By Sam Bates
Dubstep is undoubtedly one of the most talked about forms of underground music of the past couple of years. It has moved from small, sweaty underground clubs with a small platoon of loyal fans, to massive super clubs housing an army of revellers, and this phenomenal rise has led to the scene’s top players being elevated to the status of underground stars.
Recently, as a genre, Dubstep has faced accusations, like its distant cousin Drum & Bass before, of becoming formulaic and reliant on lowest common denominator mass appeal. As with Drum & Bass, Bristol is a vibrant conduit in the Dubstep phenomenon, it has a vast array of producers delivering an increasingly diverse selection of sounds and once again the underground aficionados of the music world are looking to the South West.
There is perhaps no greater example of the diversity and genuine musical talent held within the scene than Bristol’s own Joker. He has risen to prominence with a sound fusing synth-laden melodies, computer game sound effects, RnB chord progressions, the raw bass of Dubstep and nods to UK garage, early 90′s West Coast gangsta rap and grime.
Joker’s music is far from the standard hard-edged dance floor bassline ‘wobble’, even with all its experimental and innovative elements, it is music you could easily imagine being used to propel an American RnB superstar to number one. Think stellar producers Timbaland and the Neptunes, with a distinctive British Dubstep and grime bass infused flavour.
Joker describes his music as ‘purple’, as this is the colour he says he sees when making or hearing his music. Incidentally, hearing colours in music is one side effect of the condition synaesthesia, a dissociation of the senses that causes those with the condition to “hear” in colour, or to “taste” sound.
Joker does not believe he suffers from this condition, but this concept has been translated into tracks such as ‘Purple City’ his latest release. This is one of several tracks produced under the banner of the ‘Purple Sound’ by Joker and his cohorts in the ‘Purple Wow’ Collective, a group featuring other rising star Bristolian producers Gemmy and Guido.
These three have a close musical DNA and, sighting many of the same influences, they have forged a distinctive sound which has not only established them in the Dubstep scene, but brought them to wider critical acclaim.
Bristol has often acted as reactionary force when a new scene evolves and, when this is then adopted by this city’s music community, the results can be staggering. Just as with Drum N Bass and Hip Hop before, a new wave of artists is making its mark with their own distinctive take on Dubstep.
Joker is definitely one of the main talents to watch in the next few years and someone who has the potential to be the next Roni Size or Massive Attack, taking the new Bristol sound to a wider international audience.
Recently remix work for the likes of Lady Gaga, Basement Jaxx, Little Boots, Adam Freeland and a host of other besides, has further enhanced his reputation showing the admiration and reach his music has gained.
Bristol’s well deserved reputation for musical innovation has been passed on to the Dubstep scene and its vast array of talented artists, who are providing the blueprint for a new Bristolian musical movement.
If you would like to hear Joker’s music check out his MySpace and you can catch him live at STB11@ Lakota on October 10.