A beat revolution

Dubstep comes to Florence

Georgette Jupe-Pradier
February 2, 2012

If someone says, ‘Italian music,' what usually comes to the foreigner's mind is euro pop, movie scores or opera. Those who have spent more time in the Boot may recognize such local favorites as Jovanotti and Tiziano Ferro. The surprising fact is that Italians tend to embrace all types of music. From classical to rap, early music to avant-garde, there is something for everyone in this dynamic country that continues to bring melodies to the world in a variety of ways. For example, Florence has a thriving dubstep scene.



Dubstep is an experimental electro-dance genre. Less harsh than metal but more sinister than pop, dubstep originated in the garage scene in Croydon, South London, and gained popularity after several BBC radio 1 DJ's embraced the new sound.


Dubstep is unusual in its rhythm (138-142 beats per minute) and wobble bass, in which an extended bass note is manipulated rhythmically with a low-frequency oscillator and other filters. The resulting dark sound and the style of bass mark some variations of dubstep, particularly the more club-friendly form. Another technique used by dubstep DJs is the rewind or reload, a simple turntable technique in which the DJ spins back the record without lifting the stylus, creating a scratch and play back to the previous clip. This is especially effective in live entertainment.


Heard in clubs the world over and already evolving, dubstep now incorporates elements of reggae and orchestral sounds and is even featured in some pop artists' recent music (Britney Spears is using it, for example). A new form of dubstep has evolved in the United States called brostep, a ‘lurching and aggressive' variant that has proved commercially successful (instead of focusing on sub-bass, brostep emphasizes mid-range frequencies.)


Dubstep has even taken hold in Florence, and featured events with famous DJs, such as Skream (see page 7), are part of the music scene in clubs around town. Florence is also home to Numa (‘new underground massive alliance') Crew, a group of underground music producers. Numa Crew is part of the first and biggest dubstep scene in Italy, using drum and bass-Kuduro-Massive beats with six releases for the Italian label Elastic and a bootleg label, Erba, which focuses on reggae. Performing all over Europe from 2007 to 2011, the Numa Crew has organized many big dubstep events throughout Italy and also has important collaborations with famous names of the dubstep world, among them Zion Train, Asian Dub Foundation and Casino Royal.


A list of upcoming dubstep events in Florence organized by the Numa Crew appears on www.facebook.com/numacrew. In addition, Dubstep Italia lists upcoming events and dubstep news (in Italian) http://dubstep.altervista.org/wordpress.




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