- That Berlin is now home to Sub:stance, one of the world's most respected dubstep nights, isn't really as surprising as some might believe. After all, this is the city that produced Basic Channel, whose blend of dub and techno on the still peerless Rhythm and Sound series in the mid '90s was as much an influence on dubstep as other antecedents in '70s Jamaica or '80s British soundsystems like On-U Sound. And really, where else could embody the post-industrial malaise that shaped dubstep as well as Berghain? Like the techno with which it is normally synonymous, this power station-turned-nightclub seems like a physical expression of the hedonism borne from urban decay that inspires the best electronic music.
They're the same conditions, after all, that gave rise to dubstep in inner-city London, parallels one assumes struck Paul Rose when he moved from the British to the German capital in 2007. DJing and producing as Scuba, Rose also helms the Hotflush label and set up the Sub:stance night at Berghain alongside Spymania's Paul Fowler, inviting the likes of Martyn, Joker and The Bug to spin since July 2008.
The mix that Scuba has crafted to showcase Sub:stance is as cavernous as the club in which it is set. As the icy opening of Sigha's "Light Swells (In A Distant Space)" bleeds into the haunted voices of Airhead's "Paper Street," the start couldn't be more Burial if it came in the back of a hearse, with things only really beginning to pick up the pace as two-step garage is resurrected in the form of "The Shrew Would Have Cushioned the Blow" from current dubstep wunderkind Joy Orbison. It's also the first touch which reveals Scuba's masterful control of contrast; for although many of the beats here are as dark as Berghain's corners plenty of moments shine through like the early dawn through its upstairs counterpart, Panorama Bar, particularly at the midway point where Badawi's "Anlan 7" seems to leave the whole mix suspended like dust motes in a shaft of sunlight.
It's a sense of stillness subsequently scattered far and wide as Scuba then moves through the housier overtones of the aforementioned Joy Orbison's "Hyph Mngo," the pervy electro of Instra: Mental's "Voyeur" and the almost Moodymanesque "Don't You" from George Fitzgerald amongst others, before finally touching down on Joker's epic "Psychedelic Runway." Techno hi-hats become almost as prevalent as dubstep rhythms during this second half, yet wherever Scuba roams he always skirts the obvious big bangers or bass drops. Sub:Stance is all about "music with a feeling," but it's not one that needs to hit you in the stomach to move you.
01. Sigha - Light Swells (In a Distant Space)
02. Airhead - Paper Street
03. Sigha - Early Morning lights
04. Pangaea - Sunset Yellow
05. Joy Orbison - The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow
06. Shortstuff - See Ya
07. Untold - No-one Likes a Smart Arse
08. Scuba - You Got Me
09. Surgeon - Klonk pt 4
10. DFRNT - Headspace (Scuba's secret mix)
11. AQF - Born and Raised (version)
12. Badawi - Anlan 7
13. Joy Orbison - Hyph Mngo
14. Mount Kimbie - Maybes (James Blake remix)
15. Sigha - Seeing God
16. Ramadanman - Tempest
17. Instra:mental -Voyeur
18. Sigha - Shapes
19. George Fitzgerald - Don't You
20. Scuba - Minerals
21. Shackleton - It's Time For Love
22. Mala - Stand Against War
23. Scuba - Last Stand
24. Joker - Psychedelic Runway