Blow Your Head: Diplo Presents Dubstep (2010 LP)


The huge basslines and paced out drums of dubstep have made their way to Australia. This has been a gradual but steady influx over a relatively short time but it is impossible to deny its presence in nightclubs across Australia (well at least Sydney). There is something a bit seedy about dubstep, a touch of cheeky sarcasm but also a seriousness that can’t be ignored.

Diplo has put together the first instalment of
Blow Your Head
on his Mad Decent label. This will (hopefully) become a series to bring bass heavy ideas to light. An Underground UK compilation driven by L-Vis 1990 is (possibly) next on the cards.

Focusing on dubstep, Diplo has selected an assortment of tracks ranging from a chilled melodic instrumental to a cappella with a step, some bass heavy grinders and some dance floor destroying bass crunchers. The selection of tracks shows a diversity within dubstep that emphasises the huge variety that exists within the mass of ‘bass’ styles and genres.

If you like bass intense music or a heavy beat, odds are you’ll like dubstep. If you don’t like it immediately, and – let’s face it – it can be a bit full-on first time round, it will most probably grow on you. Maybe you’d like an easy transition from something mainstream… try Jessica Mauboy remixed by Stenchman. You might not be a fan of Jessica, you may never have heard of Stenchman, but this is a good song. Basslines to smother your ears with love and a snapping beat keeps it all in control while Jess sings stuff. There’s enough mainstream content on the compilation to bring dubstep to the masses. Skream’s take on
Major Lazor’s

“Hold The Line” is basically an a cappella sing-along to huge stepping drums and it works. It might not keep the people dancing around the room, but that’s probably the point – it’s simply another perspective.

Some might argue that Zomby’s “ Strange Fruit” and Brackles’Glazed” are more step than dubstep, but we don’t really need to draw such intricate distinctions. And I think that was the point Diplo is making. It’s an open selection of songs that doesn’t pretend to define dubstep a certain way. These tracks by Zomby and Brackles bring a more mellow attitude to the table while Doctor P’sSweet Shop” might send you into a fit of limbs as it churns through bass and synth lines like a hungry monster truck driven by a diva. It jumps from a piano tingling high pitch vocal run to a bass riddled synth line from an underground robot fighting academy. Variety!

This album actually gave me my first moment of PDA for a very long time – that is, Public Display of Appreciation for a song. Sitting on the bus at 8 a.m. commuting to uni surrounded by business people I heard the familiar sounds of Rusko’s “ Cockney Thug” washing through my ears, it was a bit different but I assumed it was an edit for the compilation. Then as I realised it was a Caspa remix an unavoidable smile crept across my face. It was almost a smirk. Partly because it was brilliant and I love the sample from Alan Ford but also because I felt almost evil for listening to grimy harsh dubstep while my fellow travellers were probably listening to Katy Perry or reading the Daily Telegraph financial news. Too early for a sleazy cockney beat? Never!

Borgore, Benga, Subfocus and Joker are all other essential ingredients to this epic compilation of dubstep glory. As a result the album is purposeful in its direction, which changes throughout. The rich variety of tracks keeps things interesting and different. One drawback of some dubstep (and other electronic based platforms) is its repetitive nature. You don’t really get much of with this compilation as each song has its own complexity and each track is different from the previous. 26 Basslines is huge. As you may predict, it is completely riddled with bass which is followed up with a 12th   Planet & Finch remix of Little Jinder’sYouth Blood” that definitely has bass, but also carries a nice melody and a quirky vocal to match.

What more can I say. Sustained subsonic bass and twisted rhythms that kick back with such enthusiasm you can help but enjoy. But there is also the various forms – some melodic, some slow, some bulging with aggression, some live off drums, some are a bit indie and some even have a touch of pop. But connecting all of that is a dubstep bass-filled beat that has brought a new and interesting world of sounds to our ears.

Review Score: 8.5/10