It’s now officially 2012. Whether the Mayan prophecy is true, whether we’ll be transformed or destroyed any day now has yet to be determined. One thing is for certain though: the same ol’ electronic music formulas just ain’t cutting it. 2011 was a year of destroying expectations of club music.
Every genre launched its tempos, rhythms and arrangements into haphazard, spiraling directions. By the way things are going—at least when it comes to bass music—we’ll finally be defining musical movements not by limiting categories, but by taste and attitude. Are you ready for the next soundsystem riot? Look no further than Swamp81.
Swamp81 is a record label runned by Loefah, the notorious dubstep icon and member of DMZ. After a series of successful vinyl releases over the last decade on renowned dubstep labels Big Apple, DMZ and Tectonic, Loefah remained relatively quiet when it came to production and DJing. 2009 marked his return, as he released the first 12” on his new label Swamp81: a Kryptic Minds single release with “One Of Us” on the A side. From there, a series of similar, murky releases dropped in 2010. There’s the Kryptic Minds full length album, the Skream release “Repercussions Of A Razorblade,” as well as the menacing low end of The Bug‘s “Run” 12,” featuring various versions of his Control riddim.
The huge turning point for Swamp81, however, was the smash hit by Addison Groove, “Footcrab.” “Footcrab” combines the stutter-step of Chicago’s juke music, the bounce of Baltimore club and sub bass low end of dubstep. The result is such a unique track that it was embraced by DJs of a variety of genres, and was one of the most original sounding tracks to come out that year. The track knocks at a sweaty house party just as hard as it knocks in the main room of Fabric.
Rather than piggyback on the hype of “Footcrab” and release a slew of juke-dubstep hybrids, Swamp81 continued to break boundaries. Pinch‘s “Croydon House” sounds as if Basic Channel and Darth Vader collaborated on a future house tune after last call; an exciting new direction for Pinch. Then there’s the old school electro and techno influenced jams. Boddika‘s “Electron” and Addison Groove’s “Work It” are unique, dark and mechanical bangers perfect for warehouse after hours.
And last year, one of the best releases on the label—”Sicko Cell“—was yet again another ground breaking moment for the label. Is it house? Is it dubstep? Who cares, it’s just awesome. This track by an Unknown Artist (*cough* Joy Orbison *cough*) was another cross-genre hit, and deservedly made XLR8R’s Best Of 2011 list.
By combining the best elements of the past, present and future with taste, attitude and the dancefloor in mind, the Swamp81 riot won’t stop anytime soon. If you’ve been tuning into Loefah’s Swamp81 show on Rinse FM, you’ll hear an incredible selection of brand new dubplates and white labels, which lately have been mostly influenced-by-but-not-limited-to classic Chicago house.
And let’s not forget the recent release of the outrageously catchy “Swims” by Boddika and Joy Orbison. I’ve never heard a better use of cowbell than…well…That Skit I don’t want to mention because my bro-y cousin has a t-shirt of it from Urban Outfitters (I don’t actually have a bro-y cousin but you can picture it, can’t ya?). So if you’re a fan of minimal beats, originality, sub woofers and future bass bounce, start a riot with the rest of us! Walk for me!