At the 2:17 mark of
It had been bubbling around pop's surface before Spears put her glossy touch on it, but this was Top 40's most blatant — and effective — use of the increasingly popular
As Spears' vocals cut out, the track builds to a climactic "breakdown," signified by dubstep's trademark bass wobble. It's deep enough to crush your chest, and it's a huge part of what makes the genre so appealing: A song builds and builds until the rug is suddenly ripped from under it, only to re-form. It's dance music that constantly rewards listeners with its ebb-and-flow design.
Now, dubstep's fingerprints are everywhere. Whether it's
So where do they look for inspiration?
The answer could come on Saturday, when some of dubstep's rising artists — including Vaski,
Electronic dance music is frequently splintering in new directions. Terravita, a three-piece group from Boston, considers its music "drumstep" because it takes '80s-style drum-and-bass beats and fuses them with dubstep's 140 beats-per-minute pacing. It can get pretty technical, but Terravita's Chris Barlow said the nuances are what keep acts from blending all together.
"To a layperson not in the scene, [the acts] all probably sound like the same thing, but even within the genre, there's vastly different-sounding artists," Barlow said. "It's like saying
Saturday's bill exemplifies how this goes. Along with Terravita's drumstep, there's Vaski's aggressive take on dubstep and Crizzly's "crunkstep," a blending of Southern crunk-rap over dubstep beats.
The audience continues to surge, thanks to Dub Nation-sponsored parties across the country and the growing popularity of acts such as
Alex Vaski, who calls dubstep "the most up-and-coming, aggressive style of music right now," said the genre is only getting started.
"It hasn't peaked yet," Vaski said. "A lot of people in our culture are trying to find the new big thing. Everyone knows [dubstep] is going to get more and more popular."
The catalyst could be the genre's current wunderkind,
"At least right now, I think there's people that only listen to Skrillex and don't listen to other dubstep artists," said Vaski, 21, who calls Moore's music "really, really good."
"That's frustrating for a lot of people, but I don't think it'll be that way forever," he said.
Of course, it wouldn't be a rising genre without backlash, and dubstep's comes from within its ranks. What started in South London in the late '90s as "chilled-out listening music to … hang out with" — Vaski's words — has evolved into marketable, fist-pumping rave music.
British dubstep producer
"People like James Blake are mad because it's different than it used to be," Vaski said. "People feel like they own dubstep."
Artists such as Terravita and Vaski seem more interested in their own sounds' futures than arguing over semantics. To them, dubstep's expansion presents many possibilities.
"That's the one thing people don't understand," Vaski said. "Just because people in the genre are going in one direction, doesn't mean everyone is going that way."
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