Dubstep isn’t easy to dance to. Unless you have a taste for it, it’s not easy background music either. The perfect place to listen to dubstep, I’ve determined, is in a moving vehicle, and this weekend I listened to the new Rupture/Shadetek mixtape on a Metro-North train bound for Harlem. New Haven fading, towns and waters, industrial ruins, Park Avenue bleak in the Bronx. Thump and wobble in my ears. The turning of train wheels.
The tape is as diverse as the bass-heavy world is wide, bouncing from coast to coast to Finland and Barcelona, Jamaica always looming as godfather. Almost always. Rupture and Shadetek are Brooklyn boys, and a bit of gentrification is to be expected: in this case, an excerpt from L.E.S. artiste Nico Muhly’s crossover-classical Mothertongue, a track from avant-garde Brooklyn duo Telepathe, and a poem read by Yale’s own Elizabeth Alexander.
Everything here is mixed with a flow like the drift of the landscape.
Little here is straight dubstep, Rupture’s jagged tracks always mixed-bag bass with gunshot wounds, and Shadetek’s production was more a Brooklyn take on UK grime. But the mixtape is full of that sound, that slow boom that ties it all together, rumbling beneath the city like a subway.