When most people hear the combination of ‘dubstep’ and ‘America’, the immediate reaction is often to generalise; adding the most grotesque adjectives to describe the invasion of the so-called filthy dubstep (also known as brostep) that’s occurred in and around the borders of this huge continent the past couple of years. To spare you the details and without giving you any examples of this sound, as we at FKOF are not big fans of it, we’d like to draw your attention to the fact that the deep, dark and minimal sound we know and love is slowly becoming more popular in the ‘States.
A clear example of this is the already legendary Reconstrvct session in NYC, where the big names of our scene have been given the opportunity to put the Tsunami Bass Experience to the test. Most recently, FKOF fam Gantz joined Kursk, Thelem & Quantum Soul (namely the InnaMind crew) in showing Brooklyn how to party…
The amount of labels in the US pushing our sound is rising. We thought it was high time we introduced the FKOF faithful to one particular label, one we have an unconditional love for. TUBA NYC – brother label to Dubs Alive – was founded in 2010 and are based in Brooklyn.
Ric Baker is co-founder and owner of this refreshing imprint. He goes under the alias of Bakir and has signed highly respected producers including the likes of Truth, J:Kenzo, DJG and our own Subreachers. Ric’s been dedicated to the sound for many years and has become an influential player as producer, performer (hence the label name) and label head.
He’s one of the people I look up to, knowing that his impact in America is definitely welcomed by our scene. In my opinion, his legacy is guaranteed to grow with the expanding catalogue of his imprint. Ric drives for constant quality and the development of a forward-thinking sound. One such duo pushing this development are the extremely talented Subtle Mind, two producers from San Francisco.
Subtle Mind (also known as Austin and Paul) are a dynamic duo who have constructed a strong connection between both harmonically and melodically-driven music and their percussive sound system testing sound of reggae and dub. Their debut ‘Gravitate’ EP is laden with six sub-saturated cuts and came out on TUBA’s digital label earlier this week. In the past they’ve released music on compilations through Nauseous Vibez and Lutetia Dubz, gaining support from the likes of Joe Nice, Crises, Gantz, and DJ Chefal in the process.
It was only a matter of time before the Subtle Mind sound was recognised. We think the ‘Gravitate’ EP is a serious statement of intent straight from Northern America. This definitely won’t be the last we hear from this exciting duo.
Subtle Mind – Gravitate EP
The FKOF Review
“Distant bongos form the backbone of ‘Gravitate’, pinching the listener before the energetic power of a kick and its warmly enriched low end punch out to surprise the listener. Reverb is used to create a tremendous amount of space that’s topped by morphing rhythmic patterns. Smoothly programmed arpeggiators combine with the synths that induce an almost dream-like state in the unprepared listener.
“As the percussion passes through like a locomotive, it announces the arrival of ‘Shokunin’, supporting by a centered sub-layer that follows the percussion’s pace without a care in the world. Gorgeous keys create a subtle intro in ‘On Deck’, as a thick low end teases the eardrums with gentle vibrations right before the first drop. Its half-step character shouts, while a mysterious vibe passes into a dark and transparent flow that could remind us of cold and gloomy winter nights. An enthralling voice enslaves the mind, while a trumpet creates a peaceful atmosphere.
“The reese that travels through the sound field points to the light that shines upon every element, proving that the soul of ‘Inner Self’ is more than just alive. ‘Sand Snake’ highlights a completely different side of Subtle Mind, reflecting true madness without any submission. An intelligent groove wraps around the listener’s ears, while ever-present midranges keep the organic feeling protected. This is a quite remarkable production – you’ve been warned.”
We’ve not even witnessed the effect America’s new wave of dubstep producers and labels will have on the development of our scene. But, given the quality of the music we’ve seen from Subtle Mind, AxH, EshOne (and the many others we’ve featured), and labels like TUBA and Dubs Alive, we’re excited to see what happens in the next couple of years. These guys have taken our sound and made it their own.
Let’s embrace this international development with arms wide open, and as we like to do here at FKOF, we’d like to let the music speak for itself. Buy Subtle Mind’s ‘Gravitate’ EP from Juno here while you’re at it.
The FKOF review:
“Subtle Mind introduce ‘Fela’ with intense delays that are applied to numerous elements to produce a clear signal of dub influences that emanates assertiveness. The introductory sample forces the listener to sit up and listen to the deep message being delivered, while effective movements within the low-end cause an internal mental battle.
“The perfectly placed keys remind us of Subtle Mind’s genius composition skills, backed up by mesmerising pads that point to something untouchable. When ‘Fela’ seems to be over, Subtle Mind extend the impact of this everlasting production – a miraculous journey through sub-led vibes.”
Peace, love and respect.