Saturday, 25 April 2009

Wonky (Worst genre name since nu-rave?)

Reading a hilarious Guardian article on 'wonky', a new style of dubstep, that linked wonky fans with ketamine users (a tenuous one at best I thought), I thought it was probably the laziest piece of music journalism I'd ever encountered. To make a connection between drugs and any genre of music is lazy enough, and especially when the genre is debatably not even a real one - many of the artists mentioned in the article do not seem to have any real connection, bar sharing a label (often Hyperdub) and a larger genre (dubstep). However this doesn't change the fact that the producers mentioned by Simon Reynolds in the article are some of my favourite at the moment - Zomby, Joker and Hudson Mohawke. In the last paragraph of the article, Reynolds makes his most sensible point - he compares the sound to 8 bit and trip hop, and listening to tracks like Ikonika's Simulacrum or Joker and Rustie's Play Doe certainly reinforces this. But the genre also seems to me to align itself with hardcore more than Reynolds likes to admit - Zomby even released a hardcore tribute album - Where Were U in '92? Although my answer to his question is probably in a crib wearing a nappy, producers like Acen, 808 State and Altern 8 have been really up my street lately - the breakbeats bring hardcore closer to bmore than happy hardcore or drum & bass, the genres that hardcore were said to develop into.

Zomby - Where Were U in '92? Buy rest of album here:

Ikonika - Simulacrum (Hosted by Electrorash)

The B side to Ikonika's debut single on Hyperdub (Please) was absolutely rinsed by me when I first got it - Ikonika combines a proper fat analogue bassline, and a synth line that borrows heavily from chiptune and 8 bit, with a classic syncopated, off-beat dubstep percussive beat. Buy MP3 here.

Zomby - The Lie

This Zomby track samples classic reggae artist Sizzla's I Was Born, coupling that vocal sample with percussive shakers, airhorns (hardcore again anyone?), detuned synths and a real feeling of pent up aggression.  The 12" came with remixes from LV and a new Zomby track - Dripping Like Water.  Buy it here.

Joker - Zariak (Hosted by YCCMP)

Another jittery, off kilter hit from Joker - keeping up the tension with a fat square wave analogue bass and a drum beat that keeps you guessing all the time.  Thanks to the Grime Forum for releasing this for free.

This was my first real introduction to 'wonky', and still remains one of my favourite tunes - it's so easy to hear exactly which parts are Rustie and which are Joker.  It's got that trademark Rustie 'aquacrunk' (another contender for worst genre name) lead synth line, and that grunting vocal sample propels the track along nicely.  Buy MP3 here

2000F & J Kamata - You Don't Know What Love Is

Already covered this song in my first post for Squeaky Bleeps - I think the exact words I used were "If Prince made dubstep", and I'd still agree with that... the vocoder gets me everytime.  Showcasing a more funky vibe, this B side to Joker's Digidesign actually got more attention than the A side from a lot of DJs, and with good reason.  Buy the 12" here

No comments:

Post a Comment