Some thought the popularity of dubstep would begin to fade after 2010, but it’s only grown stronger. In 2011, the EDM world saw an unprecedented presence of dubstep artists in headlining spots at music festivals, in TV spots, and on Top 40 radio. Yes, it has been an especially great year for the dubstep scene, and we are very pleased to present the cream of the crop of 2011’s wobbliest tracks.
Mattafix – Big City Life (Stylust Beats Remix)
Mattafix - Big City Life (Stylust Beats Remix)
Stumbling upon fresh new talent is always a treat, and that’s exactly what happened when Vancouver’s Stylust Beats stepped on the scene. He fused a bit of drumstep into the hip hop tune Big City Life by Mattafix, all while still managing to maintain its soulful urban vibe. It’s a prime of example of hip hop with dubstep done right, and it is a highly recommended track to end a set with.
Chuckie – Who Is Ready to Jump (Dillon Francis Remix)
Chuckie - Who Is Ready to Jump (Dillon Francis Remix) [Big Beat]
If there’s anything filthier than dirty Dutch house, it’s that style transformed into even dirtier dubstep. Dillon Francis gave Who Is Ready to Jump by Chuckie a sick makeover, and its very first beat clues you into the direction it’s going. Who is Dillon Francis? Let’s just say Diplo got lucky scooping up this Los Angeles bass artist for his label Mad Decent before he blew up. Check out some of his moombahton like recent hit I.D.G.A.F.O.S–a must-hear for anyone curious about this new genre of bass music.
Jess Mills – Live For What I’d Die For (Distance Remix)
Jess Mills - Live for What I'd Die For (Distance Remix)
The roots of London’s Greg Sanders aka Distance run deep as a highly respected pioneer of dubstep. In the earlier days of the genre, he helped develop the sound with other living legends like Skream and Benga. Greg earns his spot on the chart for his dark and riveting remix of Live For What I’d Die For by Jess Mills. Its deep, rumbling basslines are a powerful reminder of just how strong the classic sound of dubstep can hit.
Arkasia – New World Disorder (Original Mix)
Arkasia - New World Disorder (Original Mix) [Heavy Artillery]
Occupy Wall Street? How about Occupy Dubstep! Arkasia’s New World Disorder uses indignant voice samples like "we don’t want to live for the corporations" that touch upon 2011’s theme of youth around the globe rebelling against oppressive governments and corrupt corporations. Politics aside, this track stands on its own with profoundly impressive string symphonies colliding with basslines of epic proportions.
Kaskade ft. Mindy Gledhill – Eyes (Alvin Risk Remix)
Kaskade feat Mindy Gledhill - Eyes (Alvin Risk Remix) [Ultra]
There’s a bright future ahead for Alvin Risk, who’s recently been hanging out with the likes of Zedd and Skrillex. The up-and-coming producer managed to turn Kaskade’s peaceful tune Eyes into a raging monstrosity. The mayhem here comes as a result of Mindy Gledhill’s serene vocals getting tossed around and shredded to pieces by aggressive basslines and rapid melodies.
Mord Fustang – A New World (Original Mix)
Mord Fustang - A New World (Original Mix) [NOIZE]
Mord Fustang seemed to come out of nowhere this year and managed to blow everyone away. Although not much is known about the elusive producer, he’s built quite an exceptional foundation with strong electro house tracks like Lick The Rainbow and latest release on Plasmapool We Are Now Connected. Mord really surprised his fans when he applied his skills at making uplifting melodies to dubstep and came out with A New World. This catchy tune grew so popular it was even featured in a Weetabix cereal commercial!
Excision & Downlink – Crowd Control (Original Mix)
Excision & Downlink - Crowd Control (Original Mix) [Rottun]
With the sound of cash registers slamming open and a mean vocal sample yelling "Don’t F*ck Around!", you’re going to want to call in some crowd control after dropping this insane track by Excision and fellow Canadian Downlink. It’s very encompassing of Excision’s style, which has been given credit for popularizing hard dubstep in 2009 with his breakthrough collab with Datsik, Swagga. This year was particularly good for the man otherwise known as Jeff Abel, having toured with Deadmau5 and also releasing his new album titled X-Rated on mau5trap.
Subscape – Universal (Original Mix)
Subscape - Universal (Original Mix) [Dub Police]
Every so often you’ll hear one of those amazing tracks that completely stands out in a set and you just have to know what it is. Universal by UK up-and-comer Subscape is certainly one of those tracks. It’s well-named with room-expanding breakdowns, dirty basslines, and an absolutely delicious melody. He’ll be returning to the studio in 2012, so we’re definitely excited to hear what London’s Anthony Peters will come up with next.
Rollz – Plugged In (Bassnectar Remix)
Rollz - Plugged In (Bassnectar Remix) [Amorphous]
If you ever have a chance to see Bassnectar live, please do not pass it up! Lorin Ashton is hands down one of the best acts in EDM, and this year he toured across the nation like a beast, including a stop at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. It was really difficult to choose a tune off his amazing new album Divergent Spectrum for the chart. In the end, the rock-like energy packed into his drumstep remix of Plugged In by Rollz won out. To see this track in action, check out his Summer Tour Aftermath Trailer.
Noisia – Tommy’s Theme (Original Mix)
Noisia - Tommy's Theme (Original Mix)
The Netherlands is primarily home to the biggest names in house and trance, but there’s also an incredible group of bass musicians who go by the name of Noisia. They’re well known for producing heavy and futuristic drum‘n’bass, but this time around they put their talents to work on dubstep and created the profoundly epic Tommy’s Theme. In addition to using one of the most thunderous basslines ever heard in dubstep, it bears a bit of resemblance to the theme song for the film Requiem for a Dream.
Amon Tobin – Surge (16bit Remix)
Amon Tobin - Surge (16Bit Remix) [Ninja Tune]
If this list hasn’t been hard enough for you yet, then turn your subs up for this one! Breaking into the top five is UK duo 16bit, and they’re remixing none other than the dark and violent sounds of Brazil’s Amon Tobin. Their gruesome version of Surge explodes so loud that it’s probably considered a form of torture in some countries. When it’s not slamming down some of the most brutal bass drops ever built, it’s sending chills with haunting tones and disturbing breaks.
Ajapai – Energize (Original Mix)
Ajapai - Energize (Original Mix) [Rottun]
A lot of attention is focused on whole UK vs US dubstep scene, but how about Japan? If you haven’t heard of him yet, you gotta check out one of the very best from the East, Ajapai. Signed to Excision’s Rottun Recordings, this guy earned the spot on the chart with his powerfully destructive Energize. With tracks that bang this hard it’s no wonder he ignites some of the wildest mosh pits in the scene.
Nero – Promises (Skrillex & Nero Remix)
Nero - Promises (Skrillex & Nero Remix) [MTA]
It’s been a highly successful year for the world touring Nero and their highly acclaimed artist album Welcome To Reality. In a smart move, the UK duo got with Skrillex they co-remixed one of the most popular tracks on the album, Promises. The tune made its debut during HARD Summer this year in LA, where both artists shared a stage. Since then, everyone’s been singing along to this delightfully catchy anthem.
Flux Pavilion – Bass Cannon (Original Mix)
Flux Pavilion - Bass Cannon (Original Mix) [Circus]
Coming in second place we have easily one of the year’s most played tunes, Bass Cannon by Flux Pavilion. This was spun in nearly every DJ’s set and essentially became the spirit and attitude of dubstep in America. The music video went viral, where teens get strapped down in a room full of subwoofers as Flux Pavilion and his pal Doctor P test the stamina of their eardrums by incrementally cranking up the volume.
Benny Benassi ft. Gary Go – Cinema (Skrillex Remix)
Benny Benassi feat Gary Go - Cinema (Skrillex Remix) [D:Vision]
The biggest dubstep anthem of the year undoubtedly belongs to Skrillex and his remix of Cinema by Benny Benassi. The viral smash earned over 25 million views on just one YouTube video and was even hailed this last New Year’s Eve by Kanye West on his Twitter as "one of the greatest works of art ever made." Further underlining the height that EDM has reached are Sonny’s five Grammy nominations, including a nod for best new artist. He’s not slowing down, either, with his new Bangarang EP just off the presses as well as an official remix of Levels by Avicii and extended Mothership Tour dates.