Rarely has an EDM musical genre had a real starting point in retrospect as this album. Indeed, The Roots Of Dubstep seeks to be a retrospective compilation to show a largely unaware EDM audience of where the genre began. Let’s take a listen to this album, and see where the music takes us. This is a rarity to find these days other than on YouTube, but all the same, is important so let’s jump in.
We begin with Hotboys (Dub) by Steve Gurley. It is a six minute long piece that begins with some fairly straightforward beats and textures here, which sound really nice. This is more akin to Breakbeat or Breaks than what Dubstep is today, but still sounds really fresh and impressive. A real simplistic, but energetic and fresh sounding tune that could easily be played in a club somewhere. Great music here, and just sounds really good, if not a little repetitive. Very basic, but very good. The repetitive nature of this track does wear thin towards the end, although the music here goes into a super minimal and different section to finish off with. Not bad all the same.
After that is Express by EI-B which is a more funky sounding piece that is lively and energetic. Sounding decent and incredible, this is a moving and energetic piece of music that is especially good sounding for those who like to hear some EDM in their car. Nonetheless, the vocal sample on this track, along with the percussion, drives along this number very well. It is simply a wonderful and energetic piece that is very minimal. Very repetitive, but aside from that, a fresh and cool listen that is very urban in feel. Brilliant and very fresh sounding, it ends with a whooshing sound.
Buck + Bury (Original Mix) also by EI-B comes next, with vocals by MC Juiceman. It begins with the sound of a rainstorm being recorded, before going into some pounding and energetic beats and sounds. A very good, although somewhat minimal listening experience. The vocals then come, and let this piece come alive, which is really cool sounding. A very strange sounding piece, this is probably best without the vocals here, to be fair. It is a bit odd having the vocals and some of the sounds meshed together here, which is an awkward mix indeed. Still, a good effort here nonetheless. Different all the same, which is always valuable.
Breakbeat Science by Roxy is next, which has some dramatic sounds here to begin with, sounding somewhat like a piece akin to a film soundtrack. Good, although once again, a bit too minimal. It is still worth hearing anyway, although the music here is extremely basic and straightforward, which unfortunately drags it down a little. Still, good to hear some important musical history here, and the vocal sample here is quite nice. It is good to hear how Breakbeat spawned Dubstep here, and is a very nice effort. Interesting listening all the same in retrospect.
Next along is 551 Blues by Phuturistix which begins with some nice percussion (bongos and hi-hats) before some eerie sounds enter. Really dark and eerie, this is definitely weird sounding here. It then launches into a King Crimson sort of sound here, which is different. The title of this track may indicate that this is a specific blues number, yet in reality, is anything but. It is a dark and driving piece of EDM which takes influence from many different areas here instead. Some beautiful saxophone is here in the background as well. Nice effort here, although a weird mish mash of sound. Good bass, bongos and textures here that are very different. Wonderful, yet a bit too minimal for most people’s liking here. It finishes with minimal percussion and tripped out vocal sounds here.
Following is Gorgon Sound by Horsepower Productions which begins with some classic lounge bar style beats and sounds. It’s a decent listen, although somewhat minimal and repetitive listening. Still, this is a really good listen here and just sounds like an incredibly good mixture of sound. Definitely very different to anything else out there, a great minimal piece of urban sound that is quirky. Great to listen to here, and just straightforward and nice. It fades out gently.
Classic Deluxe by Horsepower Productions is next, which begins with some really soothing textures and different sounds here that are quite nice to hear. This is a longer piece at over six minutes long, so this will take some time to listen through to this. There are some cinematic style strings and horns here in the background, which makes this a really classy listen. The whole piece builds up in sound and textures here, with some nicely created and mixed sounds, like the bongos in the background, for example. This is a really cool mash up of sonic expertise, and sounds very futuristic and awesome. Awesome listening, and just really amazing to hear, it is a deluxe classic indeed. Great stuff, worth a listen to here. Towards the end, it gets quite minimal here and sounds very much like an audio/visual piece of sonic ear candy. Great stuff, and although is very repetitive, is a little different. Decent tune.
Highland Spring is next, by Benny Ill vs DJ Hatcha. It is an Indian track and sounds really deep and spiritual for that reason. With loud beats as well, this is a really good listen indeed and just sounds unlike anything else out there. An essential listen for those who are interested, and an unforgettable listen at that. Clever and awesome, this is a really excellent tune. Great to hear something from another culture. Brilliant. A great listen.
Next along is Sholay (Epic Mix) by High Plains Drifter featuring Goldspot Productions. It is another Indian flavoured piece here that is based on an old Indian movie soundtrack here. Still, this is a really cool and very unforgettable listening experience that has some awesome female vocals in it. Brilliant stuff, and a great mixture of music, both new and old. Just excellent to hear, and really refreshing music. Excellent listening from start to finish, and a highlight of this album. Really different, but great piece nonetheless. It is a track for the open minded here, and just sounds top and awesome if you like Indian music mixed with a Breaks style sound. Great piece of music.
Following is Snake Charmer by Menta. It is another Indian take on sort of track, but honestly, sounds a little cheesy, at least to begin with. It goes into a decent tune nonetheless that sounds really great aside from that. It has various jungle samples, some electronic processed textures and a weird sort of sonic environment. Still, this piece thrives nicely and sounds pretty cool. Great stuff, and very different. Refreshing, just like an alcoholic drink in a tropical environment. Very impressive. It ends with some crickets chirping.
Artwork by Red is next, and sounds amazing, from the beginning. It is a lively, energetic, awesome and more typical sounding Breaks piece here. Great music, it just sounds really excellent and classy, with a semi-Acid and Techno sound and feel to this piece of music. Simple, yet effective, this is a really good listen, with an odd breakdown in the midsection here. Another nice effort here, and just sounds really cool and super impressive here. Some interesting sounds and samples conclude this piece and is a very minimal, catchy and good tune to hear. Nice stuff.
The Judgement is next by Benga vs Skream. It has some strange chanting and marching style drums to begin with, just sounding really different. This piece is difficult to pin down specifically to a genre, aside from some of the breakbeats here. It’s just different. Eventually this piece gets kickstarted and sounds really great, with an old school Techno/Acid House feel to it. Really great music here, this is minimal, yet loveable here. Another good slice of music here, this is really cool. Perhaps a little too minimal for most listeners out there, but a good listen regardless.
Next is the longest piece on this album by DJ Abstract named Touch. It begins with some good beats and melodies, which sound as though it could have been in a movie of some sort. Regardless, this is very well done and just sounds really great. Some good vocal samples of female singing are here in the background here, and this whole piece is super minimal, yet different. A good piece that gradually grows on one, it is fairly repetitive, once again and most of the album is quite repetitive, a noticeable flaw of it. A really cool listening experience all the same, this is definitely one that grows on you. Good, although probably not a great listen, although the intricate beats keep this one burning along. A decent tune, but sadly falling short of being great, due to its repetitive nature. It ends with the beats here alone.
Last on this album is Pathwayz by Digital Mystikz. It begins with some muted vocal harmonies, before going into a straightforward yet definitely proto-Dubstep piece beat wise that, once again, is a bit too minimal for many people to appreciate. Understandably, this is musical history, but needn’t be so routine. Some of the sounds here aren’t the greatest, either and don’t sound like as though they should be here on this track. The breakdown here is pretty dull, and this track is nothing much really. Sad to end an album like this, this could have been bettered. Still, you can skip this one, so do so if you feel the need for it.
This recording is very hit-and-miss, despite having some good tracks on it that are historically important. This is proof that some types of retrospective musical history are patchy at best, and this album is proof of that. The Indian flavoured tracks should have been released as an EP, and the rest of the album more or less discarded. Otherwise, good, but by no means great.
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