Sep 09

SUBEENA – “Boksd”

FT3 comments • 543 views

A few weeks back The Lex alerted me to this as part of a raft of stuff he was calling, somewhat reluctantly, “post-dubstep”. Not his coinage, but I was immediately heartened. Not only was the music excellent I also knew that no matter what I ended up writing about it, no matter how airily uninformed I sound, I could not make it sound more rubbish than “post-dubstep” seems to imply.

I mean, consider “post-punk” and “post-rock”: in each of these the transformation “post” implies something artier, more forbidding, perhaps wider-ranging, perhaps drier than the root genre. And if that root genre is the often barely welcoming dubstep, then “post-dubstep” seems to suggest something so forbiddingly arid your tongue starts to shrivel just thinking of it.

Not that I know what I’d call the music Lex was talking about – made by producers like Joker and Guido – but arid this isn’t: in fact it’s the lushest sound going. It’s dominated by huge thick videogame keyboard tones, blocky and primary-coloured, ripe and welcoming, laid over equally juicy bass.

And having said that, this track – my very favourite track he pointed me to – is not much like that. You get the bass in “Boksd” – which isn’t on Subeena’s Myspace, but worth tracking down on her recent EP. But those sweet-toothed keyboards aren’t there: no, “Boksd” is straight up IDM to my ears, “intelligent techno” as we used to call it (not always the most apt of names). It’s all poise and shimmer and flow, the sort of thing Future Sound of London might have put out as a single back when they still cared about low end, or which might have shown up on an early-90s Warp records release. Obviously this absolutely presses my nostalgia button, but if Zomby’s allowed to play the time machine card I don’t see why the non-hardcore shouldn’t have fun with it too.


  1. 1
    Lex on 25 Sep 2009 #

    What a nice surprise to find this here!

    I’d actually been awfully lax in getting into Subeena: I’ve been hearing people talk about her for over a year, but only heard her for the first time a month or two ago. “Boksd” is definitely more techno than I was expecting, it fits v well into the techno/dubstep crossover territory that labels like Hessle Audio and DJs like Ben UFO are mining so well right now.

    I called it “post-dubstep” to distinguish it from the kind of dubstep which is lurching lairily into the mainstream (Caspa, Rusko, ugh). No one calls it that, I hasten to add! I think many of these artists would still just call themselves dubstep. But it’s better than “wonky”, which everyone hates. “Purple” works for the Bristol crowd, as per Dan Hancox’s Guardian piece on them.

    Whatever you call it, it’s such a tremendously exciting time to be paying attention to all these producers working at various points between dubstep, techno, UK funky and house. All with such individual sounds too; they’re easily grouped together, but you’d never mistake Subeena, Joy Orbison, Ikonika, Guido or Joker productions for each other. And there’s that sense that you have no idea where the scene will go next, but that it’ll be exciting either way. Coincidentally the new issue of XLR8R has Cooly G, Roska and Geeneus in its cover feature, and calls their music “funkstep”.

    Subeena’s forthcoming single is great, too – especially the b-side, this incredibly beautiful, soulful vocal track called “Solidify” with Jamie Woon and Om’mas Keith. (Another thing to note: this new generation of dubstep producers are really bringing the R&B roots of garage back: Ikonika regularly starts her DJ sets with The-Dream, one of Hudson Mohawke’s biggest tunes is a refix of Tweet’s “Oops (Oh My)”, cut-up soul vocals are at the heart of Joy Orbison’s productions &c &c.)

  2. 2
    Matt DC on 25 Sep 2009 #

    Yeah this one really stood out for me as well. It’s very early 90s ambient techno – there’s not really much of an audible connection to dubstep at all, hardly any syncopation etc. It’s much more sleek and streamlined than anything else I’ve heard from this group of producers.

    It reminds me a lot of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z4cLmbw6q0

  3. 3
    Lex on 19 Oct 2009 #

    FYI, the full track of “Boksd” is now on last.fm.

    Subeena’s new single “Solidify” is on itunes today – really recommend copping it, it’s beautiful. “If only glaciers could bleed…”

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