Wednesday, 25 March 2009



I first came across this musical phenomenon on Queen's day in Amsterdam April 

2007. After a day of open air orange coated hedonism, we headed down the 

Marnixstraat to the Heineken factory where, next door is ‘Twstd’ Queens days 

premier underground party, as the word on the street was that Dave Clarke was to put 

in an appearance and electronic legend Billy Nasty also planning to rock the decks.

When we got into the place we sat in the outside area, and I got chatting to a guy 

called ‘Art’ and we shot the breeze about the current state of the dance scene in 

Holland, and what was up and coming. It was then when he told me about a club he 

promoted called ‘Lockdown” on the ‘Dubstep’ scene and tonight Billy Nasty would 

be playing a ‘Dubstep’ set.

 Now I’d heard the phrase banded around before and turns out I’d heard a few tracks, 

just not aware of putting all together under one scene.

And what a bizarre scene it was, for all of you who have not come across ‘Dubstep’ 

before it is a sound that originates from the UK garage scene in the late nineties, for 

all you jungle heads out there it will sound like a slowed version of drum and bass, 

the ‘dubstep’ scene pretty much runs concurrently with the grime scene, it’s a sound 

that champions UK hip hop style and is truly a sonic experience.

Bass is the defining characteristic to this sound, so heavy, deep and brash that you 

should feel it reverberate around your chest cavity if its been listened to correctly. The 

top range should appear sporadic highlighting the bass and with no real trace of any 

mid range. The combination of these two sounds will give the illusion of some mid 


The one requirement with this genre is the demand for it to be played through a great 

system and speakers set up for the bass crispness to otherwise it sounds distorted. 

When listened to at home, it is at first hard to figure out how this sound could be 

given a social outing but “ dubstep raves” are a completely unique experience.

Always dark and moody, just like the sound. Watching people sway to the bass and 

invent smart moves to cope with the lack of pace is something else. The odd thing is 

most modern day dance phenomena are base around the faster pace music with 

repetitive paced beats, but 'dubstep' is not any of those things, it is moody and slow 

almost fragmented in its approach, it has a hollowness that is completely filled with 

the bass, people can be very inventive when showing their interpretation of how to 

express themselves to what ever they are listening to.  The bass dictates the BPM and 

the beats are usually half time, whilst repeating bars and doubling up on the snare and 

the kick drum, and skipping beats that drag the rhythm around the speakers.

So you can imagine the first time I was presented with this, in its entirety that night at 

‘Twstd.’ apart from the sounds.

 The whole feel of the vibe felt very drum and bass, that wasn’t the only thing, the 

presence of an MC and the bass drops throughout the set also showed you that this 

movement takes its root from the UK garage and jungle scene, and using the dirty 

surliness of the London Grime scene but with out the ‘chavs.’

The ‘dubstep’ scene can draw its comparisons to the old Kingston dub sound systems 

where Lee ‘ scratch’ Perrin’s Arc studio reggae sounds rained supreme and early hip 

hop legends like ‘ Kool Herc’ cut there teeth before bringing that style to the Bronx in 

New York and the rest as they say is history.

This scene has its home in London but taken off big time in the Netherlands and 

Belgium where there are many regular nights such as Audio Culture and Lockdown.

Back in London Brixton as ever is at the for front of this scene with monthly and 

weekly nights getting down and dirty, the biggest of these is the monthly night called 

DMZ bought to you by the Dubstep label of the same name, with DJs such as the 

pioneering Kode9, plasticman and Digital mystikz.

The best thing about this low frequency sound is its ability to be mixed comfortably 

with other types of electronic music such as electro, techno and drum and bass. 

Minimal but still achieving fullness, it gives a wall of sound but with very little 


Dubstep is now getting the recognition it deserves with Burials debut album 

collecting ‘The wire’ album of the year accolade.

Another off spin to this genre is the 'No school' breaks scene championed by the likes 

of Dj's Deekline and Wizard, which is something like Dubstep meets Notting hill 

carnival. Other prevalent figures to rise out of this early Grime / Dubstep scene are 

Dizzee Rascal and early streets material are both cousins to this scene.

But if you want to get down then check out Dub scouts and the smog sessions, or my 

favourite Amsterdam’s Mike Engine and Styx.

So if you feel like taking a chance and giving something new a try check out this 

scene, if you don’t have the energy to get down to some banging techno or rocking 

jungle then its is time to “Dubstep” 

Rugged and underground but relaxing and when listened too can give an intellectual 

account for its self as thinking music.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


“ We’re getting too old for this” I heard a guy say behind me. I turned around  to take a look at this apparent decrepid octogenarian , who to my shock appeared to be in his mid to late twenties.

WHAT!?! I thought, is this guy talking about. At this point I would like to set the scene, it’s a Monday night and we are in the back room of the academy in Birmingham. It’s a full on metal gig. The haunted  have just finished whipping the crowd into a frenzy and All that remains are next on .  And it is heaving.

Im standing there with the ‘too old” twenty somethings behind me, and the’ve got me thinking. If he thinks hes too old? what are they saying about me and my mate who where born the decade before them.

Suddenly my inside voice got quite defensive “ too old, im not too old, ill show them what a child of the seventies can do.

“ when it kicks off again im gonna get in the middle of that pit” I proclaimed to my friend marc.

“Im up for a bit of that, been a while but its like riding a bike” he reassured me. So we waited for the band to take the stage.

 Slowly the crowd began to ripple and stir, the drums kick in and an explosion of energy erupts in the middle of the crowd like a metal volcano spewing out pre pubesant boys like molten rock and ash.

This is a mosh pits arrival, and the crowd explosion is the big bang. Everything after is mosh.

Now just over a few months ago we had seen Slipknot, so we were not out of practice. We knew what we had to do. So I went for it. In I charged, right into the thick of it, where I was duly spun round and spat out back from where I came.

“ Do you know what?, I thinks its ok here on the edge” I said , as a guy asked me if I’d seen his shoe. I was standing on a shoe so I picked it up and offered it to this mono-ped metaler.

“that’s not mine”

“that’s all ive got, this isn’t the foot locker” I replied whilst hurling the lonely foot garment Iraqi style into the crowd.

By this time the mosh pit had formed itself into a ‘chum ball’ like you would see tuna adopting to evade getting eaten on some Attenborough sea special. Whirling around all in one direction I think that is why I was ejected so swiftly.

Meanwhile as always, teenagers are littering the edges of the mosh, with expressions that they had bit off more than they could chew.

This is when it changed, where as 10 years ago I would of just carrying on pogo-ing and shouting,….. now I was working my around the edge of the pit with Marc picking up the young uns and dusting them off. I was that guy who picked me up in that very venue 16 years ago at a Mudhoney gig when I was getting trampeled.

We had become the St Johns ambulance of the gig, the good samiritans of metal and it felt pretty good.

The following day I spoke to my mom about the gig and what did she say?

“aren’ t you getting abit old for that”

“no “I replied, you are never to  old to enjoy yourself, its just now I adopt a slightly different role.”

Iam now that older guy at the gig, but I feel quite good about it.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009



 So this is it, the long awaited, muchly anticipated and thought never to be made 5th 

Wu Tang clan studio album, and here I am finally holding it in my hand, as much as I 

have been anticipating this release I have an air of nervousness about me as I slip the 

CD into my Mac. These soon to be unfounded tensions were brought on by rumours 

of unrest in camp Wu Tang, with Ghostface Killah and Raekwon publicly voicing 

concerns over RZA’S production before anyone had heard a single beat, this 

combined with the death of the both notorious and significant member ODB the man 

who stuck it all together the Wu glue if you will, it did not look plain sailing on the 

good ship Wu. So wrongly there was a slight preconceived feeling of disappointment 

before I had heard a note.

You may indeed call me a Doubting Thomas and you would have a strong case, 

because thankfully I was wrong. I really enjoyed this album as a whole album, yes it’s 

different than previous 4, with their big handfuls of stand-alone tracks. Here though, 

there are no obvious singles, but to me a more soulful offering, with a lot more sang 

vocals than in there previous outings, this is nowhere near as rough as 36 chambers, 

but was it ever going to be, if you are expecting that then you have to realise that this 

is 15 years later and that rugged recorded in a smoke filled basement sound which 

was what the first album was all about is not going to stick anymore. The Wu and in 

particular the RZA’s production style have matured like a fine wine and it shows, 

with an overall deeper sound and feel. Maybe triggered by the loss of ODB and the 

fragmented state of the clan .You can feel the atmosphere of loss and discontent. Yes 

its all still there, the old Kung Fu movies samples and sampled strings that have been 

dedicatingly tracked down and dug out, yes the beats and the detail are sophisticated, 

but it’s more than that, 8 Diagrams shows what the Wu-Tang do best …rhyme, and 

boy do they rhyme. These boys are all over these tracks like the NY immigration 

department on anyone with a beard. And that’s the point there styles compliment and 

highlight each other, the smoothness and flow of Method man followed by the 

aggressive styling of Ghostface Killah and Inspectah deck. Spitting metaphors back 

and forth like some kind of audio badminton with the rhymes gliding gracefully to 

and fro over the beats. There are two tracks on this album that stand out for me, are 

with its powerful strings ‘rushing elephants’ and the fantastic ‘wolves’ with the 

President of funk himself George Clinton on guest vocals. The latter is a wild west 

adventure that is a lesson to all budding hip hop producers on how to use samples, its 

perfect, and trust me I do not take that statement lightly but RZA has a way to balance 

his styles, and with the almost eerie loop on this track the ‘Wuuuuuuuuuuuuu-

aaaaaaaaaa’ sound (how else do you expect me to demonstrate it) which is the spine 

in which all the beats and samples attach themselves to give this beast of a record its 


Those who are familiar with the Wu tang know that these are not individual albums 

the Wu philosophy connects all of them like one big puzzle with references and 

metaphors connecting all there ventures through ancient Chinese philosophies with 

urban connotations relaying a guide to life and spirituality, I mean how many other 

hip hop acts have released a book of philosophy based on numerical patterns through 

life!! (I am not making this up)

Other collaborators include Erykah Badu guesting on the heart-felt ode to Old dirty 


We are all going to miss ODB even though I’m sure there is a catalogue of unused 

recording of him ‘a la’ every other dead rapper out there but it’s the live feel he gives 

to a track that will be surely missed. Even though ODB has gone let us not forget that 

the major players are still there RZA, GZA, Method man, Ghostface, U god, 

Inspectah deck and my personal favourite Raekwon doing what they do best and still 

sounding fresh. This album may be a bit tamer than before but it is still worth 

anybodies time who loves great hip hop and wants another piece of there Wu tang 

puzzle or if its your first time then just enlighten your soul. Shoalin style,

Friday, 6 March 2009


With tomorrow being Dave Clarkes triumphant return the Q club, tonight we are going to get you warmed up. The Mighty P himself will be on the mix tonight. Plus we will spin a few ATOMIC JAM faves to get all of our listeners ready for the Techno throw down tomorrow night.

Tickets are still available plus about 50 tickets are going to be available et the door.

Heres the line up.