Last month we highlighted six of the best drum & bass mixes ever to grace Radio 1’s Essential Mix hall of fame. This time we’re repping dubstep… Next Weds, June 17, marks exactly eight years since the very first dubstep Essential Mix.
Madly, there’s been no more than around 20 straight up dubstep mixes in the series’ sprawling history (which is pretty surprising considering they commission and broadcast around 50 a year). While this made our job of listening and picking six easier, it surprised us that more dubstep DJs hadn’t been invited to step up… Especially in recent times. 2014 and this year haven’t seen so much as a sniff of a heavyweight half-time beat or chop-punching bassline.
Here are six of our favourites ranging from Mala to Caspa, all listed in chronological order. Dig deep and let the 12 hours of selection sweetness roll by…
Historical: Skream was the first selector to deliver a dubstep Essential Mix. Dubplate after dubplate after dubplate, and about 70 per cent his own material, this set the benchmark and still shudders and shakes now.
Delivered pretty much bang on a year from the release of his and Caspa’s game-changing Fabriclive 37 mix, Rusko slaps down almost 70 of the bounciest, squelchiest, funkiest tracks into his two hour session. Pure bass chaos.
It would be rude to highlight Rusko’s Essential Mix and not shout out Caspa’s mix that dropped just over half a year later. It’s pure nostalgia from the off as he opens with his deadmau5 remix and proceeds to go in so deep he causes Pete Tong to say “his backside is rumbling” on the sign off. Okay….
From the moment they opened with their hammer horror remix of Justice then Flux’s remix of Cracks, Nero’s guns weren’t just set to stun on this Essential Mix, they were set to stone cold kill. Flexing through D&B and electro throughout the two hours, this is nigh-on biblical.
Flux Pavilion (14.4.2012)
Another multi-genre adventure that’s rooted in dubstep, Flux Pavilion made his Essential Mix debut in April 2012 and took us on a tour of the Circus discography and his influences, he kicks off with Rusko’s Jahova which, he states, is the track that inspired him to make dubstep in the first place. Epic.
Exactly a year after Flux served BBC Broadcasting House, DMZ’s Mala dropped the ultimate deep dubstep Essential Mix. And what a document; digging deep into history (Augustus Pablo, Little Roy, Dennis Brown) he joins the dots between roots and future before closing with James Blake’s still-untouchable twist on his life-affirming Changes. The final mix in this feature and pretty much the last proper dubstep Essential Mix Radio 1 have hosted, this is essential listening for everyone with even the slightest interest in dub-based music.
Come on Radio 1… Even Ten Walls has featured in the series more recently than a dubstep DJ. It’s time the genre was represented once again.