As dubstep enters a new echelon with entire festivals dedicated to its deep, wobbling kiss of death, it’s high time to remember that dubstep arrived at the helm of the EDM explosion in the US.
Skrillex released the Kraken with Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites in 2010, just as the term “EDM” was starting to take shape. At that point, the raw, sometimes island-evocative, minimalist sound known as “riddim” didn’t boast anything near the earnest following it enjoys today. The popular dubstep in the states at the time, commonly referred to as “brostep,” was flashy and rather outlandish. It was raucous. It was huge in both form and function. And MUST DIE! was undoubtedly one of the biggest proponents of the sound, signing on with Skrillex’s OWSLA, where he produced some of the most irreverent and influential cuts of the moment, (i.e., “Gem Shards”). Though, as time went on, once the compositional visionary began regularly releasing with dubstep dominion Never Say Die records, his catalog became riddled with tracks imbuing more riddim-ready sensibilities.
On “Funeral Zone,” his latest Never Say Die release, MUST DIE! aligns himself with the sonic trends of the current dubstep epoch, employing harsh, undulating, riddim accents alongside a series of floaty mid-range synths that would, oddly enough, feel at home in a buildup by the late great Avicii. Don’t fret though, when the drop comes in there is no mistaking this is a MUST DIE! track that belongs in 2019.
Photo Credit: Chelone Wolf