Dubstep, at least up until the last couple years, has been defined by it’s sparseness. A slow, raw plodding beat, heavy but simplistic bass line and punctuated by the occasional echoing atmosperic stabs. But despite being a big fan of both dub and electronic music, to me it always sounded half-finished rather than well measured, and that 98% of it lacked of any kind discernable soul. Fast forwarding to now, and we can see it has evolved, not without mixed results, and bloomed into it’s inevitable mainstream incarnations. On one hand you have the meretricious Scrillex whose brand of “Dubstep” (and I can’t make those quote signs big enough) seems only to cater dance music to fans of Insane Clown Posse. On the other, you have the soulful Jame Blake. Up till very recent, Blake had cut his teeth with a handful of minimalist dubstep singles before smartly deciding to change tack. With songs like Limit To Your Love and today’s feature, The Wilhelm Scream, he’s wisely used that sparse electronica as a tool to finally craft some poignant, almost tear inducing soul. Fun fact: Blake’s Wilhelm is actually a clever re-working of his own father, James Litherland’s song Where to Turn.
And speaking of soul we start with my top Wilhelm pick today. No stranger to covers (especially not around these parts) are The Bamboos, who’ve eschewed the usual inspired funk instrumentals by enlisting hot n’ nerdy Aussie vocalist Megan Washington for a brilliant Stax/Motown-sounding version. Also soulful is London’s Kwabena Adjepong AKA Kwabs, who with his smooth looks and even smoother voice could easily be the next Mozez or Aloe Black. Someone out there throw that man a record deal. Got two acoustic versions via the Fleet Foxes and Awning. And lastly there were three standard sounding cuts (in the Blake-ian sense) from StellaLePage, Vows, and Tapioca and the Flea.
The Bamboos (Feat. Megan Washington) – The Wilhelm Scream
Kwabs – The Wilhelm Scream
Fleet Foxes – The Wilhelm Scream
Awning – The Wilhelm Scream
StellaLePage – The Wilhelm Scream
Vows – The Wilhelm Scream
Tapioca and the Flea – The Wilhelm Scream
PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub screaming for the original, got that, a handful of live cuts and his father’s original source material up on the wall…