Wednesday, January 07, 2009
With the twenty-first century well underway, dubstep has established itself as the dominant musical sound right across the globe. Having swept aside all other genres, dubstep now emits unchallenged from the open windows of every house on every street in every town of every country in the world. The dubstep versioning of the Emmerdale theme music -- the last of the British soaps to adopt the sound for its titles -- has irrefutably cemented its legacy...
Dubstep emerged on the underground music scene around the turn of the twentieth-century, and was readily recieved by the bass-hungry Edwardians. The style, like "hip-foxtrot-hop" and "ragtime-dancehall" before it, was influenced and inspired by the advancements in loudspeaker technology that had taken place over the preceeding century. Dubstep music was created specifically to take full advantage of the astonishing capabilities of the collosal Victorian speaker boxes.
...In 1913 Russolo and Piatti developed the "dub-horns", which were designed specifically to produce the super sub-low basslines of dubstep music from a managable sized box. Piatti's vision, as he explained to Russolo, was to "build a cab no taller than a man's waist that can comfortably do 30Hz at 108dB, innit." This creation revolutionised the portability of sound-system, and by 1920 dubstep had spread from the music-halls into the homes of the masses. The British middle-class were renowned for their 3 day skankathon house parties, and it was said that no Georgian parlour was complete without a pair of Russolo and Piatti's thunderous "flannel flappers".
By the 1950s, dubstep had attained true international recognition, seen in such chart smashes as Bill Hayley and The Comets' "Brock Around the Clock" and "Skank, Rattle and Roll", and of course the big screen musical blockbuster "Skanking in the Rain". On his London stints, Elvis Presley himself would religiously visit Transition Studios get some exclusive dubplate cut. These subbed-out versions of The King's classics are now so saught after that -- even though the acetates are virtually unplayable -- the discs change hands for incomprehensible sums.
In the 1960s, the UK dubstep scene, confident in it's supremacy, saw no need to involve itself in the petty cross-cultural conflicts between the mods and the rockers. However, when the unenlightened began rioting on the streets and disturbing the dubsteppers' daily meditation it was recognised that decisive action needed to be taken. In May 1964, amid an organised clash between the mods and rockers, dubsteppers descended on Brighton beach armed with over 800kW of sound-system and proceeded to rally the warring tribes with serious riddim. Those that were not physically flattened by the cataclysmic bass frequencies fled in terror. Within five years most had abandoned their inferior genres and joined with the dubstep massive.
In the States, the hippie generation had truly taken dubstep to their hearts. The 1960s culminated in the gargantuan "Dubstock" festival, in which over a million young Americans descended upon New York state for "three days of peace and dubstep". Over the course of the successive decade, though, the young people found themselves persecuted by Richard Nixon's Republican regime. Nixon and his contemporaries claimed to correlate sub-low frequencies with communist conditioning, and set about trying to outlaw all things bassline. "Communism isn't sleeping", Nixon stated, "it is, as always, wobbling, wobbling, wobbling, wobbling..."
...Before long dubstep was dominating the broadcast airwaves. In 1989 the Astra 1A satellite was launched with the aim of affording the opportunity for "every home around the world to enjoy quality bass meditation on over 800 channels." Quite inevitably dubstep infiltrated all aspects of the growing multi-media market. By the 90s the rapidly developing games console industry were offering such titles as "Super Mario Steppaz" and "Sub-sonic the Hedgehog". TV programmes like "Dubbytubbies" extended the reach of serious riddim to pre-schoolers, giving the next generation of youngsters a positive foundation for a rewarding life. The 90s also saw the proliferation of mobile technology, and now, in the new millenium, it is possible to comfortably fit a 1kW scoop bin into your back pocket. This has been met with unanimous approval from the elderly community, who have blissfully reminisced about the seisemic bass-fest sessions they had "back in the day" while the youth test their new ring-tones at the back of the bus.
And now, we children of the twenty-first are steadfast in our quest to take the dubstep message far beyond the reaches of this tiny planet. At locations such at Parkes Dubversatory in New South Wales, Australia and the Jodrell Bank Experimental Bass-station near Cheshire, England, bassline is being transmitted deep into space. It is estimated that every solar system between here and Ursa Minor should be feeling the weight, and it is hoped that the party will last for millenia!