Skream

Skream!

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In 2006, dubstep took center stage in the U.K. and firmly knocked grime off as the underground music of the moment. At the forefront of the movement was Skream with dubstep's signature single, "Midnight Request Line." The straight-ahead combination of subterranean bass, reverbed drums and spooky ambiance on "Midnight Request Line" brought dubstep out of the London suburb of Croydon and onto the international scene. Skream's first full-length follows "Midnight Request Lines" pattern and delivers stripped down dub music with just enough nods to the genre's roots in Jamaica. Minor chords and an Upsetters' sample from Blackboard Jungle Dub are a nice touch that helps to balance out the tinges of R&B and some weak MC'ing that seem unnecessary. At the album's weakest point, Skream throws in some grime beats that show just how limited that genre was, and how painful the U.K.'s taste for dance beats can be. When Skream sticks to bass heavy ambient dub, there's hope that dub can been reborn as a bedroom producer's genre. In a way, you wish Bill Laswell would have made this album 15 years ago. Skream strips down the pretension that crept into Laswell's records throughout the '90s and lets the low frequencies speak for themselves. Tracks like "Rutten" show that "Midnight Request Line" wasn't just a flash in the pan 12," and that dubstep is a genre that can work in an album format.

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