Is it okay to be under 30 and hate Dubstep?

Is it okay to be under 30 and hate dubstep?

By Powell Coffey

Because I do. Im 26 years old and I live in central California. Everyone around me is going nuts for this ecstasy induced, vibrational pattern they call music, and all I can do is wonder if real music will come back into the public world. But maybe I’m a cynic. Probably. That aside, there are many people of my generation that were raised in much the same way I was. My father played Grateful Dead and Beatles records my whole life. I was familiar with those melodies before I could form the sentences to describe them. As I got older I ventured into my own understanding of music, and Im all for that. The electronic producers of new age music are definitely venturing into the annals of musical possibility, but on the other side of the musical horizon we find the source of music, sound. While some sounds are beautiful, others can be more displeasing to the ear. What these modern day “musicians” have done is isolate the raw sound found in music and then oscelate the noise until they reach a desired (by them) frequency. It is these noises tuned in frequency (by machines) that create the “music” that they all listen to. You know, that unt-z unt-z sound coming from god knows where at every music festival that has happened in the last five years. Its a music festival guys, not a sound festival. At least play by the rules.


On the other hand, it’s not the music that I really have a problem with. Its hard to have a problem with self expression, even if it is at the cost of mechanical expertise. The truth is, most music today is produced largely with computers. What I do have a problem with is the transformation of the professional stage performance. Not too long ago a stage show was an ensemble production with 3-8 band members playing various musical instruments. The songs were played slightly different every time because the people behind the instruments could improvise off of each other. Now, the stage show at an electronic music concert consists of one human (the DJ) behind a mountain of equipment, which rarely even includes turn tables any more, opposite a crowd. He or she plays songs off of their trademark apple laptop while periodically glancing at the crowd or raising an arm into the air. This is what I payed 60 dollars to see? All the music that is being “preformed” at shows toady was composed and recorded anywhere from four weeks to four years before the “live” performance. The artist makes tracks on studio software at home and presents these creations under a false pretense of spontaneity and skill. It doesn’t take a high degree of proficiency to turn an EQ nob throughout an hour and a half set. If there really is a nob.


Which brings me to my final point: the scene. Dubstep in America began in and around the San Francisco bay. If you don’t know, the scene consists of an array of styles ranging from pirate to pixie. Illuminated pink and purple detachable dreadlocks and oversized fuzzy bear hoods are available at merchant stands throughout the area. Someone is usually selling over priced bottles of water. The patrons outside and inside the venue all have the same placated snarl stuck on their faces, infused there after just a few moments of mind shattering bass blown through a function 1 sound system. It’s a pretty grimy scene. The wall of sound incorporates vibration into the music in a completely original way, and it would be beautiful if it weren’t for its obvious adverse effects on the human(ish) recipients. Personally, I slept next to a function 1 sound system that played nothing but dubstep for a whole week. As a result, I found that I was increasingly disoriented and irritable. Then again, maybe I was just tired. Of dubstep.




Photo courtesy of Stock.Xchng

Emerald contributor since March 2012


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