Cubicle music is night music
I know dubstep is supposed to be, like, DARK and MENACING, but my fave tune of the moment in this microest of microgenres is a one-off comp cut that almost…flutters. “Unite,” from the anonymous dubstepper-of-the-moment Burial, is featured on Soul Jazz’s seemingly must-have Box of Dub comp. He’s already stood out from the Skreams, Loefahs, etc of the world because:
A) No one knows who he is (obv)
B) In his (admittedly limited) discography, the production BROODS way more than it POUNDS.
The lack of reliance on sub-bass stretches the limit (and definition, even) of the genre, new as it may be. Now, I know basically fuck-all about most of the recently popular UK electronic music waves (drum n’ bass, 2step, garage, etc) but there’s something in the subtle melody and light touch of “Unite” that makes me think Mr. Faceless doesn’t have as much of a fingers-in-ears attitude toward the recent past as the rest of the trailblazing d-step pack.
“Unite” sounds almost LILTING in a way that most other current ‘steppers would never touch. First of all: it fades in. There’s no rush, no throbbing, no urgency. There’s no off-setting percussive syncopation, it’s a carefully constructed shuffle. And man, the melody. A heavily reverb’d female vocal sample of “oohs” and “yeahs” with a dumbdumb simple repeating two chord piano part. It almost sounds like melodic Aphex Twin or something. I mean, IDM! The horror!
It’s the DUB that plants “Unite” (tenuously enough) in with the dubstep crowd. There’s reverb on everything, basically – all the little sonic elements bouncing off of each other until the coming-up-for-a-breath moment halfway in.
Final (but noteworthy) point here, RE: the bass. Most dubstep focuses on sub-bass THROB and syncopation, but the bass on “Unite” is that rare d-step breed: a bassLINE. It’s downright BOUNCY! I mean, not to beat the WTF-horse into submission, but…WTF, right?? It flits around and shit! It’s playful!
Anycase: the goods.