A few weeks ago, I came across a blog post that talked about dubstep being dead. Not only did I disagree with it, the whole concept of genres dying seemed too obscure for me to understand. In 2013, as we stand, every single type of music ever created is still alive. Let’s face it, who thought that after the 70’s and 80’s, disco music would come back so hard again? Who’d think that after the supposed ‘death’ of Nu Metal, Limp Bizkit would even consider making another album? The way I see this, we are living in an age of extreme musical availability and depending on what you look for; 95% of the time, there is something for you. The point is YOU have to find it. Just because you are not going through the effort of finding what you want, doesn't mean it it doesn't exist. Research, find, enjoy, share, and repeat. That’s that.
Now to follow up on why I think Dubstep isn’t dead, I’m going to try and bring evidence to all different post-Dubstep genres that have emerged as gene-bearers for this branch in the family of music. You could argue that this is still dubstep and it’s just being rebranded as something else, but this is what evolution is. The precursor sets the tone, the children follow the legacy while adding their own twist, and the cycle repeats.
From A to Z, here are all the [insertwordhere]steps around that are worthy of your attention. If you feel like you have better examples or other sub-genres that should be added to this list, let us know.
A is for Acidstep:
Obviously from the darker more experimental side of dubstep, rises acidstep. There are many songs that advertise themselves as acidstep but good ones are hard to come by. We have found one example that holds up. This song by T.C.M.P utilizes synth pads, recorded bass guitar lines, raw drum kit sounds and much more randomness.
B is also for Bluestep:
Melancholic, blues-based, sadness driven sorrow audio-food. Crazy as it sounds, it’s pretty damn interesting. Artist called Vieka has a few tracks in this genre, prepare to be shocked. Even Bjork would probably be shocked.
C is for Chillstep:
One of the better known babies of the step family, chillstep broadly represents anything that’s chilled and lounge-styled. A lot less in your face and a lot more subtle. Expect low pass frequencies on the bass, a lot of depth, soothing vocals and not too much excess WAWAWAWA. There are countless groups and channels dedicated to this sub-genre as it is broad, accessible and easy to define. Here is one of my favorite chillstep producers called Soular Order. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
D is for Dreamstep:
A close relative of Chillstep, Dreamstep takes the melancholic side of chilledness out of the equation and allows for generally positive chillstep vibes. I mean, what I just said is also quite general and these genres are very malleable. I guess it all depends on whether your dream is euphoric or not. Are we talking dreamstep or nightmarestep? That is a question that needs philosophical answers but we can settle on the fact that dreamstep and chillstep are probably pretty much the same thing. Maybe in the future they won’t be. A great artist in the dreamstep realm is Kermode who was also featured on our recent compilation Ethereality Vol.1. Here is his music.
D is also for Djentstep:
Djent is a movement within heavy metal music that was solidified in the 2nd decade of this century. Seven string guitars, 5 string bases, irregular drum patterns, and a lot of technicality. Combine this with dubstep and you get a pretty intense picture. There is one name in this field that is just not comparable to any other artist around. That is of course The Algorithm. Ridiculous amount of media exposure, hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and a lot more. You just have to hear it to understand what the fuss is about. [Listener’s discretion is advised.]
E is for Ethnostep:
I already know that this list will be made up of a lot of different [enter a nationality]steps but sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what nationality we are talking about. Sometimes it is also a mixture of a few so it is safe to say that generally speaking we can give E to Ethnostep. This genre is not only one of my favorites because of the amount of flavour that can be pumped into it, it is also a very nice blend of organic and electronic sounds. Most of the instruments that crossover into ethnostep like sitars, djembes, tablas, and harps would have not been used in the mix otherwise, so hats down to anyone who is successful in doing so and bridging this gap. The label Subbass have been doing a lot of work with their Ethnostep series to bring light to this fusion genre so check out those hyperlinks for more detail. Japan by Plasticman is another example however here is a track by Yokai from our previous compilation that brings that Oriental flavour to your step.
F is for Folkstep:
F was actually one of the first ___steps I came across. We wrote an article on an artist called Keeplove who was repping the flag for this genre with his What the folk is folkstep album. The folk in his step is the American type of folk which is probably most common in the industry. The man has a live rig comprised of live singing, guitar playing and synth work and it’s the sort of music that carries as much folk as Johnny Cash and as much bass as Caspa. We are using Keeplove as a folkstep example because of his declared dedication to this genre but we are still looking forward to hearing more from this subgenre.
G is for Glitchstep:
With the emergence of IDM and Glitch music, a new horizon was introduced for dubstep fusion. This is probably what grindcore is to an average Iron Maiden head, if dubstep was metal. It is not for the faint hearted and it really does cause a few glitches in your brain function when you are faced with it. One of the biggest names of the glitchstep scene is Mr Bill who is also known for doing a lot of other innovative dubstep crossovers. Enough explanation, just listen to this bad boy:
H is for Horrorstep:
Freaky dub sounds that fit best on that Friday the 13th, Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday or Halloween. The sort that makes you visualise crazy clowns, a bad tempered Jack Nicholson, et al. One artist who is particularly good at bringing out the evils is Australian producer Sawtooth. See evil for yourself:
H is also for Hindistep:
Closely related or identical to bollystep, bhangrastep, indiastep or bollywoodstep, this fusion genre brings that South Asian flavour to your dub. Anyone who’s listened to Indian/south Asian music knows that it has no shortcomings in hooks and epic vocals. Mix that with dubstep and you are in for a treat. One artist who is really doing it right in this genre is Hypnotica. His music generally spans across many different electronic sub-genres while staying true to his sound, but check this one out for that hindistep feel.
I is for IDMstep:
IDM [intelligent dance music] might not be as stupid as EDM [electronic dance music] when it comes to dance music titles, but it has to really be intelligent to live up to the name. That means when you listen to it you should be thinking ‘oh wow I’d never thought that could be done.’ Difficult status to live up to and a lot of IDM really isn’t as such; it is just another way to say we like to take that beat as TECHNICALLY further as possible. Mr Bill is again a very good example but here is a song by French producer Le Perche Oreille called Eypomega which does a pretty good job of giving you a technical beat while utilising ethnic/organic sounds.
J is for Jazzstep:
Sort of self-explanatory. LFOs + Jazz Chords + Brass instruments + Step beat = Jazzstep. Due to the chilled nature of conventional jazz, one could argue that this falls under chillstep as well, but anyway here is a brand new beautiful track by Free n Losh. Should do the trick.
K is for Kudurostep
This is the first instance of the author having to resort to some pretty random corners of the internet to find a genre for a letter. But I think, I have something interesting here. Kuduro is a genre that originated in Angola and is related to Zouk, Soca and Semba music, but it rides a faster 4/4 beat. The example here is probably not the highest notch Kudurostep material that can be produced as it is also heavily glitchy, but it is still really good and the artist has the right idea. I particularly like the potential this genre has. It is extremely dancy and upbeat. The switch between a standard 126.96.36.199 4/4 beat to a step beat drops you down and picks you up like a cat having a field day with a mouse it caught. This is an interesting track by Bankai and Abortifacient called Four Litres of Hope and it will hopefully get the message across. If not research Kuduro and see if you can come up with better. Enjoy bopping to this one.
L is for Lovestep:
Another relative of the chill and dream step type, but obviously it has something to do with love. Again, this is open to interpretation as love could be some one’s dream or another’s melancholy so I will stress it again here; one song can have more than one genre! The more words are used the better it is explained. Won’t beat around the bush too much because if you have read this article up to here, then you shouldn’t have a problem solving the ‘love + dubstep = X’ formula.
M is for Metalstep:
Metalstep is particularly interesting to me because before I started enjoying dubstep music and all the amazing drops, I was heavily into metal music (which I still am). Now anyone who listens to post-90’s metal knows that arguably Pantera and Meshuggah where the first bands to really push the idea of a ‘breakdown’ or ‘beatdown’. That concept is really similar to what we consider a ‘drop’ in electronic music. Once I had seen the similarity of these two genre based song features, I had to find the ultimate breakdown drop I could. Then I found Dirtyphonics, The Algorithm and Mr.Bill. Since the two latter artists are already included in this list, I am going to include a Dirtyphonics song that will do the trick. Nah, I will have to include a Mr.Bill track that just came out as well. Oh well, who cares if one entry has two songs, eh?
N is for Nintendostep:
8/16-analog, Mario 1 up sounds, Zelda-style epicness = Nintendostep. One could argue that someone like Skrillex killed this sound and unjustifiably attack him for doing something so original that everyone had to rip off and make boring. But we argue that if you like Nintendos, Anime or other gamer-geekery, you still love this style. Here is a relatively new nintendostep track by Razihel and Virtual Riot. Enjoy!
O is for Orchestrastep:
Anyone who witnessed Nero's BBC Philharmonic Orchestra collaboration already knows what to expect. You can refer to that 17 minute piece but except that one off project, I think this genre has extreme potential. In fact, this is one of the most omni-dimensional dubstep sub-genres there can be. Simply because you could have as many instruments and sounds as you want in an Orchestra. Again, this could also be classified as Symphonicstep, both get the message across. Anyway, this is an absolute ESSENTIAL song to hear. Azedia is one hell of a producer and this track for 21-12-12 is nothing short of incredible.
P is for Psystep:
Most definitely a close relative of Acidstep, but who knows what makes a producer go this close to psycho-activity and psychedelia, right? Whenever I have found myself listening to psy music, I have found it very refreshing to see the constant trance beat stop at some point. I think what kills psychedelic music for some people is the relentless speed associated to psy trance which is generally what people think as soon as they hear the word psy. So here I will try to demonstrate using a track by Birds of Paradise. The amount of unpredictable genius trickery is truly admirable.
Q is for ...Quantumstep?
[Warning] The author is completely going to pull this one out of his own bottom. I honestly haven’t found anything remotely legit for Q. Anyone reading this is more than welcome to help complete this list. So far the only decent entry i have found is Quantumstep. There are a total of three songs tagged as this on SoundCloud, one of which is only legitimate in terms of originality. Not sure how metal style machine gun drumming, trippyness and epic vocals can lead to the artist to label it as such, but what the hell, this track is pretty interesting.
R is for Rootstep/Reggaestep/Raggastep
Since we have already dedicated D and M to rock and metal inspired dubstep, there is absolutely no reason for R to go to any thing that is not roots, reggae, ragga related. Personally, i think the most common example of this genre is Damien Marley and Skrillex's Make it Bun Dem, but we wouldn't really be showing you anything different if we just included them in a list of 'eye-openers'. The R genres here are close relatives of Dub music and Rastafarai electronic sounds. A combination of versatile genres that work extremely well when mixed. Here is a track from King Dubbist Recordings by Ras Zacharri & Chezidek called The Place Pt.2. Free download should be some extra toppings.
S is for Sufistep
This strain of Ethnostep brings the mystic side of Islamic belief which can be associated with headbanging, poetry, drinking red wine and praising god. Debate-aside of what should be allowed, it is seriously great music. Folk Sufi music is generally very precise in its composition and uses of instruments so it comes to no surprise that the basshead equivalent is also smashing. Best enjoyed chilled, zenned in and zoned out. Here is a track by arguably the biggest cat in this game. Mr Celt Islam. Check it.
T is also for Techstep
T has to also be given to to those technical producers who've mastered high speed trickery. Beat changes, unpredictability, all that good trigonometry. Although this could go into Glitchstep or Neurostep territory as both are highly technical and mathsy, Techstep doesn't need to be as sporadic as Glitchstep so we will keep these relatives both in the list. There is a release to be made by Protostar on 11th of October, but you can here it in its entirety on Monstercat's label.
U is for U DECIDE
Major writer's block. I admit. I have found nothing for U. This is the last letter for me to write to finish this article. I have considered Ukulelestep, Ugandanstep, Utopianstep, Unstep, even Uilleannstep. There is simply no good or even funny material to put on here. This is definitely the reader's chance to help better this article. Or create one of the above genres. I mean, Ukulelestep and Uilleannstep could work pretty well couldn't they? Apologies for leaving U out of this. I actually feel disappointed with myself.
V is for Vocalstep
Now before you think this is another cousin of chillstep or any dubstep that has vocals, I'd like to mention that this is something far more defined than that. In my opinion (like all the rest of this post) V definitely has to given to beatbox/voice artists who create all their music from scratch by only looping their voice in creative ways. You might have come across a street performer who does this, or you might have heard of Dub Fx. In that case you have a clue what I'm talking about. The beauty of this style is that not only it is extremely versatile due to the extreme range and flexibility of the human voice, when combined with lyrics and a purpose, it is a truly astounding genre. An artist who I've listened to for a long time and thoroughly respect is Mc Xander who does all the above with precise tactics. This is a song by him called Spaceship Earth. You can alternatively listen to another version of it on YouTube to read the lyrics and see precisely how it's done.
W is for Warstep
Warstep is definitely not a sub-genre for the faint-hearted. This is as heavy as dubstep gets. This is what happens when no-one can accept the terms of a nuclear proliferation treaty; or what happens when you commit adultery with Chuck Norris’s wife; or what the 300 listened to before going on the battlefield; or the sound of your farts after you munch on mines. Without further ado, we bring you Llamatron.
X is for Xylophonestep
I am not going to lie, it has been difficult to piece some of this article together and with a handful of letters, I have had to whip a dictionary out to find a word that can be used. X is the epitome of difficult. But for the sake of avoiding letterism and discrimination, I have decided to give X to Xylophonestep. Basically you know that phone ring tone that’s made from Xylophone sounds? Well put a dubstep beat on it and call it Xylophonestep. One for a bit of humor won’t hurt, will it?
Y is for Yodelstep
Not a very established genre and I sincerely hope it is explored more because it is a. a vocal step and b. definitely unique. One could argue that this is just American folkstep but foreign Yodelling is also welcome. There is argueably only one properly produced yodelstep song called Yo-Yo-Yodleli-Wobleli by Aelginfluensa and this is it. Prepare to have your mind yodelled.
Z is for Zenstep
Zen is the cousin of Chill. Meditation is also chill and dreamy. But not all chills and dreams are Zen. So an artist came up with Zenstep. This artist, surprisingly called Zenstep takes you on a Yoga mission in the Himalayas, Andes mountains and Hawaiian beaches at the same time. Zenstep is also another artist who was included in our Ethereality Vol.1 compilation and we will definitely give Z to him.
So there it is. I hope this article is insightful by showing that genres evolve, none of them have to die, and creativity is endless. And there are many more combinations of words and moods left to explore. Please take this article with a pinch of an open mind and understand that this is personal opinion and categorization is only used to help explain what something sounds like. Ultimately, the song is what it sounds like and 10000 words of categorization still won't let you hear what the song sounds like.
Please do help to make this list more complete. Message us on one of our outlets and tell us what you think!