30 minutes of Loefah - A Bass Education

30 minutes of Loefah

A Bass Education

Dubstep, in all its permutations, is a very special sound.

Having grown from the depths of Croydon in South London to the mainstream stadiums of America (and Glastonbury), it is also a truly global sound. It has many names, many supporters and many haters – but whatever your opinion, there’s no denying it’s evolved since the early days far beyond what any of the founding fathers could or would have dreamed of.

“Loefah (and the rest of the DMZ crew) broke down and layered the music in such a way that it can easily be interpreted. All that was left in some tunes are the basic elements of what is now called dubstep. Mala said this in an interview some time ago, but when you listen to old DMZ records you can actually hear it.”

In our continued efforts to support dubstep (in most of its forms) here at FatKidOnFire, we’ve partnered with a new initiative to bring you an education in the sound we all know and love. We’re launching the suitably titled 30 minutes of Bass education today with a half hour of Loefah…

30 minutes of Bass education #1

Loefah’s dubstep is a minimal but not in the sense that things have been intentionally left untouched or unexplored. It’s a sound full of stripped-down beats, with an emphasis firmly placed both the sub bass and syncopated rhythms.

“His work hints to hip-hop, but what stands out the most is how Loefah makes effective use of emptiness – in between bass stabs or just in between transitions of the track. His tracks can be characterised by subtle changes, moody atmospheres and heavy sub-driven basslines. Although scarce, Loefah made use of distortion to create midrange sounds, often delayed to give the feeling of listening to it in an actual warehouse.”

As Laurent Fintoni said in the write up that accompanies his all-DMZ mix; “DMZ is a sound. It’s not dubstep, it’s the DMZ sound. It may be a part of dubstep, but only as much as Hyperdub is or Tempa or Hotflush…

Many people place the early DMZ sound as dubstep itself – a fact that often seemed to frustrate the DMZ guys. We spend a lot of time looking back and trying to emulate this ‘foundation sound’ rather than using it as inspiration to move forward but, given how important Loefah and the rest of DMZ are to the dubstep sound, we thought Loefah would be the perfect artist to start with.

“I think one of the absolute key things as to why Loefah has gained the recognition he has is the fact that he has never compromised with his integrity. He never cared how he or his music was or is perceived – I think that’s what has kept him at the forefront. He was one of the first to produce dubstep as we all know and cherish it, he was the one to push Kryptic Minds and the half-step sound at a point where dubstep was getting a bit stale.

“The way that he cares so much for his scene, but so little for how everyone on the outside rate it, is very impressive. I think it’s also quite rare, especially in these days where everyone struggles to make themselves heard online etc.”

The first 30 minutes of Bass education mix is, given its duration, by no means a definitive selection of Loefah material. That’s part of the beauty of the set timeframe, but also thanks to the personal nature of each of these producers’ music. Each DJ creating the mix, and each fan listening to it, will want to hear different tunes included. You will always lose out in a half hour mix, but in our opinion these mixes should serve as an inspiration to revisit or re/discover the artist’s music yourself.

As we’ve said on Facebook, each mix focuses on the highlighted artist and, in a lesser extent, the DJ responsible for the mix. The mixes, and little write ups, will drop every two weeks from today until we run out of producers we think should be featured (which, by the current count, is some point late 2015). We will host every mix on both the FKOF SoundCloud and Mixcloud accounts – but for our American listeners you will unfortunately be unable to access on Mixcloud. Our apologies.

Click to DOWNLOAD (84MB)

Track list:

  1. Search and Destroy – Candyfloss (Loefah remix) [Hotflush, 2009]
  2. Loefah – Mud [DMZ, 2006]
  3. Loefah – The Goat Stare [DMZ, 2005]
  4. Loefah – System [Tectonic, 2006]
  5. Pinch & Loefah – Broken [Tectonic, 2011]
  6. Vex’d – 3rd Choice (Loefah remix) [Planet Mu, 2008]
  7. Loefah – It’s Yours [Ringo Records, 2008]
  8. Loefah – Disco Rekah [DEEP MEDi, 2007]
  9. The Bug ft. Flowdan – Jah War (Loefah remix) [Ninja Tune, 2007]
  10. Loefah – Root [DMZ, 2005]
  11. Loefah – Sukkah [Texture Records, 2007]

Loefah – Discogs

Bassweight Documentary – learn more
Many thanks to Dubbacle for putting #1 together
30 minutes of Bass education #2 will follow in two weeks – as will #3 a forthnight after that.