One love for the one sub-bass
The wait – both the queuing outside and for my chance to go to a large-scale dubstep night – was well worth it. DMZ at Mass/Third Bass was heavy. Mr Cinestatic, Czukay and others went down. Those who had queued for so long walked into the now-deserted original setting – they had started downstairs but numbers forced them to move up – and, not sure where the actual rave was, found their expectation morphing into a borderline hysteria. Got to get to the sound! Into the packed upper floor and it’s scary like an old hardcore do, the industrial rhythms and omnipresent bass pounding, everyone in abeyance to the sound. Straight away I lose everyone, finally catching up with them as Skream starts to drop the big guns. His top ends stand out over the bass and we’re shaking and shifting in the right places, or sometimes just letting the body convulse. Not to feel the music is impossible. To say the records finally make sense on this system is to do a disservice to the top-end elements of the haunted dub and ravey instrumentation – but what they’re doing when playing out is privileging the bass sound over all else so that it becomes an overwhelming singularity – it becomes difficult to pick out tonal/note changes as it’s just there, unchanging, imperious, all the time. So though the night in spirit is part of the rave ‘nuum, attracting that type of crowd (and not all blokes either!), how they’re asking the crowd to react is different; if you want to just stand, be passive and let it take over your body, then that seems fine. That’s what I see/hear anyway. Later I catch up with Soul-Jazz man Jonny, who is rapt that the Mystiks are playing out some of the tunes they’re going to simultaneously release on two 12s (BTW his Capracara outing itself is a tidy piece of Detroit/Chicago emulation). By 3:30-ish, we leave, DMZ have administered the sickness and turned my body inside out, and I was only too happy to let them do so. All of which makes me conclude that Skream’s trademark bird-whistling loop that appeared on one of his mix CDs, the sonic equivalent of the stars circling round dazed cartoon characters, is perhaps the most important signifier of this punchdrunk, unforgiving and powerful sound.