You remember the first time you heard some bass music on a proper system? Hyperdub’s 10-year celebration at Verboten Thursday gave me a dose of nostalgia, recreating that vibe with mammoth footwork tunes and vintage dubplates.
I walked in as DJ Spinn and Taso had just begun their b2b set. Footwork never sounded as fiery as it did on Verboten’s state-of-the-art sound system. Teklife’s involvement with Hyperdub leads mainly to DJ Rashad’s Double Cup LP, a seminole release for the footwork genre that was given martyr status when Rashad died earlier this year. May he rest in peace.
Spinn & Rashad (RIP)
Spinn and Taso have found a blimp in popularity since then, playing everything from Pitchfork and Afropunk festivals to touring with Kode9 for his victory lap around America. They ran through originals like “Pass That Shit” and “Feelin” alongside re-works of Gil Scott-Heron’s “Home Is Where The Hatred Is,” Kanye West’s “On Sight,” Raekwon’s posse cut “Ice Cream,” Breach’s “Jack,” and many more recognizable little samples. My buddy Emch, who makes music under the name Subatomic Sound System, said he thinks footwork is this generations jungle. Interesting to think about…
Kode9 has some technical difficulties, which extended Spinn b2b Taso but ultimately took a little air out of the room until they figured out the problem. He contributed some wonky UK bass alongside the footwork vibe.
And then the mighty Mala. Where to begin?
Mala, half of Digital Mystikz, is a dubstep legend, no doubt. He’s still putting the “dub” back in dubstep, and spinning strictly vinyl on Verboten’s sound system allowed for each groove of each record to be amplified to its maximum potential. Mala took the stage to play a vintage reggae track, clear the air and reset the vibe before taking us on our dubstep history lesson.
It was deep. Exclusive white-labels were plentiful, as told to use by Taso who had undertaken the job as MC of Mala’s set. He would build the dubs so well, first giving us a low-end track, before slowly moving in to something with a bit more grit. The crowd was extraordinarily responsive, and spin-backs yielded a prison-breaking roar as he cued up the track again.
One mega-standout was the ultra-deep Digital Mystikz remix of “Cays Crays,” a vinyl record that is worth about $100 just so you get a sense of the cult following here. Bukez Finezt “Under Control,” a remix of Mavado’s “Weh Dem A Do” and Swindle’s “Forest Funk” also made appearances in the set.
By about 4am, I’d had my fill, leaving more impressed than I usually do from the club. I’d been given a few valuable snapshots of dance music history, served up by those who took them original and filtered through an epic sound system. Verboten, Hyperdub…thank you for this one.