe to grind or whatever)

Leaving aside discussion about whether white people can make soulful music, or comparisons of Skrillex to RDJ or Elvis, I understand and admit that as someone who was an early champion of the harder dubstep styles via one of its biggest stations, I am not without stain in this...but hey, what can ya do. It's just like "jump up" over a decade ago.

Besides, it's almost a requirement among the more "inside baseball" scenes of dance music to dislike stuff that becomes successful (like McDonalds to "foodies"), and also Deadmau Five said "fuck all DJs" awhile back and Skrillex is his minion, so there's that to factor in as well.
posted by First Post at 2:51 AM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


dydecker, HAH!
Anyway, those four you linked are awesome tracks, and I'm really happy you shared them. In particular, I hadn't heard Burial, and now I'll go track down their stuff. Really cool atmosphere in that track.

But I just don't see them as any more or less SOULFUL, and certainly no more or less INTERESTING. Each track you linked to is soulful in a completely different way, telling me totally different things about the people who made them. It's apples and oranges, but it's all tasty fruit of one sort or another. They're all clearly badasses at their technical craft, and they all have something cool to say.

I just don't understand how anyone could hate anything people have linked to here. Maybe "I dunno, not really my thing", but the strong expressions of distaste in music discussions just baffles me completely, and it always seems more like an agenda, or grudges, than any legitimate aesthetic beef with the music. People just feel this soul-consuming need to spoil others' enjoyment by telling them why what they enjoy is shit. I don't think that will ever sit well with me.
posted by jake at 3:23 AM on August 23, 2011


Deadmau Five said "fuck all DJs" awhile back and Skrillex is his minion, so there's that to factor in as well.

Wagner was a rabid anti-semite, and i still love the fuck out of his compositions. Music just seems like another form of politics for a lot of people, they'll hype or hate the music based on what they think of the artist, which leads me to believe it's not about the music for them at all, but about belonging to a "scene" and "taking sides". Total bullshit.
posted by jake at 3:30 AM on August 23, 2011


And that's without mentioning the ongoing USA vs UK battles over the genre, where Americans are blamed for ruining dubstep by those who believe one can never truly understand the music unless they are from Croydon.

Meanwhile a lot of people who make what passed for dubstep a few years ago (including some of the stuff like what dydecker posted) now feel forced into relabeling their styles as "post dubstep" or "the dungeon sound" or etc, so yeah undeniably there is some resentment going on and nobody is particularly proud of it. But that's just part of the politics of dancing, the politics of oooh feeling good. It is to be taken for what it is, I suppose.
posted by First Post at 3:46 AM on August 23, 2011


I don't see the Chris Cunningham comparison, at all.
posted by estuardo at 4:09 AM on August 23, 2011


skrillex is catchy and I like him :( sorry empath.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:17 AM on August 23, 2011


The fact that people can discuss Wagner, Skrillex and The Pixies in the same thread is why I keep coming back to this place.
posted by Jimbob at 5:17 AM on August 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I have a bit of a soft spot for Skrillex - his music is just so completely silly. There's more room for silliness in dance music than most devotees like to admit. Dubstep devotees in particular (surely the most po-faced set of fans since the sort of serious young Englishmen who owned the entire Basic Channel back catalogue and took great pleasure in identifying which Detroit hits were mastered by Ron Murphy at National Sound Corporation).

I tend to file Skrillex and his brostepping chums next to stuff like gabber, Hi-NRG, hard house and handbag - all genres one isn't supposed to admit to liking in polite dance music society, all genres which, in the right circumstances, can put a huge grin on my face.
posted by jack_mo at 5:37 AM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know who's overrated? Chris Cunningham.

The guy did like 5 cool videos 10 years ago. (I remember getting the DVD and thinking, why is it so short?) And then he does one or two "art projects" since. And it's all the same shtick basically. Talk about some trust fundie sitting around on his ass... at least Skrillex is MAKING SHIT.

yeah, the Gil Scott-Heron video was cool but it's hard to find in decent quality and that still doesn't make up for years of nothing
posted by fungible at 5:42 AM on August 23, 2011


Anyone who hasn't heard of Skrillex should start with his remix of La Roux's In for the Kill

Skream's remix is better in almost every way, and is actually 'real' dubstep.
posted by empath at 5:44 AM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Music videos are bullshit and Chris Cunningham is a con artist because music is bullshit.
Music is the biggest lie ever told. Every day, it suckers people out of millions of dollars and untold hours of time. It springs from an infantile desire to be comforted by a mother's lullaby. Music is truly the opiate of the masses.

Why do you listen to music? Is it a crutch to get you through the day? When you go to a concert, what on earth do you get out of it? Do you feel "warm fuzzies" when you are walking out of the building? Maybe it makes you feel all happy inside. Well, the real world isn't like that. Music has no answer to the problem of evil. As long as you are a listener, you have no chance of fully participating in a rational discussion.

Ask a professional musician (professional shamster, more like) why he plays his kind of music instead of another and you'll never get a straight answer. What makes a clarinet better than a Japanese koto? Why play jazz instead of classical? "I like it more." "I'm more familiar with it." Non-answers. "They're about the same." Then why play music at all?

Musicians tell you they love their fans... then they sell the T-shirts and CDs at the door. Some even take donations-- as long as they can separate the marks from their money, their gig is a success. Music is nothing but an organized scam.

From the beginning of a child's life, her parents indoctrinate her to believe in a myth called "music". They force her to believe that certain arrangements of sounds is somehow more important than other ones. Never in the history of humankind has a more insidious waste of time and money been conspired. Start her on Baby Mozart; buy her "children's music" (the very name betraying the unethical, Orwellian scheme); raise her on piano and jazz, and buy her a Beatles CD on her 16th birthday. The most popular songs lie to you: "All you need is love." Others are simply nonsense: "Bye, bye Miss American Pie." Some songs have no lyrics at all! They do not even make an attempt at meaning. The veil is lifted; the stupidity of the whole exercise is transparent before everyone, and yet they continue listening as if brainwashed.

When I point this out to the thoughtless listeners, they tell me not to argue with something so "beautiful". Can't they see that they are wasting their time on mere noise, that rarely says anything akin to common sense? "Well, Shakespeare, he's in the alley / With his pointed shoes and his bells, / Speaking to some French girl, / Who says she knows me well." What on earth is that supposed to mean? Can anyone tell me? I'm guessing no.

Music plays in our schools, in malls, even in elevators. A rational man is surrounded by this flim-flam whereever he goes. It's impossible to escape from it. It even receives government funding! Why waste my taxpayer dollars to endorse a particular form of music, or music at all? We must separate music and state immediately.

Music is a product of primitive and backwards societies. Undeveloped cultures with little spare resources waste them on the manufacture of instruments and training of professional musicians, out of pure stupidity. In the Roman Empire, music began to be supplanted by more useful pursuits, but a musical obsession plunged Europe into a long Dark Ages. Entire schools of music were developed despite their lack of relevance to anything in the natural world whatsoever. Thankfully, as people become rational and scientific, of course, music naturally wanes in influence. Desperate performers may deny it but the eclipse of music is already upon us. I can only hope that one day, it will disappear altogether.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:08 AM on August 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


A+ rant. More like shakes the *balls* of the city amirite?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:20 AM on August 23, 2011


He copy-pasted it.
posted by empath at 6:24 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I tried to make sense of that. Here's my response:

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he
does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless
thing is that one admires it intensely.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 6:27 AM on August 23, 2011


THERE IS NO MUSIC THERE IS ONLY ZUUL
posted by griphus at 6:33 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I found out via looking up skrillex that he was in some screamo band. Yeah, that makes sense.

Seriously I have nothing against good dubstep. I like Skream... Burial is OK, but not quite my thing... I've got tons of dubstep, and I even LOVE Zeno's Poison Dart mix of Widdler's "Froggy" but after a while this shit is overplayed. It'll go out like it's predecessor 2-step and Garage and all the other styles like that.

Brostep is a great term for this kind of thing, IMO. And if you think I have a problem with "hard" music, I'll take fucking Venetian Snares one of the hardest mother fuckers over this guy any day. You want heavy, production and micro-composition (how about nano?)

GET OFF MY LAWN.

(I heard someone say that "dubstep" is the new "techno" in the sense that they think all electronic is called dubstep - in the same way people who didn't know electronic genres would call any electronic "techno" back in the day... that's... scary...)
posted by symbioid at 6:38 AM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I heard someone say that "dubstep" is the new "techno" in the sense that they think all electronic is called dubstep

Yep, I've heard this from people in their early 20s.
posted by empath at 6:43 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just like that his vocal scream samples are often from a youtube video - and completely changes the context from funny/innocent to creepy and jarring.

Call 911 Now

OH MY GOSHHHHH
posted by jeffmik at 7:02 AM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yep, I've heard this from people in their early 20s.

I sort of stopped going to live EDM things a couple of years ago but ... really? It's not that I'm doubting you -- I'm just confounded. Admittedly, I'd only really gone to D&B parties, but it's breaks my head a little to think that "dubstep" is becomign a catchall.
posted by griphus at 7:37 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, people who like EDM never used catchall phrases like 'techno', its more people who don't follow the scene. In the US at least, Deadmau5 and Skrillex are pretty much it when it comes to exposure to EDM outside 'the scene'.
posted by empath at 7:40 AM on August 23, 2011


wow, I didn't realize there was such hate on for Skrillex.

When has their not been a hate-on for Skrillex? Just like Pendulum and Korn before him, haters been hatin' since the start.
posted by Theta States at 7:52 AM on August 23, 2011


What about van Dyk/Tiesto/Sasha+Digweed and those guys? They were pretty popular when I was in high school.

...which I now realize was a) over a decade ago and b) mostly listened to kids who emigrated over from Russia.

Okay never mind.
posted by griphus at 7:54 AM on August 23, 2011


Skrillex is actually the most recent manifestation of a recurring trend in dance music of a genre being created by urban blacks and/or gays and stripped out of its original context and made into a 'hardcore' variant by suburban whites.

Wasn't dubstep started more by white urbanites as a switch-up from (mostly urban black) grime production?
posted by Theta States at 7:56 AM on August 23, 2011


Wasn't dubstep started more by white urbanites as a switch-up from (mostly urban black) grime production?

Really early dubstep was basically really spare 2-step garage tracks like this. It's a long way from that to skrillex, though. Bro-step didn't really start happening until D&B producers started getting into it and added the big basslines, then the electro producers jumped ship and started making the basslines scream, and then you have basically have skrillex.
posted by empath at 8:13 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was like an M Night Shyamalan movie.

And I still don't think I'm clear on what makes dubstep. Everything I hear sounds like stuff that was being made in the late 90s-early 2000s and used to get called all kinds of weird things like "downtempo drum and bass".
posted by Hoopo at 8:22 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, yeah, that's why dubstep gets used as a catchall.

Basically dance music genres are, first and foremost, centered around BPM, because DJs need to mix records together that are roughly the same speed as each other. (though this is less important than it used to be before Ableton made it easier to switch tempos seemlessly).

Just some examples:

House is roughly from 125-130bpm
Trance is roughtly from 132-137bpm
Drum and bass is from 160-180 bpm.

Producers vary a lot, but there seem to be some points of stability around 128bpm, 132 bpm 135 bpm and then at around 160-170bpm you've got drum and bass and hard core.

Once you get up past 135 bpm, it gets harder and harder to dance to four to the floor beats like house and trance, so genres start using breakbeats and 2 step (ever other beat) beats, and half speed basslines.

What happened in the late 90s is that there was a sub-genre of house called Garage that kept getting pushed faster and faster by DJs and producers, and morphed into Speed Garage, which started approaching 140bpm.

As it got that point, producers started dropping every other kick and called it 2-step garage. You still had the snares and hi-hats going at 140, but the kick and bassline grooves started going at half speed, which made it a lot easier to dance to.

When you drop every other kick, though, you open up a lot of space for the bassline, and producers started experimenting with new textures -- big wobbles, evolving sounds, etc, but it was still basically high energy dance music at close to 140 bpm.

Where dubstep comes in is when you take that 2 step garage sound and slow the whole thing down to 70bpm. At that point, they started adding in big dub reggae basses and sound effects, so you get 'classic' dubstep. This wasn't dance music any more, at least not in the traditional 'clubbing' sense. It was music to get high to.

This was basically dance music stripped down to the bare minimum, which essentially meant that it was a new foundation that producers could experiment with, and what's basically happened over the past 6 or 7 years is that producers from all genres have used the dubstep template to recreate basically every other genre of dance music.

So you had D&B and fidget house producers bringing in the wobbly basslines and glitchy rhythms -- you have hip-producers bringing in rappers, you've got trance producers bringing in big melodies and breakdowns and electro producers bringing in the big screaming multi-octave basslines, etc. And in the process the tempo of dubstep has gotten pushed around to the point where you can find dubstep influenced tracks which fit comfortably in nearly any kind of dj set. And since all the excitement and innovation in dance music was centered around this trendy new sound, and all the really exciting songs were either nominally dubstep or heavily influenced by dubstep, it kind of became the Katamari that rolled up all of dance music.
posted by empath at 8:39 AM on August 23, 2011 [55 favorites]


Oh, don't forget what they used to call "Ambient Dub", too. I don't know if people consider it a direct influence, but some of that stuff sounds like a direct progression into what I hear called dubstep. I'm thinking particularly of Mick Harris' output as Scorn in the mid-late 90s, some of Bill Laswell's experiments all through the 90s, some parts of the 90s "illbeint" scene, and a bunch of the guys from Word Sound records.
posted by Hoopo at 9:39 AM on August 23, 2011


I'd don't know anything about dubstep or dance music or skrillex, and I'd never heard of Squarepusher before, but I've been listening to Hard Normal Daddy all day now thanks to this thread. Awesome. Thanks again Metafilter.
posted by Elmore at 9:49 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Electronic music fans' fierce devotion to nano-genre differentiation is hilarious and adorable. Never change, you crazy niche builders.
posted by rusty at 9:50 AM on August 23, 2011


Electronic music fans' fierce devotion to nano-genre differentiation is hilarious and adorable. Never change, you crazy niche builders.

It's mostly DJs devotion to finding music that mixes smoothly together. If it mixes together its the same genre. Everyone else is free to ignore them and call everything dubstep or techno if they want.

Oh, don't forget what they used to call "Ambient Dub", too. I don't know if people consider it a direct influence, but some of that stuff sounds like a direct progression into what I hear called dubstep

Yeah, the dub part of dubstep comes from that kind of stuff, but it mostly got lost as the genre evolved.
posted by empath at 9:54 AM on August 23, 2011


If it mixes together its the same genre. Everyone else is free to ignore them and call everything dubstep or techno if they want.

At least no one's calling it all "electronica" anymore. How unhelpful was that? "Oh, there's computers and synths and drum machines and stuff so let's put it in the 'electronica' section." That category could have included U2, Kraftwerk, Orbital, and Whodini. Ah, the 90s.
posted by Hoopo at 10:11 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Makes me wish for the hardcore parties here in Winnipeg around 10 years ago, where you could never really predict what might get played except it would be strange, fast, hard, interesting, hilarious, occasionally dancable and occasionally unlistenable.

Now we've lost V.Snares and Fishead to other locales, so it's not really the same.

I do remember endless debating about genre and micro-genre, and that always got old, fast.
posted by utsutsu at 10:42 AM on August 23, 2011


Geez, I sure could go for some electronica right about now.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 10:44 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gotta say I like my psychedelic-electro-breakstep-dubtrance.
posted by vicx at 10:47 AM on August 23, 2011


I heard someone say that "dubstep" is the new "techno" in the sense that they think all electronic is called dubstep

That's just as bad as when I found out that goth kids called horrible tinny trance with growly german vocals "electro". At the time I had friends who both played real electro and super heavy, truly very very dark and scary DnB/breaks/glitch. The goth kids refused to be enlightened, which was pretty much their loss as far as I was concerned.


I tend to file Skrillex and his brostepping chums next to stuff like gabber, Hi-NRG, hard house and handbag - all genres one isn't supposed to admit to liking in polite dance music society, all genres which, in the right circumstances, can put a huge grin on my face.


Yeah, gabber makes me smile. Years ago when I was still going to parties, gabber was pretty universally hated by house-loving Bay Areans and any gabber dj that managed to get a gig was usually playing at 5am in a broom closet filled with passed out ravers. I always enjoyed watching them suddenly regain consciousness and struggle to their feet, either to stumble out the door in horror, or wade onto the dancefloor for one final balls-out dance episode while their friends waited grumpily in the hall.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:49 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


>I heard someone say that "dubstep" is the new "techno" in the sense that they think all electronic is called dubstep<

Ah, I was just going to ask if all electronic music is called Dubstep now, because otherwise I don’t get it. I listen to a lot of electronic music, but never Skrillex until today. Not my thing.

I like the term Electronica. It’s like Rock, or Country, or Jazz, it could mean lots of things. It’s all I need to know, and if I need to know more I listen to it and make my own judgement.
posted by bongo_x at 11:04 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Skream's remix is better in almost every way, and is actually 'real' dubstep.

Except for the fact that it's objectively flat-paced and melodically uninteresting.
posted by reductiondesign at 11:51 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Freaky long fingers always equal evil in these videos. What do these directors have against Marfan syndrome?
posted by benzenedream at 12:06 PM on August 23, 2011


That's just as bad as when I found out that goth kids called horrible tinny trance with growly german vocals "electro".

I thought they called it EBM.
posted by empath at 12:11 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just to follow up from my earlier comment, for me this was the precursor to what I know of dubstep. Scorn was doing shit like this in 1996. It's probably a bit quicker and rougher around the edges, but the idea is there.
posted by Hoopo at 12:18 PM on August 23, 2011


Oh and here in 2000. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the connection between dubstep and 80s death metal band Napalm Death.
posted by Hoopo at 12:36 PM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was going to post some of that as well. I remember in the early aughts when dubstep was first around my parts how excited I was. "You mean raver kids are listening to dark ambient downtempo???" Some of the early stuff had greeaaaaat drone and evil beats, and it really made me happy.
posted by Theta States at 12:39 PM on August 23, 2011


Yeah, and Basement Jaxx were doing proto-dubstep in 1999. It was something in the air.

But it didn't coalesce into a proper, distinct genre until 2002 or so...
posted by empath at 12:43 PM on August 23, 2011


Burial - Archangel

Someone found the reverb effect!
posted by Hoopo at 1:23 PM on August 23, 2011


Someone found the reverb effect!

*ahem*
...and the pitch-shifter!
posted by Theta States at 1:51 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was going to post some of that as well. I remember in the early aughts when dubstep was first around my parts how excited I was.

Ha! Theta States, I just remembered you're from Ottawa. That stuff was the perfect soundtrack to those dark, frozen Ottawa winter nights. Back then we used to get introduced to this stuff by our record store guru, the bearded guy from Shake Records. You'd go to the counter with a CD you wanted to listen to, and he'd look at it and send you to the listening booth with 10-15 CDs of stuff you never heard of. I'd always wind up buying 2 CDs of shit I just discovered rather than the one I came there for. Things changed when Shake closed down--are they still running out of the Black Tomato?
posted by Hoopo at 2:36 PM on August 23, 2011


Well that was interesting. My brother just walked in, looked at me and said "*you're* listening to Skrillex?" and then went on to explain to me why Skrillex is the most talented dubstep artist around - I didn't know what I was listening to was dubstep as it was much less repetitive then other examples of the genre I've heard. I must not conceal the fact I like him from my raver freinds....shoot, I just sent him that link over MSN before I knew. Well, his response will be interesting.
posted by Canageek at 8:15 PM on August 23, 2011


My brother just walked in, looked at me and said "*you're* listening to Skrillex?" and then went on to explain to me why Skrillex is the most talented dubstep artist around...

This, ladies and gents, is why brostep is the best genre name ever!
posted by dydecker at 10:20 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least no one's calling it all "electronica" anymore. How unhelpful was that? "Oh, there's computers and synths and drum machines and stuff so let's put it in the 'electronica' section." That category could have included U2, Kraftwerk, Orbital, and Whodini. Ah, the 90s.

I use 'electronica', 'techno', 'disco' and 'bleep bloop music'. And I'd put all those guys (except U2) in the same huge category.

But a. I'm half-trolling/half willfully ignorant and b. once skipped a Tuung show because I was worried it was too dancey. So yeah, ignore me.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:32 PM on August 23, 2011


It reminds me of Ministry's Twitch album, so who's the old assed MF now?
posted by Redhush at 4:55 AM on August 24, 2011


Things changed when Shake closed down--are they still running out of the Black Tomato?

Flood was there for a while, not sure if he still is. The other Shakes denizens started Organised Sound, and that closed down years ago.
I remember my first trip to Shake Records in 1995...
posted by Theta States at 6:06 AM on August 24, 2011


Reminds me of the Telharmonium , so who's the old assed MF now?
posted by symbioid at 10:05 AM on August 24, 2011


There isn't afaik an official video for Wreath of Barbs by :wumpscut: but the oil drilling scenes from this fan video work pretty well. (cute remix sans video)
posted by jeffburdges at 10:58 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


My 10-year-old loves Skrillex! Not going to show him that video though, I don't think.

Skrillex seems like silly music that's fun in small doses.
posted by edheil at 10:03 PM on August 24, 2011


Out of curiosity, is there an overall name for music that doesn't have any singing or instruments but is made on a computer? I always thought that was what the term 'Electronica' or 'Techno' referred to --Music that was entirely electronic, not just a song with some synth or computer noise in it.
posted by Canageek at 9:04 AM on August 25, 2011


Music that was entirely electronic, not just a song with some synth or computer noise in it.

If a song has no analog sources, maybe just call it digital?

I do not think there is any use in distinguishing if a song is made up entirely of parts derived entirely from computers, though. That was novel in the 20th century (Albums made solely with electrical sources were novel. Then albums made solely with digital sources,) but it isn't noticed in the 21st.
posted by Theta States at 9:15 AM on August 25, 2011


Sure it is: There is a rather vast diffrence between the above and say, anything with an electric guitar or bass or actual *instrument* rather then just a simulated one. Also you can have an analog synth, can't you?
posted by Canageek at 9:21 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do not think there is any use in distinguishing if a song is made up entirely of parts derived entirely from computers, though. That was novel in the 20th century (Albums made solely with electrical sources were novel. Then albums made solely with digital sources,) but it isn't noticed in the 21st.

I still make a distinction. And its telling that most amplified/rock acts have a few stripped down acoustic songs/side projects.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:26 PM on August 25, 2011


Out of curiosity, is there an overall name for music that doesn't have any singing or instruments but is made on a computer? I always thought that was what the term 'Electronica' or 'Techno' referred to --Music that was entirely electronic, not just a song with some synth or computer noise in it.

The current term du jour is EDM or Electronic Dance Music, which doesn't encompass all electronic music, nor is it entirely computer generated (90% of it uses samples of some kind, at least for percussion).

Even the stuff you hear on the radio by rock bands etc is so digitally processed its hard to draw a clear line between 'computer music' and 'not computer music'
posted by empath at 9:27 PM on August 25, 2011


Techno, btw, was a marketing term applied to a bunch of detroit-based house and electro producers, which came to refer to a particular kind of stripped-down, four to the floor genre of dance music, but also happened to be used as a name for a bunch of CD compilations in the 90s which didn't actually include much proper techno, so it became, for a while, the generic term for underground dance music in the US, the way that Acid House was early on in the UK.

Then electronica became the favored term for a short while, and EDM has been pretty much the standard for about 10 years. It's generic and descriptive, I don't see any reason to switch to something new at this point.
posted by empath at 9:34 PM on August 25, 2011


Sure it is: There is a rather vast diffrence between the above and say, anything with an electric guitar or bass or actual *instrument* rather then just a simulated one. Also you can have an analog synth, can't you?


But as empath said... "Even the stuff you hear on the radio by rock bands etc is so digitally processed its hard to draw a clear line between 'computer music' and 'not computer music'"

Like a lot of pop music out there, especially of the dancey variety, is entirely digital music except for the vocals. But nowadays the vocals are heavily processed, and synthesis getting better, so there wouldn't be much substantial difference between a pop song by Kesha and a pop song by a virtual-only KPOP star.

A less dancey example would be a lot of soundtracks. Composers have access to gloriously anal collections of samplebanks for every instrument in an orchestra playing every note in many types of rooms. Often they'll make a whole soundtrack out of the virtual orchestras. It isn't a giant step to go from the analog samples to digital synthesis.
And while there certainly is a difference in having a full orchestra record your score versus composing it with samples versus composing it digitally, the lines really start blurring for me.
posted by Theta States at 5:55 AM on August 26, 2011


The current term du jour is EDM or Electronic Dance Music

Really? I haven't really heard that in use (except in comments by you in threads like this!) since people were trying to popularise the vomit-worthy IDM as a genre term.

Plus I always misread it as EBM and wonder why people are talking about angry Belgians all of a sudden.
posted by jack_mo at 3:07 AM on August 28, 2011


Maybe a us thing.
posted by empath at 5:03 AM on August 28, 2011


I don't really care about how much digital work goes into it: Music that actually has people playing instruments in a studio or on stage has a very different sound to it then music made entirely on a computer: I'm not saying I dislike one or the other, but I think Mendelssohn and Metallica have more in common then either with any of the above videos, and it would be nice to be able to distinguish them.

I guess I'll just keep dating myself by calling it techno, as the ravers I know use IDM and EDM to mean specific subsets of DJ/electronic music.
posted by Canageek at 8:46 PM on August 29, 2011


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