Intelligent Dub Music

April 6, 2010 § 16 Comments

The older university Students of a bit earlier in the naughties, you know, the ones who actually ‘discovered’ dubstep. They are presumably at least a little bemused if not disgruntled that Dubstep did what it did. It almost became a fashion – that isn’t to say that people of my age  aren’t genuinely enticed by the “wobwobwobwob” – It is undeniably enticing.

However, it doesn’t require much thought. A genre like dub where almost all the appeal rests in the beat requires almost no intelligence to produce -just initiative… and a beat. Anyone, including you, could find a beat and a few loops of synth and you’d be  just as appealling as all the other Dub artists.

So anyway, all this opinionated nonsense brings me to some interesting artists and the lesser known meaning of IDM (intelligent DUB music):

Scuba – my cool older cousin told me about this man. This has got to be the best looking cloud I’ve ever seen on Soundcloud as it combines Scuba’s sounds that make up his EP aesaunic. So many cool glitches like dntel, but mixed in with glimpses of a big beat. Too amazing.

aesaunic EP preview

you can also download whole mixes from Scuba’s soundcloud.

Joy Orbison

Hyph Mngo

Joy OrbisonJoy Orbison



Clear-up for ‘Intelligent Dub Music’

A controversial post on dubstep that caused ripples on the world wide web – some positive, some negative.

“Anyone, including you, could find a beat and a few loops of synth and you’d be just as appealling as all the other Dub artists.”

In this particular example, a quotation that aggravated a few DJs amongst others, I would like to correct myself slightly. OK, the actual business of creating dubstep is technically quite hard – my brother’s friends spent absolutely ages perfecting and getting every detail right on his ‘XX remix’ (see ‘Everything is Always‘). I am not trying to discredit the effort it takes to make a dubstep track, I was rather trying to highlight that a lot of the standard mediocre dubstep (the almost-commercial surface of this huge and wonderful genre) sounds very similar – thus leading me on to the fact, that creatively – there’s little room. It doesn’t require much creativity to create mediocre Dubstep, just a brilliant mind on computer software.

Therefore, I was suggesting Joy Orbison and Scuba as just TWO examples of dubstep with a little bit more to offer. I was hoping that they might lead on to the many other originalities and gems that Dubstep has to offer.

On a lesser note, I wanted just to point out that I was aware of IDM’s meaning, but was merely suggesting an alternative meaning (I Dub M) simply as a little pun!

but enough of this opinionated nonsense,



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§ 16 Responses to Intelligent Dub Music

  • stupid says:

    if you think that all dubstep takes is initiative, well you are part correct but producing isnt as easy as it seems and takes time and experience as well as atleast some knowledge in music. sure anyone could make dubstep; anyone can make ANY TYPE of music if they have initiative. but that doesnt mean it will be good… a lot of dubstep does sound the same, but thats because those producers just arent doing anything different to the genre to make their music stand out, unlike these producers; the big names in dubstep if you notice have their own “thing”.

    but like you said, just some opinionated nonsense

    • The more interesting dubstep, I was trying to explore in this particular blog post. This is dubstep that stands out from the rest, purely because the artists have more experience like you say and they are infact talented. Did you listen? what did you think?

      Unfortunately though, I fear you are coming from the direction of pop hits like Caspa and Rusko, in which case our opinions would be simply different 🙂

      Thankyou for commenting.

  • kempton says:

    What about the originators of non-step dub? King Tubby. The Mad Professor. Lee Perry. Ruddock. The early innovators created the tunes that led to house, hip hop, dnb and touched practically everything else. And many of their pieces require a much more patient and perceptive ear than what mainstream dubstep has become.

  • The Mimik says:

    Dubstep in general is all intelligent music in my opinion. Many of the sounds are very very complex, and the result of software bringing modular, user patched and modified synths at affordable prices to users. That and computer driven automation to lock complex filter sweeps and modulation to the tempo, something that cannot be achieved by hand, is what drives this music. Dubstep is becoming like all electronic music and separating into sub genres, but the simple fact is that if you like electronic music, you’ll most likely find something you like in dubstep.

  • enh says:

    Dunno about the dubstep hype…it sounds a bit too much like intelligent drum and bass for it to be spoken of as a new(ish) electronic music movement. Nice tunes, but none of it is especially inventive (except for Burial, maybe).

  • DJ says:

    Bold statement. I’ve been producing for 4 years, using 4 separate platforms- I dj alongside some of the biggest names in the world when they get booked in my town. Making music does not take merely a “beat” and “initiative.” It requires painstaking effort, a proper ear, rhythmic ability and a whole pile of nerding out over the lastest computer software and techniques. It’s a pain in the ass to say the least. Listening to one loop for days while trying to tweak your synth to make it more agreeable to your pad, trying to tune your kick, warping vocals, sidechaining sub bass, and most of all coming up with something “original” and noticeable. The way you use “intelligent” is actually personal preference. Just because these aren’t club bangers does not make them intelligent. Look up Babylon System, Antiserum, even Rusko and Caspa’s lowdown tracks that sound quite similar to these. Anyways, I find quite a few problems with your statements. Grab a copy of logic or ableton and try to make something that would be so great. I dare you! On the bright side, those are great tracks. Oh, and its intelligent dance music, IDM. Not dub.

    • @DJ,

      Perhaps im trying to say that there’s not much room to be creative and innovative at all (apart from maybe adding aggressive english accents and violent noises (i.e WHERE’S MY MONEY!), I don’t want to play down the hard work that goes into making a decent track, my housemate who did the xx remix that we just posted spent hours everyday perfecting the every miniscule detail. I maintain my point that this ‘pop cultured dubstep’ all sounds very similar to the average teenager/student who listens to it and tells all his friends how “crazy” it is, and starts shouting “wobwobwob” at spontaneous intervals.

      I think the music I posted stands out stands out from this trend, and in my opinion, is more sophisticated and generally more creative, more original. I think they’re great songs.

      The only point on which I can defend myself truly is that I was aware of IDM’s meaning, and was suggesting the perhaps “lesser known meaning of IDM (intelligent DUB music)”. Just a bit of a pun.

      BUT, as I like to say, enough of this opinionated nonsense! (this is not to discourage any replies)

      Check out the other posts, they’re less controversial and there’s lots of good stuff going on. This is infact one of the first times I’ve laid my opinion so heavily, usually it’s more peaceful – should have just put the songs up and left it at that!

  • Copilul Rebel says:

    Very nice article, I can understand what you’re saying. Of course everyone can use good program to create such sounds, but creating a great track you’ve got to have that extra thing to succeed! Btw, a stupid question, that wobwobwobwobwob comes from a track I’ve been searching some time ago and I didn’t know the name. If someone could help would be very apreciative. Thanks!

  • The Mimik says:

    “Anyone, including you, could find a beat and a few loops of synth and you’d be just as appealling as all the other Dub artists.”

    Ouch. I understand why this comment might come about. Due to the internet and the accessibility of free, inexpensive, or just flat out pirated software and audio production tools, anyone really can build a very capable studio without spending much, or any money at all.

    So….. Basically anyone can have the same tools as professionals without having to do much but download a torrent or whatever. This is also true with sample packs, plug-ins, and tutorials/training. No longer do you have to strip single drums hits out of loops by hand, set loops points by ear, or do all that insane stuff people used to do like sample records at 45rpm and then pitch them back down to free up some that 20 seconds of total sample time absurdly expensive samplers had not too many years ago. Now you hit a button and you have a fully chopped sample, you may have to fiddle a little, but you won’t have to spend a whole day trying to fit a sample into your tempo etc. Just time stretch and go!

    So yeah, my point is that without much effort people can get themselves to mediocre VERY easily. There is tons of crap dub step out there, I know that. And the concept of dark step, skull step, and filthy etc dub step is pretty simple, wobble, drums, samples, some sound effects. But making yourself stand out and producing good tracks is HARD WORK, and takes a lot of creativity (if you are not a fan of bass wobbles, chances are you don’t pay much attention to them, and miss out on the details.. Nothing wrong with that, just an observation). To stand out you can’t just download a synth setup for reason and tweak a few knobs… Chances are 10k+ people have downloaded that too.

    The music industry in general is also a big reason as to how the scene is turning out. There isn’t a ton of money in music there used to be, and the internet lets anyone who has a track put it up to youtube for the world to see.

    There is NO quality control aside from the fans. There are no managers anymore, no large labels with armies of promoters and massive amounts of money to throw at making sure the product is air tight before release, and most often a lot of these dub step producers are self represented. They are also younger, so they don’t have large studios, or the really expensive mastering equipment to put the professional sheen on tracks. So basically a lot of this stuff is put together on some kid’s computer with pirated software and a $50 MIDI controller and then burned straight to disc and released out to the world. No engineering or mastering, so the quality of even some of the best tracks suffers a bit.

    The upside to this is that the producers are accessible as well. I have a ton of producers on my facebook account, and if I want to talk to them I just hit them up in chat, or send them an email. And they talk to me, instead of some pop superstar who doesn’t even put his own pants on, let alone lower themselves to actually talking to their fans. It’s a good scene, I love dirty filthy nasty dark dub step. I love teh wobble myself, and I continue to find and creative stuff every day. I’m also an American, so it’s not such a huge thing here yet. It’s still pretty underground, most people don’t even know what dub step is. And most people think my computer is failing catastrophically instead of playing music…….

    Oh and as far as the structure of much of my personal flavor of dub step, it’s made for DJs. It has a set number of bars of just drums, a build up, drop etc. so that it’s easy for DJs to mix. Yeah 32 bars of just drums drags on and can be boring, but it allows DJs many different ways to present the music. Anyway, this is just a general rant.

    • @The Mimik
      Obviously, the first statement of which you have quoted, I feel in hindsight, was worded poorly.

      However, I agree with you. I was just trying to point out that all this “mediocre” popular dubstep which will sometimes satisfy anyone, is pretty acute in mind and sometimes lacking originality. The purpose of the blog was to show to some people, who’d never got past the mediocre surface of this huge and epic genre, to show some dub songs with a bit more substance and originality, I thought Scuba and Joy Orbison would make fine examples. But of course, I myself, have only touched the surface. Maybe this post could have spurred on a search from people who were interested in what Dubstep has more to offer.

      Thanks for commenting, your rant is much appreciated.

  • B612 says:

    I’ve never posted a comment on the internet, but I just have to throw my two cents in this one…
    Yes, anyone can download the software for free and give it a shot. What separates a good producer from the rest is “finesse”. (quotation marks because I feel that’s the word needed in this discussion).
    You can grab a big pot and start putting ingredients from your kitchen at random, but that won’t make you a cook. You have to know what, why, and how much you need and know what flavors will compliment that. Good sense of taste.
    Same thing in music, you must have at least an idea of what’s what to do it. Programs aren’t made in layman’s terms like “the wobwob thingie”, considering there’s a few ways to make something wob. So it’s not even about intelligence, it’s about knowledge.
    And unless you actually have a good sense of taste (in music), knowledge won’t get you anywhere either.

  • […] For the original article, go here: Intelligent Dub Music […]

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  • […] peaceful (say 20 views a day!), everything was very cosy and pleasing, and then BANGNAGAGNNGBAMM!!! I wrote a post SLAMMING ‘dubstep’ in to a small carton of out-of-date yoghurt, claiming it’s lack of talent and even intelligence. Of course the whole affair was a great […]

  • Joan Cuva says:

    Probably not, I’ve read elsewhere that said it isn’t.

  • Nature says:

    Dubstep is the perfect example of something being unnecessarily and unproductively different. It is primordially tangential, and fundamentally detracts from greater genres – Ergo, it requires far less thought and creativity to generate. Perhaps there is more work to be done in practical terms to churn out a “decent” dubstep track, but in the creative realm it registers merely a speck against the universal magnificence of electronic music.

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