RA Ibiza weekly: Dubstep?

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  • The genre may be taking over the rest of the world, but it hasn't quite found its footing yet in Ibiza.
  • RA Ibiza weekly: Dubstep? image
  • The soundtrack to clubland Ibiza is dominated by the 4/4 beats of house or techno (with a sizable trance element as well). Anything else, really, is an exception—even despite the long-standing presence of rock, hard house and R&B parties on the island. In many ways, 2011 has been marked by the real threat of new sounds breaking the 4/4 stranglehold. Pop acts are in abundance at I Want My MTV, Clubland and Ibiza Rocks of course. And there's also the increasing presence of acts that can broadly categorised as dubstep. The genre has taken its time getting to Ibiza. Before the short-lived Ibiza Rocks offshoot Reclaim the Dancefloor brought names like Benga and Caspa to Ibiza in 2009 and 2010, it was hardly a concern. The fact that night no longer exists, though, shows just how much of a challenge the genre faces. Come Together, starting in 2010, has been at the forefront of bringing a more expansive range of sounds to Ibiza. Indeed, it's made alternative sounds the core of its programming. The Friday night at Space has so far welcomed Artwork, Rusko and Katy B and has more to come with live shows by drum & bass duo Chase & Status and Magnetic Man, as well as individual performances from Benga and Skream. What strikes you most when you go to these events, however, is that the crowd is atypical for Ibiza. It's younger, almost exclusively British and, well, I guess more mainstream. It's an obvious point really—as the majority of these acts have a strong presence across UK national radio and charts—but it results in the atmosphere feeling a lot less like a subculture and more like just normal youth culture. Ibiza's appeal is the exact opposite, and that may be a big reason why the stuff has never taken off on the island. The type of dubstep that has made it thus far engenders an atmosphere that's way too straitlaced. Another night venturing into similar territory is Tonight (Tuesdays, Amnesia) who have had a couple of really busy nights involving Chase & Status, an act that is interestingly proving to be a much bigger attraction than Eric Prydz. The programming is—at times—exactly the same as Come Together, with Skream, Benga, Diplo and Katy B featuring prominently in the curation of Annie Mac and London promoters Lock N Load. Elsewhere, there is the odd appearance here and there, such as by Ramadanman at We Love (7th August), an artist at a very different end of the spectrum compared to some of those previously mentioned. Artists like that—Burial, Shackleton, Scuba, Joy Orbison or Martyn—simply aren't even on the radar in Ibiza. It'll be interesting to see if the presence of the commercial end of the dubstep market allows a more underground dubstep scene to eventually develop. Whether that is something desired—or likely to work—is another matter entirely.