2010 was something of a quiet year for innovative dubstep. With acts like Mt Eden and Nero going global, and mainstream stars queueing up to get themselves on a dubstep remix, it was squarely back to whiplash snares on the 3 and wobblin those LFOs like they were going out of fashion. Judging by the tweets it seemed that was just what the kids craved, especially as dubstep hit Stateside big time, and the quest for fatter, dirtier dubstep rang out across the net. Then Borgore came along and and gave the term ‘filthy dubstep’ a literal meaning. Nothing wrong with all that of course, but it was easy to forget the massive journey the genre had been on over the last few years, with the likes of Darkstar, James Blake, Burial et al pushing it into much deeper, esoteric territory as it was rebranded funky, future dub, glitch pop, whatever the funk you wanted to call it depending on which Hoxton trendy you were listening to at the time. No compilation encapsulated this shift in sonic outlook as well as Soul Jazz’s awesome 2009 compilation Steppa’s Delight Vol 2. With not a bass wobble in sight it showcased a blending of dubstep’s syncopated beats and growling low-end with elements of house, techno and drum n bass.
2010 though was a relatively quiet year for many of the artists spearheading this movement, so it was good to see south London producer Joy Orbison back with another majestically-crafted, soul-drenched slice of synth overload, on the back of his massive Hyph Mngo. ‘The Shrew Would Have Cushioned the Blow’ was a different kind of mouthful, but just as hypntc and arresting. It was released on Aus Music, who put out a handful of cool releases last year, including a couple of Appleblim tech/trance meltdowns which very much warmed the soul. If 2011 sees the release of a JO long-player, it could be a very interesting year for dubstep, or whatever you wanna call it.