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KonradZuse

Dubstep and VGM... Why?

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Hello all! I think this is my first post here so first off I want to say thank you to the entire community for everything you have done. I have been a VGM lover since I was a kid(like most people I would assume) and have been supporting OCRemix for many years.

What I want to ask to the community is how they feel about Dubstep and VGM...

When I first heard Dubstep I 1000000% disliked it. It was completely base, no melody, and I figured it was the complete opposite of VGM.

When I actually saw Dubstep remixes of VGM like Super Mario and Zelda it was pretty upsetting to hear good melodies be taken over by the same 3 bass sounds.

Whenever I heard a VGM Remix now it seems most of the time you hear the melody then WOMP WOMP nothing....

There have been some decent/good Dubstep remixes, but IMO, Dubstep really shouldn't be here. It doesn't belong with VGM Imo....

Just curious how others feel? I feel Dubstep is making a big splash into VGM now, and I rather not go to listen to my favorite games all with dubstep.... There have definitely been really good remixes involved with Dubstep, but those are extremely rare in my cases.

That being said no offense to anyone else's love for dubstep, I know as a VGM lover people think it's weird to like VGM, so I don't want to be a hater, but I just really cannot get into it...

Thoughts all??

Thanks for your time, have a good one,

~KZ

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For the most part i'm the same way. All dubstep sounds the same to me yet I know that the music I like has it's devices and cliches and many people probably think the same way towards it. To each his own.

What I do like is the tasteful use of dubstep that can really really work. Blind's Blue Sky FFXIII remix is a great example of how to use it well.

There's probably some others on the site but i can't think of any right now.

Straight dubstep doesn't do anything for me though.

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First, I'll admit that dubstep is, in many ways, an acquired taste. That said, anyone who dismisses the genre as a whole is acting out of ignorance.

Here's what dubstep brings to the table:

- A set of textures that is used very rarely in any other genre, thereby expanding the sonic palette in a very positive way

- Insane flexibility. Many other genres can be combined with dubstep, which means its versatility lends itself well to VGM.

- Powerful bass. Okay, yes, it gets to be a bit much, but you can't deny the emotional reaction to a strong, loud bassline on the right system. Bass moves the human body in a way that nothing else does.

- Because of its reliance on rhythm, it brings a powerful energy to any occasion. This is why I think that dubstep fits so well into VGM, due to its ability to convey immense power and adrenaline.

Dubstep, to me, is the new hip hop. It's not going away anytime soon, and it's finding itself integrated into many other genres, including the more cinematic ones, just as hip hop has been doing for forty years.

Adapt or die. :tomatoface::-P In all seriousness, dubstep is one of those sounds that builds on what came before, yet manages to be groundbreaking. Kinda like jazz, rock'n'roll, hip hop, and any other "new, too loud" genre.

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Dubstep is as much an art form as any other kind of music, people just like to hate it on the same way they did Techno, Nu Metal, Olde Metal, Punk, Prog, Rock and Roll, etc. because at the time, it wasn't for everyone, and current human nature dictates that if you want people to think something of you, you need to bash what you perceive everyone else (or "the mainstream" or "the popular people" or "the sheep" as they're often referred to) is doing or listening to to create an air of genuine superiority without actually doing anything to back it up with.

You gotta admit it really takes something to make a genre built on half-time rhythms explode in popularity.

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It's like I said before, most dubstep I found I don't like, but there have been some, and even some really good VGM mixes.

I just don't like it when I'm all tranced into this awesome melody and all of a sudden it's cut out by WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMP WOMP WOMP WOMP.

SEriously, learn to mix it up properly, and there have been many songs to do this.

Bass isn't new to the music industry, but this need for "only bass" is a bit extreme.

Some peopel like that, it seems the same people who were into big boomy rap type music came into Dubstep.

I love techno, Trance, and all of that, but Dubstep is just ... to me.

First, I'll admit that dubstep is, in many ways, an acquired taste. That said, anyone who dismisses the genre as a whole is acting out of ignorance.

You said it's an aquired taste, then saying anyone who dismisses it as a whole acts out of ignorance.

You don't have to like any genre. I don't have to like dubstep because you like it. Saying someone should is ignorant as well.

Adapt or die. In all seriousness, dubstep is one of those sounds that builds on what came before, yet manages to be groundbreaking. Kinda like jazz, rock'n'roll, hip hop, and any other "new, too loud" genre.

You can take anything and "build it" upon anything else.

I personally 100000% disagree with that statement about dubstep. As this entire thread was made for, I feel it kills melody. The only thing it builds on, is other "BOOMS!"

But again, it seems like Dubstep has many areas. SOme like to completely drown out the melody and hit the bass, while others do incorporate it.

Dubstep is like DnB, but takes it to a whole-nother B....

This song for example http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02707/

Has tons of bass, with a nice DnB kick to it. This song I listen to basically every day. The orchestral melody mixed with the good dnb produces an amazing song.

If dubstep coordinated everything together I would like it, but in my experience it's just mostly bass, whenever the mixer feels like it... :(

Edited by KonradZuse

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Well, first off... I like it. I confess that I don't usually LOVE it, and I do prefer it in small doses, but it seems pretty cool to me. My favorite aspect is that brings synths front and center in a very aggressive way that has previously been reserved more for guitars & vocals. I'm sympathetic to anything that achieves that feat, almost by default...

In all seriousness, dubstep is one of those sounds that builds on what came before, yet manages to be groundbreaking. Kinda like jazz, rock'n'roll, hip hop, and any other "new, too loud" genre.

I'm not personally comfortable equating the innovation & impact of what I view as an electronic sub-genre with the watershed musical breakthroughs involved in any of those larger, umbrella genres. That's just me... I do draw a line between sub-genres that primarily revolve around a couple key aspects of rhythm & sound design as compared to larger umbrella genres that, as they came into existence, radically changed music. I do agree though that the "new, too loud" or "the devil's music" knee-jerk reaction is quite similar, and it's definitely still something new & substantial in its own right.

For the most part i'm the same way. All dubstep sounds the same to me yet I know that the music I like has it's devices and cliches and many people probably think the same way towards it.

While I do think that almost any musical genre has something to offer, I don't think all genres are identically flexible across all characteristics. For example, if you were to quantify "self-similarity" - the tendency of songs in a given genre to strongly resemble each other, I think dubstep would have a relatively high value. This is just one way of looking at things, and a strong counterargument can be posed that it's the variation within a more limited set of parameters that makes all the difference in the world and is even the primary appeal. However, I do think the average human being probably has an easier time remembering & telling songs apart that have more "obvious" distinctions in tempo, vocals, melodic content, etc. This really isn't a value judgment, just an observation.

Everyone likes something different. It's fine if you'd rather not listen to a certain genre, but that doesn't mean that it has no place here.

Strongly agreed, of course!

There are badly written pieces of music, but there is no such thing as a genre of music that is inherently worse than most or all of the others because the same concepts apply to all music.

I don't know about "worse," as that's a holistic & conclusive label, but there ARE genres that allow for more overall variety, surely... and there are genres that are more specific in their criteria. I think it's rather important to think of umbrella genres differently than sub-genres, as they're really quite distinct in how specifically (or generally) they describe a set of shared characteristics.

Edited by djpretzel

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Dubstep is as much an art form as any other kind of music, people just like to hate it on the same way they did Techno, Nu Metal, Olde Metal, Punk, Prog, Rock and Roll, etc.

all of these musics suck tho

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When I first heard Dubstep I 1000000% disliked it. It was completely base, no melody, and I figured it was the complete opposite of VGM.

When I actually saw Dubstep remixes of VGM like Super Mario and Zelda it was pretty upsetting to hear good melodies be taken over by the same 3 bass sounds.

IMO, Dubstep really shouldn't be here. It doesn't belong with VGM Imo....

I rather not go to listen to my favorite games all with dubstep....

sooo.... don't.

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dubstep is extremely difficult to talk about in any reasonable sense because it has gotten to the point that "dubstep" simply means "crazy wacky bass synths". im sure a lot of people are gonna roll their eyes at me here, but i dont think there can be any meaningful discussion on this topic without a full understanding of what it is we're talking about. i understand that styles grow and evolve, and part of that process is the change of hands, but i find it hard to reconcile what is a subtle, conscious, expressive form of dance music - whether we're talking about what you might call

, or the more
or experimental - with the kind of nihilistic/hedonistic edm-festival culture stuff which is really more of an amalgamation of dubstep, electro house (a la justice/mstrkrft), dnb, and screamo/post-hardcore rock (and more recently, southern hip-hop/trap). in short, naked, shallow cultural appropriation. you might as well talk about whether or not rap has the right to exist based on your opinion of papa roach.

of course, none of this really matters to anyone for whom the question about liking/disliking dubstep comes to down to a kind of my-guys-against-your-guys argument that defaults to a kind of noncommittal Live And Let Live, so im just trapped alone in a void without a mouth to scream

(also just for the record, im not trying to say that the synthesis techniques associated with the kind of "dubstep" im complaining about are inherently invalid. there are plenty of artists on ocr alone that can speak to that. dubstep has always had an element of aggression to it. the music im criticizing is of a kind that is, unmoored from social context, aggression for aggression's sake).

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hello I quite enjoy stepping my dubs, though I'm not too knowledgable on exactly where the genre lies.

I'm going to keep talking anyway.

Dubstep is like DnB, but takes it to a whole-nother B....
iirc that's actually called darkstep, which is completely different from dubstep! (lineage-wise)

just a fun fact

that is neither dubstep nor darkstep.

in fact, I'm not sure what it is.

I'd place it closer to bigbeat a la hardknox, with a slight emphasis on electro-bass (barely)

it's too slow for dnb and doesn't have that kick snare kicksnare pattern.

I think it's rather important to think of umbrella genres differently than sub-genres, as they're really quite distinct in how specifically (or generally) they describe a set of shared characteristics.

ok this is where my missing knowledge will show but hopefully someone else can fill in the gaps for me:

DUBSTEP IS AN UMBRELLA GENRE

this entire thread is actually about "Bass music", the proper umbrella term for, well, music with an emphasis on bass. "dubstep" and "bass music" are often used interchangeably, though dubstep is actually much more specific (140bpm, halftime drums, drop bass after 16 bars, no items, final destination, fox only).

as for what OP is specifically complaining about

When I first heard Dubstep I 1000000% disliked it. It was completely base, no melody, and I figured it was the complete opposite of VGM.

this sounds to me a bit like complaining about how hardcore has such a focus on distorted kicks, or how french house seems to use phasers and filters so often...

just a bit.

I think I'm just rambling now, so here's the most important thing I have to say:

There have been some decent/good Dubstep remixes, but IMO, Dubstep really shouldn't be here. It doesn't belong with VGM Imo....

90% of all music is terrible. this applies to every genre.

90% of listeners can't tell the difference between good music and bad music within a genre. this is subjective but worth considering.

now...dubstep bass music is EXTREMELY POPULAR right now. so you're going to see a lot of it. combining the two statics I just mentioned, you're also going to see a lot of bad dubstep....and you're going to see a lot of bad dubstep being spread around as if it were great.

and, since you're looking at the intersection of VGM and dubstep, it's even worse.

and by worse I mean both common and easier to mess up.

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OC ReMix occasionally has some kind of contest or event that leads to a lot of people signing up for the OCR forums so they can "vote" or whatever the situation involved may be. Then, in the near or distant future, you have someone arise who is "new" in terms of not posting here, but has an older registration date which clearly and obviously demonstrates their allegiance to OC ReMix and everything that it stands for. Then they say "Playing with live instruments is the shit, I worked as hard as anyone, don't fuck around."

On a serious note defending dubstep is a no-brainer, I'd love to see the site defend death metal or doom metal or black metal like more thoroughly than to just say "we accept any genre :-)" I'd like to see them go out of their way to listen to a few doom records or something and feel the emotion they can come away with from the experience, then rant about it on facebook or something.

Edited by Brandon Strader

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Alongside the issues of locking out specific genres out of VGM remixes (which, IMO, is just plain stupid), railing against dubstep is like railing against power metal or electro house. It's a genre, and there are different styles within the genre.

Dubstep in particular is a genre of electronic music, and genres of electronic music are categorized based on tempo and beat pattern. With this in mind, dubstep doesn't even need to be "bassy" to qualify as dubstep, the bassiness was just a style that got popular when Skrillex did (and no one bothered to actually consider what actually made him popular...namely his great melodic hooks alongside the bass). That kind of style been out of favor in mainstream EDM for a while now, most of the bandwagoners moving onto Moombahton or Trap.

Seriously though, I can't emphasize enough the differences in style that can exist between dubstep songs. These following tracks are all dubstep; note the beat pattern and tempo shared between them:

Gemini - 3D Romeo feat. Fabienne

Hadouken - The Comedown

Phetsta - Dance All Night

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A lot of us have had the same love/hate evolution of feelings about dubstep, but I think this discussion goes beyond dubstep itself (which I do agree as being a sub-genre). We've had this discussion play out with multiple genres, and imo it all comes down to the same conflict: skilled fidelity to certain [limited] genres being a necessarily Procrustean act upon certain [differently limited] video game source tunes. Often, a remix just ends up being the lowest common denominator of that conflict.

And there really isn't always a good way around that conflict. As remixers we're re-articulating source tunes, and it's ok to use the genre vocabulary of our time, even if that contemporary vocabulary feels colloquial in comparison to the original composer's work.

Edited by Patrick Burns

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Without reading much of the rest of the thread, here's just my two cents:

1. If all you're hearing is "the same WOMP WOMP" it's possible that it isn't the genre's fault, but the producers you're hearing it from. Some people gravitate towards using pre-made synth patches, which can mean a lot of songs sounding similar.

2. Dubstep can very easily be melodic. Again, this is up to the producer. There are strengths in each song that can be brought out through single-note rhythms and sound-landscapes or through melody and composition. A combination of those two things usually achieves some of the best Dubstep (or rather, ANY modern electronic music) and there are many songs that do this.

3. VGM and Dubstep go hand-in-hand, they're practically born to be together. Back in the 8bit and 16bit days, the composers had little to work with as far as instruments. In order to make poppy sounds that stood out, whether in music or sound-effects, they often would throw dynamics onto certain aspects of their synths. These dynamics are the focus of Dubstep, found in LFO Modulation (wobbles). It's only natural for the two to gravitate towards each other.

In short, I don't ask or want everybody to love Dubstep. I'm fine with there being people that hate it. That being said, nobody has any place in discounting it as a genre or saying "it has no place here".

That last line goes against everything that OCReMix is about. It's appreciation of VGM, in ANY way. It's about opening your mind and seeing how others appreciate it, and coming together around that.

Hope this helps a little bit in seeing my views on this matter

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...though dubstep is actually much more specific (140bpm, halftime drums, drop bass after 16 bars, no items, final destination, fox only).

Had myself a good laugh, I did

Then maybe people would shut up about dubstep.

shutupstep

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It's like I said before, most dubstep I found I don't like, but there have been some, and even some really good VGM mixes.

...

You can take anything and "build it" upon anything else.

I personally 100000% disagree with that statement about dubstep. As this entire thread was made for, I feel it kills melody. The only thing it builds on, is other "BOOMS!"

...Like

? =)

I just don't like it when I'm all tranced into this awesome melody and all of a sudden it's cut out by WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMP WOMP WOMP WOMP.

SEriously, learn to mix it up properly, and there have been many songs to do this.

Bass isn't new to the music industry, but this need for "only bass" is a bit extreme.

Some peopel like that, it seems the same people who were into big boomy rap type music came into Dubstep.

I love techno, Trance, and all of that, but Dubstep is just ... to me.

'Cause that's the generic basic type. It's not the good type.

You said it's an aquired taste, then saying anyone who dismisses it as a whole acts out of ignorance.

You don't have to like any genre. I don't have to like dubstep because you like it. Saying someone should is ignorant as well.

No. He said thinking dubstep is entirely terrible is ignorant because it's not just basic wobbles all the time. There are people who know how to make better wobbles than that. It's not entirely an acquired taste, though. There are just different types of wobbles that are harder to describe than others. Sometimes they aren't even basic LFO wobbles. Sometimes they're vocaloid FM basses (which are way harder to make, btw), FM bitcrushed "yah" basses, etc. If they're made well, subconsciously they might sound good, or they don't sound unpleasant. If you don't like a specific dubstep song, then the wobbles probably weren't well-constructed or well-implemented (either too resonant or too much treble).

ok this is where my missing knowledge will show but hopefully someone else can fill in the gaps for me:

DUBSTEP IS AN UMBRELLA GENRE

It is. Dubstep is an umbrella genre for anything with wobble basses: Drumstep, Electro House, "Darkstep" (as sci calls it), and others that I can't think of.

Without reading much of the rest of the thread, here's just my two cents:

1. If all you're hearing is "the same WOMP WOMP" it's possible that it isn't the genre's fault, but the producers you're hearing it from. Some people gravitate towards using pre-made synth patches, which can mean a lot of songs sounding similar.

2. Dubstep can very easily be melodic. Again, this is up to the producer. There are strengths in each song that can be brought out through single-note rhythms and sound-landscapes or through melody and composition. A combination of those two things usually achieves some of the best Dubstep (or rather, ANY modern electronic music) and there are many songs that do this.

...

In short, I don't ask or want everybody to love Dubstep. I'm fine with there being people that hate it. That being said, nobody has any place in discounting it as a genre or saying "it has no place here".

That last line goes against everything that OCReMix is about. It's appreciation of VGM, in ANY way. It's about opening your mind and seeing how others appreciate it, and coming together around that.

Hope this helps a little bit in seeing my views on this matter

1. Yep. That's why I appreciate it when someone synthesizes their own wobbles... unique ones.

2. For sure. This has dubstep elements (0:47 - 1:18), and it's still melodic. Then again, I'm a picky person, so I guess that helped me make it work. You'd almost never think Dubstep can fit in with Funk.

In short, Dubstep is only bad when it's made badly. It's up to the producer to tame resonances and select sounds carefully.

Edited by timaeus222

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