Saturday, February 25, 2012

RIP the month in grime/dubstep on Pitchfork (2005-12)



It's with sadness that I have to write that my Pitchfork "month in grime/dubstep" column is over. All things come to an end; this one began in 2005 and seven years later finds its end here, 56 columns later. I'd like to thank Scott Plagenhoef, the man who originally commissioned the column and supported it throughout.

Before we get into any light messenger shooting, the column is being retired, I did not choose to stop writing it. I've been invited to pitch to other sections on Pitchfork but my grime/dubstep column doesn't fit into the new editorial strategy. I'll be honest and say this isn't something I really understand but naturally recognise their authority to make this call.

It does however, not come at a completely inconvenient time. While it's boring to winge about these kinds of things, the honest truth is personally I have never been busier and any free time I do have now gets split between preparing for Rinse, producing music, DJing, writing sleevenotes for compilations and most of all, running Keysound. In addition, while I have been determined to plough relentlessly on with the column, the increasing conflict between A&R and journalism in my life has made it tricky in recent months to find an endless stream of new scene pieces to write without risking conflict of interest or going over old ground.

A case in point: Andrew Ryce filed recently a detailed and well written piece for RA on the bass/house intersection, but having had my say on this increasingly all pervasive movement at least twice in the last two years the prospect of having to re-iterate these arguments again and again in another two year's worth of columns (is house boring? if you add dubstep to it is it more or less than the sum of its parts? etc etc) fills me with dread.

In 2012 I'm increasingly looking for ways to counteract the more tepid parts of that spectrum and in the past that would have been by writing and who I chose to cover. Now it's increasingly addressed by who I sign to Keysound, who I try to shine a spotlight on Rinse and how I make music with Dusk. I'm having a lot of fun right now and feel as strong as ever about underground music, just not necessarily by writing about it in the music press.

My blog will remain of course, as an outlet for writing, but the column is over. I felt no remorse when my NME column was cut last year (you didn't know I had an NME column? Exactly...) but this does come with sadness. I've spent days, maybe even weeks of my life on these 56 articles so I spent a little time this week making them accessible here (see below) if people want to find them.

If you took the time to read one in the last seven years and came across someone you'd not noticed, well then bigup: my work here is done.


Pitchfork month in grime & dubstep:

2012

Jan: JME (unpublished)

2011

Sept: Kuedo
July: Trim
June: Roundup: (Eastwood, P Money, Krept, Untold, Kid Smpl, Redhino)
May: The post-dubstep archipelago
March: Teeth
Feb: Falty DL
Jan: Maxwell D

2010

Nov: End of year roundup
Oct: Roundup (various)
Sept: Darkstar
Aug: Circle and dubbage
July: SA house
June: Kode9
May: SBTRKT
Apr: MJ Cole
Mar: Ikonika
Feb: Post dubstep
Jan: Elijah and Skilliam

2009

Nov: End of year roundup
Oct: Zomby & Ghetts
Sept: State of Generation bass
Aug: JME & LD
July: Dot Rotten & Grevious Angel
June: Rude Kid, The Bug and 2562
Apr pt 2 : Wonky
Apr pt 1: Jungle-influence dubstep and Ghetts
Mar: Ruff Sqwad, Cotti, Spyro
Feb: Oneman, Wiley, TRG

2007

Dec: End of year roundup
Nov: Various (Martyn, UK funky, BBK, House Party...)
Oct: Pinch. Peverelist, Burial, Ghetts
Sept: Skepta, LV, Hyperdub
Aug: Durrty Goodz, Skream, Dubwar
Jun: Various
May: Techno dubstep, instrumental grime
Apr: all-grime special
Mar: Joker
Feb: Exclusives and Beezy
Jan: awards and the underground

2006

Nov: End of year roundup
Oct: Plastician, Wonder, Skream, Kode9, Distance
Jul: The art of the rewind
Jun: Zomby, Headhunter, Quest, T.H.E. M.O.V.E.M.E.N.T. and more
May: Burial and Wiley
Apr: After halfstep, the Roots of Dubstep and Newham Generals
Mar: DMZ explodes, Fuck Radio
Jan: Dubstep Warz

2005

Dec: End of year roundup
Nov: Internationalisation of dubstep, Rinse FM
Oct: Yard MCs, DMZ, Subloaded, Distance
Sept: DMZ, grime adopts "Midnight Request Line"
Aug: Rinse FM station party and more
Jul: DMZ post 7/7, Aim High
Jun: Internationalisation of dubstep begins
May: DMZ, Roll Deep

All are archived at Pitchfork here.

15 comments:

West Norwood Cassette Library said...

damn good innings, but sad to see it go...

Skinnybones said...

Your column was the only thing I'd read in the whole site (you'll probably hear a lot of that). "Scenes" don't last in music, especially when it comes to the press covering it. Amazing yours stuck it out this long! I'm not so sad as I'll keep reading your blog, though the public at large will be deprived of something good. But they're onto the next thing anyhow...

Dubstep said...

Seven years, it was a good run. Long live dubstep.

Phigure said...

sad to see it go, like skinnybones said, it was the only thing i read on pitchfork.

jojo said...

i need to collect my thoughts...but for now...lets just say, your pf columns were essential and now things are not what they were, its a great legacy and important to the development and understanding of certain frequencies in a place in time. WE have ALL moved on to bigger and better things. Big Thanks!

glacial said...

I really enjoyed reading your pitchfork column, it was truly inspirational and fundamental basis for the dubstep blog which I had been running until autumn of 2010. Martin, thank you and massive respek for the hard work done.

Glacial

Cadaverous said...

I'd never even heard of Pitchfork before your column! Like a lot of art that is incredibly ahead of its time, there were many times when I didn't 'get' what you said when you originally said it. But I've been able to go back months and sometimes even years later and properly appreciate these columns. They are a fine body of work and, for me, your writing is the thing I've most appreciated from all your many and varied endeavours. Big up.
(P.s. please write a history of grime.

grooveliker said...

Thank You. The column was one of the foundational entry points into this "part" of music world.

Sonic Router said...

hero.

Anonymous said...

Sad to see it go. I always looked forward to reading it. Such a great resource for me when I first got into dubstep and didn't really know where else to look.

<3

echo said...

For a French boy who was in grime and dubstep from the begining and buying all these grime instrumental white labels and dmz or tempa white your words were essential. It gives us a vision, a the finger of God showing us the right direction.

echo said...

For a French boy who bought all these instrumental grime records and dmz or tempa white labels, your words were essential. It gives us a vision, like God's finger pointing in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

unlike most of your readers, i read it for whatever little you wrote on grime. sad to see it end nonetheless.

Sandy Shaw said...

Nice Article! Thanks for sharing with us.
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Tom Kelly said...

Damn son. Great columns and thank you for posting them all here as a resource. Bookmarked for shizzle.

The Art of the Rewind is a great piece and was the first thing I read of yours.

Best of luck going forward.

Sincerley,
Tom Kelly.