Best EDM of 2012

The results of the annual Dubstep Forum awards for 2012 have finally been announced,  so it seems like a good time for me to give my picks (only 1/6 of the way into 2013!). I can’t say I’m too satsified with the way it turned out. Most of my nominees didn’t even make the final ballot. A lot of the winners are overhyped in my opinion, and  a lot of worthy candidates were overlooked. I’ll skip over categories that I don’t have a strong opinion on.

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Joe Muggs Interview with Coki

Joe Muggs Interview with Coki

This interview is from a week ago, but I haven’t gotten around to posting about it till now. For those who don’t know, Coki is one of the members of Digital Mystikz and DMZ and one of the founders of dubstep. He’s become known since 2007 or so for crazy “wobbler” tracks built around midrange-heavy basslines that use an LFO (low-frequency oscillator) to produce a “wobble” sound. The result is something I’ve heard described as aliens communicating with each other between galaxies, or as “scrambled eggs”.

A couple of examples:

And probably my favourite Coki wobbler, “Marduk” with its absurd  ADHD bassline and cheesy sci-fi bleeps and bloops:

My favourite Coki track is not a wobbler at all though: his bootleg of Richie Spice’s “Burnin”. This is just a badboy tune.

There are couple of quotes in the interview that relate to something that interests me a lot: the motif of the inhuman in electronic dance music (EDM).

…since “Goblin” I’ve tried to do something that’s a bit more mental, that makes musical sense but doesn’t at the same time. Like, 2008, I thought, I don’t want to make something that’s so catchy that people can hum it! [laughs]

 

No not escape, the truth is I just didn’t want to make catchy stuff any more! If it’s catchy people are going to pick it up, it’s hooky, it becomes popular because people can say to each other “ah have you heard that one that goes like this,” “ah yeah I know that one,” or if they haven’t heard it, when they do they’ll go “aaaaah it’s that one my mate was talking about.” But the kind of tunes I’m making now, they’re mental, you’re not going to be able to explain that to no-one! Soundwise you can’t do it with your mouth, I mean – you just can’t sing it. You might be able to describe it, of course, but that’s different, the person doesn’t catch on the same as if you can just sing the hook.

I’ve always felt that electronic music has to be in some sense inhuman: if you’re going to use all samples of “real” instruments, you might as well just play in a band. This is why I don’t find Mala (Coki’s partner in Digital Mystikz) as conceptually interesting as Coki and some of the more extreme forms of dubstep, even though he produced some of my favourite dubstep tracks, like “Give Jah Glory” and “Ancient Memories”.

Over the past few years I’ve been listening almost exclusively to EDM. It’s not that I don’t like a lot of traditional playing-instruments-and-singing music, but it feels somehow outdated. Not just that EDM uses technology in a way that more traditional music doesn’t, but a lot of this music feels to me like it’s only conceptually possible today, and somehow captures something about the world that more traditional music misses. What exactly it is that EDM can capture is something I’d like to be able to state more precisely, and something I’m working on at the moment.