Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Twenty {frenetic} paces

 Me, thinking I'm cool. I mean, how could I not, right?

During my first week of college, I did what was only natural to a Springfield native attending the U of I — I hung with no one but the old guard. High school friends abound, I stayed close because it made things easier.

Through this behavior, I briefly met Brad Ryan, a regular guy attending the U of I and the friend of a friend of a friend. And in our first brief interaction, the conversation of hip-hop came up among he, myself and our peers. In this conversation, we covered Wiz Khalifa (then a newbie on the heels of the release of Kush and Orange Juice), Lil Wayne (then waning in a drought of sorts, only slightly different than now), and many others. Toward the end of the conversation, the new hip-hop came up. The not-yet-established-enough-to-be-considered-new brand of hip-hop. It didn't have a name — at least, not in our conversation.

"I don't really like it," Brad said. "It's like hip-hop beats, but techno."  He played us a sample, and the lack of sound quality of his computer prevented me from truly hearing what was playing. It sounded weird. "That sounds like it could either be awesome or really, really stupid," I chimed in.

And that's how dubstep was introduced to me.

Starts with more comfortable electric music, then drops...

Dubstep is fat beats that attempt to blow your speakers and invade your head and take over all your senses. It's most likened to rave music, a natural evolution, but with more rhythmic melodies (it makes sense, I promise. The melodies are made from the rhythmic elements). It's also like electric music (well, it is electric, but the sound is different), except with more of a mashup, chop-and-screw feel.

Dubstep requires a certain arena. You can't just throw on some dubstep (which should probably be called fuckingdubstep) while you're hanging out in your dorm room. Or in the middle of the day while walking your dog. You need it to be night, you need to be in a hot room with too many people in it, and you need to be impaired, preferably.

Dubstep is dance music through and through, and is best done when you're not hearing the same thing twice, and is a strengthening and eventual dropping of a beat, which should be done somewhat unexpectedly.

I love it. I spent all last year ignoring it, including the Canopy Club dubsteps held here on campus, but I finally decided to go to one this year. And luckily I drank a healthy amount before going, because it enabled the experience to transcend my mere sense of hearing. I could feel it, and the light show helped me see it.

What is it, exactly? I don't really know, it's this indefinable feel of a song, I feel it in hip-hop. It goes up and down, it frolics with the lyrics of rap songs, it drops in dubstep. It dances around any dubstep mix, playing with you in your drunkeness to make you feel like you're not only hearing the music but in tune with it yourself. It's what makes me dance and what enables me to do so without feeling like a total white guy all the time. I said all the time.

The drawback of dubstep? Well, it sucks if you're not in the mood for it. It's arduous to listen to and you need to be able to dance with it. Also, it's not catchy. If anything, it's elusive. You spend your time trying to figure out where it's going to go next. Trying to catch it. It's not going to get popular-popular, except for as like a thing people do. In a way different from music. Like, I can see dubstep getting popular in the way hookah is popular. You need this relatively elaborate set of parameters to be fulfilled. And while under most circumstances, it would be unpreferred, there are times when it's just absolutely on point.

Having said all that, I'm a big fan of dubstep. If for no other reason than it seems to be a definite creation of our generation. A genre of music that's conceived by this generation, and at that it may be the first new genre of the millennium. It's got a lot of room for innovation, and as for how big it gets, we'll just have to wait and see.

--Eliot Sill

1 comment:

  1. I like when dubstep replaces pop music at parties. It gives a strong dance beat without the weird, fake catchiness that pop songs try to bring.