Bassweight - The Growth of Dubstep DVD Review
I don't actually know the release date for this excellent documentary DVD (it says November on the blurb), but the 8th seems appropriate given the weight of choice when creating and listening to the genre of 'dubstep'.
"Bassweight" is another measure of how essential the sub-bass frequencies are to this most British of musical genres. Born out of South London districts such as Thornton Heath, Broad Green, Purley and Norwood, dubstep still flirts with crossover appeal some ten years after the initial conception in Croydon by....well no-one knows. 2-step garage appears to be the connecting point, geographically at least, but dubstep is a community all on its own and its origins are vague. Its hometown doesn't appear to give much time to it, despite drawing in shed-loads of clubbers to its various haunts (especially the Black Sheep Bar's Dub Kulture nights), yet this film and the music suggests this is far more global than the restrictive and testy postcode of CR0.
Directed by SRK, this DVD (and previously aired film at numerous European arts and music festivals) explores the origins of dubstep, its creators, the pirate stations, the pressing plants and first and utterly foremost, the DJs and promoters of a scene that has just started to create blips on TV channels and media PR consultants. My message to most of them is - leave it, stick with X Factor. This has been a street scene for too long to be bastardized.
Benga, Skream, Artwork (basically Magnetic Men), Hyperdub's Kode 9 and Burial, Mala from Digital Mistickz and N-Type provide the artist's point of view, while many other luminaries within dubstep's formative process, including Deapoh, frontman and founder for Bare Dubs and Bare Files, plus Mary Anne Hobbs and Sgt Pokes from the very different ends of radio presentation, give advice on how to present a show from the 'towers of London' without being detected. It's also all about the vinyl and dub-plates, quietly emulating the slip-shod Jamaican studio scene, prompted by frequent trips to record shops such as Soho's awesome Soul Jazz shop.
If you thought dubstep was restricted to Sarf Lunnun, think again - Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and even the States are name-checked in the film - plus some footage from Japan.
Insightful, inspirational and intriguing - dubstep remains an unspoilt and unexplored territory to the majors (despite dabbling from Skream, Breakage and Magnetic Man) and this documentary is an essential peep-eyed view into the evolution of a worthy British scene. Beautifully filmed and respectfully edited without bullshit and packed full of live performance, this is a film that may just become the 'Filth and the Fury' of dubstep's history.