As dubstep splits off from itself – or diversifies – it seems as if we need additional qualifiers to accurately encapsulate what any given artist’s angle on the genre actually sounds like. Some of the most common not-exactly-subgenres that I hear include the predictable “deep”, “riddim”, and “brostep”; but there’s (apparently) also “bandwagon”, “trippy”, “trappy”, “profitable”, “pre-2011 brostep”, “heavy but not annoying”, “Deep Medi” (yes, delegated as a genre descriptor with no attachment to the label) – the list goes on. With so many supposed sub-genres, it’s rare to find an artist who’s signature style doesn’t fit any bill. Then again, how can one classify an artist who makes music unlike anyone else?
Grimblee is one such anomaly. The Utah-based producer draws influence from a huge palette of sounds: from the funky beats that typify glitch hop, riddim’s violent wonks, wobbles reminiscent of early Rusko (“Woo Boost” is a staple in his live sets), and the immersive basslines that give dubstep its distinct character. Yet, not a single artist who “sounds like Grimblee” comes to mind. His unmistakable style draws in fans from every pocket of electronic music; his diverse appeal extends far beyond dubstep’s usual purview. Evidenced by electric, well-attended festival sets, Grimblee’s music possesses a unique energy that resonates with young partygoers across the nation.
Still, regardless of the twists Grimblee applies to the tradition, the bulk of his music is unquestionably dubstep. He isn’t the first artist to revel in the art of sonic cacophony – breaking the listener’s trance rather than building it – he’s simply the most recent producer to do it well. Like in some glitch hop and neurofunk, Grimblee often keeps his audience guessing with unexpected variations in the beat. Distorted mid-range bass is among his trademarks and strengths. Another is the use of space, both as a mechanism for building tension and relieving it. The most exciting moments in Grimblee’s tracks are not always created by the sounds he uses, but the places where those sounds are absent.
Grimblee’s DJ sets are known for a certain danceability foreign to many of dubstep’s head-nodding fans. But he’s also liable to dive into the deep end, delivering bangers that some of his crowd likely never heard before. His song selection is a testament to dubstep’s unmatched stylistic versatility, as well as his own personality as a producer. As a DJ, Grimblee proves that dubstep does have a place outside of the dark basements, warehouses, and modestly-sized clubs from which it sprouted from.
The artist’s alter-ego is also worth a listen. The Hecka alias is an outlet for house-influenced beats that don’t quite fit into Grimblee’s aesthetic, although the growing frequency of Grimblee vs. Hecka sets challenges that idea. Hecka’s tunes adopt a different structure than the producer’s 140 work, but boast much of the same infections sound aesthetic. Many artists establish alternative aliases anticipating that the deviation in style may alienate existing fans. Turns out, most of Grimblee’s fans are quite fond of Hecka, especially on the dance floor.
Grimblee is yet another artist on the Sub.mission Agency roster who’s music defies the rote categorization that so many modern music fans expect. Anybody wondering about the merits of Grimblee’s music will need to find out the old-fashioned way: by listening for themselves
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