In Denver, dubstep fans are spoiled: Electronic Tuesdays is basically an endless festival, but you get to sleep comfortably in your bed between your favorite artists’ sets. The sound system celebration continues at The Black Box in August. If you didn’t know, the Lounge is always free for 21+ ($5 under) on Tuesday nights - come support Denver locals and vote in the weekly DJ battle.
Here’s what you need to know about this month’s E-Tuesdays headliners.
Subaltern Records head honcho Mentha touches down in Denver with label artists Taiko and Subtle Mind to bless The Black Box with the one-of-a-kind imprint’s dynamic sound. Subaltern’s signature is difficult to describe, but easily distinguished by a vibe: a sensuality that shines even through dubstep’s dark aesthetic. Of course, Mentha comes from overseas to deliver a selection of tunes from beyond Denver’s usual radar. His mile-high debut is not to be missed.
Joining Mentha from over the pond is Taiko. The UK DJ/producer has risen to the top tier of contemporary dubsteppers over the past two years via a ceaseless stream of releases on White Peach Records, Deep Dark & Dangerous, FatKidOnFire, and Subaltern. Taiko’s inventive take on the 140 template fuses elements of traditional dubstep and grime through thoughtful composition and a poignant sense of sonic storytelling. His tracks are vibrant and energetic, even in their most pensive moments. On a personal note, Taiko is my favorite producer, and I promise, you don’t want to miss his Denver debut. Click here to listen to his mix for the Sub.mission Podcast.
Subtle Mind also arrives from Los Angeles to round out the Subaltern showcase. The duo may be Subaltern’s token American, but their soulful, jazzy style is a perfect epitomization of the sound that distinguishes the European label. Subtle Mind is a staple of dubstep’s softer side. Their music meets at the juxtaposition of traditional instrumentation and thick sound system textures to bring something as innovative as it is emotional to the table. Check out Subtle Mind’s recent release on Joe Nice’s Gourmetbeats imprint for a taste.
UK DJ/producer Compa holds a very special place in the heart of the dubstep scene. The Deep Medi sweetheart earned fast international attention for his silken touch on the turntables as well as his own productions, which range from lurking dungeon meditations to bangers seemingly designed to demand the rewind - a moment that the Sub.mission staple is well familiar with. Let’s just say this talented artist knows how to draw explosive reactions from any crowd. Compa returns to The Black Box on August 14th with a bag full of classic dubplates and hot new records - dubstep heads, be ready to take notes.
This week’s headliners beg little introduction: a survey of any E-Tuesdays attendees would reveal each of these artists as established Black Box legends. Together, Leon Switch and Bukez Finezt define the enduring essence of dubstep’s tradition. Their tracks and sets are dark, heavy, and relentless. Today, Leon Switch has eclipsed his duo Kryptic Minds in the genre’s active hierarchy, but he carries on the legacy he began for a new generation of dubstep fans.
Kelly Dean may be the newcomer of the trio, but in Denver he too has a glowing reputation. His set at last year’s Bass Invasion excited and stunned a mostly unfamiliar audience. The American artist represents the roots of stateside dubstep as an affiliate of 12th Planet’s iconic label SMOG; his latest EP on the label alongside Kwiza also includes a remix from Leon Switch.
UK don and original dubstep pioneer Hatcha returns to E-Tuesdays on August 28th - need I say more? After a streak of US festival appearances, Hatcha is now a household name for a young dubstep community freshly enchanted by the sound he fathered. Still on the decks a generation later, Hatcha’s leading role in dubstep’s history has never been so important, or obviously explosive. We look forward to finding out what surprises he has in store for The Black Box this time.