With dubstep back on the rise, or at least not despised by everyone except a few of our most trusted allies, a new era of anthems is being ushered in. Whilst none of us want to admit to enjoying the memories of singing “Youuu Got to Know” before shoving our mates around a living room mosh-pit at someone’s free house during half term, we in fact do. “We can fight our desires”, or we can get a whole crowd chanting “da, da da da, da da da da, da da!”, Jahova style. Who knows? Maybe our mates will start coming out with us again. Aside from the unbreakable monoliths of dubstep’s early days, who else has been raising thousands of lighters, one song at a time?
Sir Spyro – Topper Top (feat. Teddy Bruckshot, Lady Chann and Killa P) [Deep Medi]
Shelling raves of all kinds throughout London and beyond, this tune caused more hype than Crazybones (not really, bad example). The positively enraging chorus had sweaty wrists flailing in the air for reloads left right and centre. The track itself is scientifically engineered to pull trigger fingers from pockets and make any silent mouth scream, “Topper Top Top, Topper Top Top, Toppaaaaaagh…” and so on. Like a true anthem, it surges the crowd together in one single action again and again. Thank you, Teddy.
Egoless – Empires of Dirt [Deep Medi]
As though the excitement surrounding the content of this release wasn’t already enough, it marked the musical milestone for Deep Medi reaching 100 releases, which of course boosted its profile tenfold. Bad quality, crackling videos of it slamming raves with its organic textures and comparably light-hearted approach to the 140-sound started circulating the internet months before any real clips of it were put online. From deep within the belly of dubstep’s zeitgeist, the flute dances the melody of yet another dubstep anthem.
Headland – Tasty Witch [Forthcoming System]
The moment this medieval melody vibrates the molecules in the air, a surge of arms and legs scramble to the front of the stage and jump, hands on stranger’s shoulders chanting the melody of the people. Images of age-old Cèilidhs and jesters spilling pints of grog beneath a warmly witchcraft-lit goats skull erupt, an entire village overtaken by celebration at the summer solstice. Above is a clip from Bukez Finezt’s February 2018 Crucial Recordings Podcast 017. Other than that, Headland’s stormbringer is so difficult to find online that your best chance of hearing it is to pay a visit to your local dubstep night and hope someone plays it. It’s incredible how tight-lipped ‘Tasty Witch’s’ mysterious journey to release has been, but word on the street is that System has signed it. So, it won’t be long before you can invoke the age-old summer spirits of dance too (hopefully)!
Samba x Chokez – Ghastly [Encrypted Audio]
Giggling its way into being, Ghastly took the 140 community by storm. With 300-500 having been pressed, Encrypted Audio and various good merchants didn’t quite anticipate the insane desire this record drove. It sold out in minutes. I was on the train home from work when I remembered that it was released that day and nonchalantly bought my copy. I checked Facebook a few seconds later to find endless scroll-wheel drags of disappointment. That was a smug journey home. With a fast-paced, grime-tinted drum pattern, a bone-tickling hook to rattle you forward and a crowd-favourite Pokemon reference in the name, Ghastly set a new bar for dubstep. Delayed percussive melodies have since become a fad, being utilised by producers and labels all over. But, Ghastly wasn’t inb4 Bandulu.
Commodo – Dyrge [Black Acre]
This one laid its seeds a long time before reaping its bountiful harvest. This beautiful Chupacabra tip-toed from rumours, to mix, to clip, to Black Acre over a year and a half. The Snoop Doggy Dogg hook gets the fingers clicking, while the background is filled with curiosity ready to carry solid bars. The entire four-track EP is bathed in the unique sound design of a sonic auteur.
Sir Hiss – Danny Uzi Vert [Infernal Sounds]
The summer of 2018 was the year of the pirate. Infernal Sounds plundered this dubplate and prepped its booty for the shores of Croatia, where drunken sailors under the sun and moon had no idea what to do with themselves. Those lucky enough to have found the ‘X’ that marked the spot will surely drift back into those Fort Pula salad days whenever Sir Hiss’ eski accordion surfaces.
K-Lone – Barbarossa [Wych]
Emblazoning Super Nintendo dreams across a banner of trap-infused positivity, K-Lone pixelated the most whistleable song of 2018 into existence. Squarewave cushions sit plump beneath a main-character sinewave that dances with ambitious wistfulness in loop-de-loops, zig-zags and tap-dancing descents. Despite its playfully erratic composition, it will quickly find a nice comfortable spot in your brain to light a fire and camp. A welcome earworm tilling the farmland of your mind.
Shu & Dalek One – Mumble Dub [Deep, Dark and Dangerous]
Nary a set goes by where this number doesn’t rock the rafters. Its sand-scavenger-threatening hook rebounds between any drum pattern, livening up blend after blend. It’s a great example of how a solidly minimal track can become unforgettable with one crucial element.
The waters are bubbling; a new breed of leviathan swims below. With summer and the festival season over the smoke-stacked horizon, another anthem is bound to erupt from the depths. What insane faces shall it drive us to make? How many shoes shall it force us to remove and raise to the sound system? How many drinks shall be lost to the trigger fingers? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know that I’m looking forward to raising my lighter to another tune that we all know exactly what to do with.