Dubstep is evolving. Once a niche, hybrid sound hardly known beyond its clique of UK creators, the genre is now a vastly rooted worldwide diaspora - still rooted to its underground soul, but driven by a new generation of musical imaginations emerging from around the globe.
Hailing from Japan, Dayzero is one such artist pushing creativity in the maturing genre. A resident of Japan’s iconic collective Back To Chill, Dayzero is leading figure in new-wave dubstep’s distortion movement: he represents the disruptive style alongside Karnage as a co-founder of their label Vomitspit. Dayzero rose onto the scene’s radar via releases on notably forward-thinking imprints like Encrypted Audio and Deep Dark & Dangerous. His newest EP on Youngsta’s Sentry Records follows up a solo release on N-Type’s Wheel & Deal to proclaim not only the producer’s place among electronic music’s elite, but also the progression of underground dubstep as a legitimate genre as it seeps out of Croydon basements and into the future.
Sentry008 includes two tracks from Dayzero: “Sunday On Spaceship” and “Down By Law.” The EP’s A-side is a low-range growler featuring a gritty bassline reminiscent of the “dungeon” aesthetic that shaped deep dubstep’s signature sound. As the subfrequent skankers’ beat lurks familiarly forward, the track builds through subtle (but crisp) sound system layers and a disjointed, sometimes discordant melody to summon otherworldly space within the voluminous track.
“Sunday On Spaceship” plays with the expectations established across the genre’s history, but beneath its loose melody and unconventional percussive accents, the tune maintains a classic feel: it is audibly an updated continuation to the old-school dubstep canon. But Dayzero diverges from the distinctly UK style on the record’s B-side.
“Down By Law” plays out as a natural progression of the track before - these tunes can be appreciated as one complete piece of music. But the composition’s second part amplifies the alien unorthodoxy that only laces the A-side. Tethered more to its idiosyncratic melody than any cohesive or predictable beat, “Down By Law” embodies an experimental energy that rings with Encrypted Audio’s now-notorious influence. While unmistakably a dubstep production in structure and etymology, Dayzero toys with the 140 template to atypical effect. “Down By Law” seems to have more in common with tracks like DMVU’s paradigm-shattering anthem “Bloccd” than any of the genre’s original classics. Contagious, but not contrived, the tune carries crossover appeal for a greater bass music scene always searching for surprises.
Dayzero’s EP marks the eighth release on Youngsta’s Sentry Records. Even so early in the label’s fledgling life, the EP is a clear fit on the imprint boasting releases like the debut of Gramz, Sleeper’s experimental alter-ego. Youngsta’s voice as a curator rings out with this release: rather than re-hashing the “good ol’ days,” the originator remains committed to the creative progression of the sound. Sentry’s catalogue already includes artist representation from well beyond the UK’s borders. Youngsta’s embracement of the genre’s global status is optimistic as its movement continues to spread: dubstep will always need its elders to keep it anchored to its roots.
And it is refreshing to see the genre’s pioneers fostering genuine underground sounds. As long as there’s light to shine on producers like Dayzero as they spill their souls on the buttons, dubstep’s reign over electronic music’s cutting edge won’t end anytime soon.
Sentry008 is available on 12/21: https://sentryrecords.bandcamp.com/album/sunday-on-spaceship-down-by-law
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