From the outside dubstep may appear to be in a kind of hibernation, with only the die-hard fans really in the know of what’s happening in the scene. The phrase ‘dub-step is dead’ is often seen amongst comments on YouTube, probably posted by the nerds that say all dubstep sounds like Transformers having sex (or something along those lines).
But the opposite is very much the truth, in fact, now that the hipsters have left the bandwagon, artists have been given the opportunity to deviate from the norm. This has led to some of the most original sounding tracks ever coming from the scene. So, in this introduction, I hope to introduce you to 10 of the most proficient, and genre-bending artists at the top of their game right now.
Excision’s logo is a giant robotic tyrannosaurus, which is an excellent embodiment of what his music is all about. With roaring basslines, and piercing leads, Excision’s music is some of the best produced in the genre; it’s not surprising, as he’s been releasing dubstep for nearly a decade, and inspired most of the artists populating the scene right now. In 2012, along with his production partner Downlink and Pendulum drummer KJ Sawka, Excision formed dubstep supergroup DESTROID. With the backstory of being three aliens from space sent to free humanity through music, DESTROID provided the most out-of-this-world bass music ever heard.
Recommended Releases: Virus, Codename X, DESTROID
Also Listen To: Downlink, Space Laces, Dion Timmer
The clue’s in the name, his music is sick. Datsik blends the sounds of old school rap with the aggressive wobbles of dubstep, creating some of the heaviest, yet still mainstream dubstep being released today (and his recent rebrand as writing music for ninjas is extremely cool). Datsik is the head honcho of dubstep power-house label Firepower Records, and as a result is responsible for bringing some of the most influential artists out there to the forefront of the genre; including Getter (although you probably know him as the ‘Suh Dude Guy’). Note: Datsik is also one half of massively popular house duo Ephwurd.
Recommended Releases: Just Saiyan’, Down 4 My Ninjas, Darkstar
Also Listen To: Getter, 12th Planet, Cookie Monsta
Surprisingly it’s easy to forget Bassnectar, but he’s arguably the most proficient dubstep artist out there, with most of his fellow producers wondering how in the hell he gets his mixes so damn loud, without losing the dynamics of the individual sounds. Bassnectar’s music is so rich in sound it could fill an arena ten times over, and thankfully his recent experiments with the trap genre haven’t been too much of a disappointment. One of the awesome things about Bassnectar is that he works with so many artists I’ve never heard of, so every album offers the opportunity to discover so much more music than you bargained for.
Recommended Releases: Unlimited, Into The Sun, Noise vs. Beauty
Also Listen to: Flux Pavilion, Twofold, PhaseOne
A classically trained pianist, Xilent shows his deep understanding of music and tonality in everything he releases. Xilent produces some of the glitchiest, yet beautifully melodic dubstep, and it has some of the best flow in the scene. Recently signed to Never Say Die Records, presently the best label in the genre, Xilent has been give the perfect platform to push his wild sound. No one gives as much thought to their music, he recently said in an interview that when passed through a spectrograph his debut album contained secret hidden messages… Now that’s commitment.
Recommended Releases: Your System, We Are Virtual, The Fall
Also Listen To: 501, Seven Lions, Diamond Eyes
One of the youngest on this list, and studying graphics in his home country of Belgium, Eptic somehow manages to squeeze in a degree alongside being one of the most sought-after DJs to play at dubstep events. His unique, and quite strange blend of 16-bit sounds, outer space basses, and viral video samples sets him far apart from every other artist out there. His recent releases have been his strangest yet, throwing everything you thought you knew about dubstep out of window in a blazing fireball.
Recommended Releases: Overlord, Immortal, Doomed
Also Listen To: MUST DIE!, Megalodon, Habstrakt
Barely Alive basically arrived out of nowhere a couple of years ago, one minute hardly anyone had heard of them, and then after winning a couple of remix competitions they were the next big thing. Their productions consist of some of the crispest sounds I’ve heard in, with basses that seem to bite. After being signed to Disciple Records they went from strength to strength, releasing their debut album and storming the Beatport charts. The duo quickly went from being the new boys on the block, to veterans of genre in half the time most artists.
Recommended Releases: We Are Barely Alive, Fibre Optic, Internet Streets
Also Listen To: Virtual Riot, Twine, Zomboy
One of the only artists on this list who would come under the very current sub genre of ‘riddim’ dubstep Badklaat has proven himself as one of the most promising artists of the underground dubstep scene. His ground-shaking tune ‘Head Crush’ was one SKisM’s (head of Never Say Die Records, and technically probably the best DJ in the genre) favourites of 2015. He’s also shown himself to be hilariously funny with the aptly named ‘Riddim Tutorial’ featuring a robotic voice instructing the listener on how to make dubstep beat.
Recommended Releases: UK Cheese, Just Like Me, Bad Like This
Also Listen To: MurDa, JuJu, Rekoil
Trampa may well produce the heaviest music I’ve ever heard. Seriously, his tunes probably cause seismic activity when played at large festivals. Unlike many other artists who produce heavy music, Trampa’s signature style appeals to the masses. There isn’t anything else like it out there, and Trampa (soon to start a world tour) is a testament to the fact that hard work pays off. Definitely an artist who’s worth a listen, just be sure to turn your headphones down first.
Recommended Releases: Bulldozer, Black Hole, Consciousness
Also Listen To: Phiso, FuntCase, Midnight Tyrannosaurus
If you’ve despised everything else on this list, and the thought of listening to anymore dubstep is unbearable, maybe it’s not for you. But just stay with me, because not all dubstep is defined by crazy bass lines. MitiS is the perfect example, he is a magician, that creates the most beautiful soundscapes. He consistently delivers emotional music and since launching his own label Born Music it’s allowed him to gather similar artists together to release all their melodic music, not just dubstep, but also DnB and house.
Recommended Releases: Foundations, Life of Sin Series, Living Colour
Also Listen To: Illenium, Said The Sky, Kicks N Licks
Deep, dark and dangerous. Not only the name of their record label, but also the best way to describe New Zealand duo Truth. They’re all about sub bass, and the classic wobble bass that dubstep is widely known for. Having released on nearly every label dubstep has to offer, and acclaimed by their fellow producers, Truth are notorious for having some of the cleanest mixdowns in the industry. Now, with their own label, and an army of similar artists accompanying them, they’re spreading this lost sound throughout the scene once again.
Recommended Releases: Devils Game, Monumental, War Of The Minds
Also Listen To: Joker, J:Kenzo, Youngsta
Image Courtesy of flattop341 via Flickr