Burial - “Archangel”
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It really is shameful that the word “dubstep” has become the current national joke when it comes to music. Sure, we can blame Skrillex and others for misappropriating this label, but the way these things work, once the culture has decided it’s a bad word, truthfulness in genre science no longer matters. No one has to know what real dubstep was; they just have to know when to use it pejoratively. It’s what happened to terms like “techno” and “emo”; one rotten apple, etc.
Before most of the population knew what dubstep was, I knew of Burial, a then-anonymous artist releasing music quietly on the Hyperdub label. I certainly don’t claim to have been one of dubstep’s early adopters, but I can date my fandom back to this article at the New Yorker. I was intrigued, and on YouTube I found enough tracks to be convinced that I wanted both of his full-lengths.
It’ll be a long time before someone can proudly raise the flag for dubstep and not be ridiculed; the arms of prejudice stretch deep in music. Surely, emo is not as popular as it was ten years ago, and even though the term is still as caustic as it was then - a word associated with trucker hats and flat-iron bangs, mournful poses for a MySpace era thankfully gone - it’s probably easier now to discover pockets of long-gone emo gold (Sunny Day Real Estate, Owen, Cap’n Jazz, American Football, The Promise Ring, to name only a few). Likewise, one day, someone will sift through the rubble of dubstep and realize that, hey, among all this thinly-veiled techno called dubstep (the emo of 2011/12?), there is some really good stuff, the stuff most deserving of the title, like Burial and Koreless and Joy Orbison.
And until then, let me hear “Hyph Mngo” again.