Descent into Dubstep

WARNING: OPINION AHEAD

(also note that this is a really hard article for me to write and post)

So over winter break I attempted my first dubstep track-project-thing. And I learned a lot.

See, it’s amazing how little you notice about a kind of music until you really get into it: until you dissect it and study all its parts and characteristics. So though I knew this project would be a challenge, I didn’t fully understand how much of a challenge it would be and why. I didn’t know what I was getting into.

Don’t get me wrong, I still do enjoy dubstep music as a great background track for when I work out or am reading or doing homework or anything like that. Essentially, what I have discovered is that (for me) dubstep is only fun for casual listening. For until now, I had never gone deeper with it.

The first thing I had to realize was that I really had never made anything even remotely similar to dubstep. Even what I had listened to, I soon found, was not real dubstep, but rather a fusion genre of something or other. Everything I started to make flowed too well, and was too (if I may say) “groovy.” So I had to scrap everything, do some research, and restart. In my researched I simply noted the characteristics I heard in dubstep that made it different than other music. Strangely, I had never listened to dubstep with the same intention as I had other music. So I was surprised by what I found.

Though I really hae no better way of saying this, dubstep is form of music with many, many postmodern characteristics. Besides its basic rhythm, very little of it has organization or structure besides the bits of original music from which with was derived. There are few notes or melodies or tones, but only mere atonal sounds. Also, it now makes so much sense why so many DJs use profanity in their mixes, merely for the shock value. Everything in it seemed shallow to me, merely to increase a song’s popularity.

But the hardest part for me is that dubstep really has no depth of expression or emotion. Emotion is why I make music in the first place, as I prefer to communicate and experience emotion through such an abstract form as music. So dubstep was incredibly hard for me to wrap my brain around. It seemed that everything I loved about music was stripped away in this project.

Being a postmodern and very superficial kind of music, I simply cannot agree with the ideology behind dubstep. In fact, if people were to claim that dubstep isn’t “real” music, though I certainly would not agree with them, I can see where they are coming from. To me, music is for beauty, for order, and for emotion – reflecting many of the attributes of the Creator of music and art Himself. But I see so very little of that shown in dubstep. But I dunno, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m not hearing it right.

Though I am thankful for the growing experience for sure (hey, when else will I get a chance to discover how to tune cat meows?), and it’s a great tool to have in my toolbox, I do not see myself composing, or probably even listening to straight-up dubstep again. At least as much as I can help it.

 

Sorry to those this might have offended. But hey, whatever you do, whatever you’re into – don’t stop listening. Listen on.

-Hailey

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