- My eyes didn't roll when Ryan Keeling predicted a proper dubstep return in 2017—they widened with anticipation. Youngsta's new Sentry Records might be one place to find it if dBridge's sterling Fashion Dread / Digital Dread EP is anything to go by, although there wasn't much in Darren White's 2016 that showed this one coming. Between launching Richie Brains and resurrecting Bad Company, drum & bass's most revered supergroup, White dropped a palliative EP through Pleasure District and another of his trademark vocal tear-jerkers, Too Late. The closest we came to anything loaded with dread was "Average Echo."
Much of what Mark Smith admired about "Average Echo" is true for Fashion Dread / Digital Dread. It demands a decent listening environment, ideally a wall-to-wall stack in a dank, smoky hole of club. "Fashion Dread" skulks through airy, desolate space, the sound of classic dubstep zapped into life with electrified technoid bolts. "Digital Dread" is an example of bass and steely minimalism working in smouldering tandem. It's more techy with sharp, crystalline percussion and pronounced details that echo through the rumbling substrata. If this is the sound of dubstep in 2017, then there's reason to remain hopeful.
A Fashion Dread
B Digital Dread