Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Roots of El-B

Whilst writing my review of the new Roots of El-B compilation forthcoming on Tempa (see below), I was researching El-B interviews and facts and came across this 2001 interview by Kode 9 on his Hyperdub website and reproduced on the website

A particular sentence struck me.....

K9: "Do you still check drum'n'bass?"
El-B: "Yeah, I still have love, particularly if it's not amen stuff. I've never liked the way that sounded on club systems. I like the separates. I like the low frequencies of a bass kick, the mid of a snare and the high frequencies of the high hats. I think the only reason that the amen is coming back is because they know it is selling to the students."

It just resonated with what is happening to the dubstep sound right now. The preponderance for grotty, jump up, mid range noise-core, which in my mind takes the place of the 'Amen stuff' that El-B cites. And this trend is catalyzed and propelled by the new crowds that come to dubstep everyday.

At the risk of sounding like a reactionary, some of this stuff is effective, but to the detriment of everything else.....?

Anyway....the review:

El-B – Roots of El-B (Tempa)
Following on from the Roots of Dubstep also compiled by Martin Clark aka Blackdown and Ammunition (peeps behind FWD and Tempa), the next installment is from a true pioneer of the sound, pretty much the most important figure who pushed the dark garage sound in the early 2000’s which came to provide the blueprint for, and then mutate into, the sound we know as dubstep. Those new to El-B or indeed unaware of his music and the nascent scene populated by the likes of Zed Bias, Oris Jay and Groove Chronicles (who El-B engineered for) will hopefully be able to make the connection with it’s evolved brother, dubstep, with it’s stripped down aesthetic, dependency on heavy basslines and moody, esoteric vibes. Indeed, even though the half step and wobble motifs dominated 2006-2007, 2008 and 2009 has and will see the resurgence and deeper excavation of this swing based 2-step form. The likes of Burial, TRG, Martyn and Sully are already pushing these sounds into new territories. Therefore this collection couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve no real need to go into detail on each track. This is essential music history for those that missed it the first time round, and a neat aggregate of the classic vinyl tracks gathering dust for those who were.

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