- It was made in 2009, but this could be the year's freshest dubstep release.
- This year's freshest dubstep release is a decade old. It was also produced by a Dutchman. Mala has been playing cuts from Aardvarck's Blööm 3 for a few years, leading to the usual Discogs inflation and, now, this single-sided issue of the untitled A1, here rechristened "Monkey See..." (Aardvarck says he makes music "like a monkey.")
You can tell this wasn't made by a full-time dubstep artist. Aardvarck had been drawing outside the musical lines for at least a decade before dubstep began. All his music has a mongrel streak. So while this is unmistakably classic dubstep, a few subtle things make it feel different. The drums are degraded into a Memphis rap slap. In the middle third, the bass synth's overtones fart and croak—the notes are so low the overtones audibly make their own rhythms. Then there's the big melody just before it, whose brash arp had me thinking of EBM. The overall mix has the colour and whiff of burnt toast. Aardvarck plays with a delay unit throughout with a toddler's abandon, making the track feel like it was made in an inspired blur. By 2009, dubstep had become a codified sound with an international audience. Yet "Monkey See..." harks back to the style's earliest impulses, when people's ears hadn't become accustomed to the sound and its rules weren't yet set in stone. Whether it's 2004, 2009 or 2019, "Monkey See..." would go off all the same.
A1 Monkey See...