Tangent: Dubstep Subgenres I Like
Despite what you may think, dubstep as a genre of electronic music is still thriving to this day! I personally think the underground dubstep scene is home to some of the most creative and powerful music there is. Dubstep has no rules, no arbitrary restrictions. Artists aren't limited by "normal" instruments and are free to let their creativity flow in both composition and sound design.
Here's a brief ramble about my favorite dubstep subgenres as of right now, with examples. Enjoy!
So first and foremost, I like dubstep that's melodic. That is, dubstep that has a sense of musical structure in the traditional sense, with things like melody and chord progressions playing as big a role in the music as does the dubstep sound design. By the way, I (and many dubstep enthusiasts) use the term "sound design" as a noun that describes synthesizers, "basses", or audio that has been meticulously crafted to produce unique a sound profile. In onomatopoeic terms, the stuff that goes wobwobwob or fshwskfptsk.
Anyway, a genre exists simply called "melodic dubstep" or "melodub" but some people, including myself, think that its name is a touch misleading as the vast majority of melodic dubstep sits considerably far from the rest of traditional dubstep. It usually has huge, epic-feeling chords and melodies while only having understated or sometimes nonexistent dubstep sound design. As a result, it's probably the most "radio-friendly" dubstep subgenre, and while I do enjoy it from time to time, I'm not the biggest fan of this kind of dubstep.
A much more fitting contender for the name "melodic dubstep" would be the kind of music Chime (my favorite artist) made from around 2015-2019. In those songs, musicality is still paramount but there's much more actual dubstep that would bring it closer to having the label of ...dubstep.
- Chime - Can't Feel It
- Chime - Sherwood (which is my favorite song of all time)
- Chime - Starstorm
- Chime - Wait For Me
For a long time, this kind of stuff was about as melodic as dubstep got. Around 2020 though, a new movement started to emerge spearheaded by none other than Chime and other artists sonically close to him. A movement that sought to combine melody and dubstep heaviness into ONE, rather than having them both exist separately within songs. The result was the sparkly, lasery, watery, and glittery subgenre of "color bass", which is still thriving and has an incredibly active community of listeners and producers.
- KERO - Flora (my favorite song of 2022)
- Distayne - Halo
- Oliverse - Parachute (Skybreak Remix)
- Nejvex - Turntide
Up until this point, everything's been primarily melodic. Now we take a detour to the more aggressive sort of demon noises you might have been dreading. I personally like both melodic and atonal dubstep. Let's start with what many would plainly call "dubstep", or I guess "brostep" if you want to be pedantic because real original dubstep is totally different blah blah blah.
In the time since dubstep's mainstream popularity really died out around 2014, the subgenre that has really shot up to the forefront is "riddim" and its cousin "briddim" (brostep riddim). These subgenres often feature grating, metallic, atonal sounds that just repeat and repeat and repeat on and on and on in constant quarter- or eight-note patterns. I personally find most of this music incredibly bland, boring, and tedious. That being said, there are a few riddim tracks I like, kind of.
While not a big fan of the aforementioned kinds of riddim, some artists like Jorei have really taken what is often a terribly predictable subgenre and have really breathed some new life into it and created incredibly exciting and original songs that aren't even in the same league as most other riddim.
And finally, we arrive at the most ear-splitting, evil-sounding subgenre of music ever conceived. Tearout. I'm pretty 50/50 with tearout. I like tearout it when I'm in the mood for it. I'll let the music do the talking. Prepare yourself.
Here we reach the end of my little ramble about dubstep. It's truly my favorite genre of music and its variety and innovation ensures that it never gets boring for me. Hope you've enjoyed hearing about the music I love and perhaps listening to some of the songs I've provided. I'll leave you with some dubstep songs that don't nicely fit into any one of these subgenres, but I love anyway. Take care!
- Dyatic - Lumbre (groovy, jittery goodness in Dyatic's signature style)
- Oliverse - Unspoken (ft. Elle Exxe) (an emotional track in a style that calls back to OG wobbly dubstep)
- Sharks - In My Eyes (extremely clean and groovy but otherwise unclassifiable)
- Jorei - qwiq1 (crispy, crunchy, contemplative, yet aggressive)
- Criminal Code & muyu - FLIP DOWN (jazzy, funky J-EDM awesomeness)
- Distayne - Far Away (a genre called "complextro" that I like sometimes; my favorite song of 2021)