Subterranean; Wed 1
Dubstep might have a nice ring of magazine-cover novelty to it, but the genre is really the latest incarnation of a long line of efforts at future dub perpetrated by everyone from Mad Professor to the On-U Sound label. The techy side of dub also had a heyday in the ’90s when the experimental-electronic, trip-hop and post-rock sets took a crack at it. That was captured on a brilliant compilation called Macro Dub Infection.
The compiler, rogue producer Kevin Martin, doesn’t care much for limitations—he’s worked with everyone from Kevin Shields to Anti-Pop Consortium. Now as the Bug, he’s taken a role as the wise elder on the trendy dubstep scene alongside London’s always-tipped Digital Mystikz and Skream. On his latest, London Zoo (Ninja Tune), the Bug brings some of the Jamaican flavor back into the aggressive, bouncey mix. Guest MCs like Warrior Queen and Tippa Irie deliver on a skewed axis—the Spaceape takes the cake for nuttiness on his shining moment, “Fuckaz.” It’s dancehall as dark dissatisfaction, not party music.
Montreal’s Ghislain Poirier, who’s also on the bill tonight, travels on that same experimental highway of global bass, but on efforts such as No Ground Under, he injects transcontinental dancehall with machine-gun fire and keeps it clubby and topical on tracks like peace-plea “No More Blood.” Both Poirier and Chicago-based DJ C (profiled in our Fall Preview issue and spinning tonight) have collaborated with versatile rhymesmith Zulu—the Chicago-based Panamanian is something of a local secret who is liable to break out of the digital white-label scene any day now. At least for a night, dub 2.0 has a foothold in Chicago.