TABLE OF CONTENTS

SOUND

Dubstep

A WHISTLE of telephonic feedback, then a woman’s voice: “Are we on the air?” A DJ: “Yes, you are.” “Hello, Mom! Uh, I’d like to hear a new beat on the request line.” “OK, you got it, comin’ up. . . .” The exchange fades out in a stutter of reverb, displaced by an ascending synth arpeggio that loops over and over, spiraling off into space. Moments later the beat kicks in, a lurching, half-time skank that seems perpetually on the verge of climax or collapse, a vertiginous instant of suspense (one hesitates to call it dread only in order to avoid the obvious pun) accentuated and repeated, never quite allowed to dissipate. Then there’s the bass, a heart-stopping low-end throb that seizes you in the chest and stomach like a sudden elevator descent. You’re listening—ideally via a towering sound system piloted by Hatcha, Youngsta, or Kode 9 at the London club night Forward>> or DMZ—to

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.