This weekend was the fifth birthday of Mary Anne Hobbs’ legendary (and rightly so) Dubstep Warz Breezeblock show on Radio 1. That’s right, five years. Largely credited with helping to push the emergent scene into wider consciousness, it remains a vital listen, with viscerally brilliant sets from Digital Mystikz, Skream, Kode9 & The Spaceape and Loefah potent reminders of just how exciting its early half-step sound could be.
Hobbs left Radio 1 towards the end of last year, but in honour of the show’s anniversary Mixcloud and Hobbs have made it available again to stream online. Though admittedly it's been floating around online via various download sites since the day it was broadcast, this presents a perfect opportunity to spend two hours brushing up on your bass history.
In Hobbs’ own words: “This show marked the global tipping point for the dubstep sound. Mala, Skream, Kode 9 & The Spaceape, Vex'd, Hatcha & Crazy D, Loefah & Sgt Pokes and Distance changed the world of global dance music forever. Dubstep Warz still sounds as vital, as primal and as thrilling as the night we threw it down. It brings tears to my eyes. If, as a broadcaster, you can deliver one show with the cultural & historical impact of this one in a lifetime, it's a miracle.”
It feels pretty strange that it’s already been five years since the show. Since then the sound has morphed and mutated into all manner of bizarre and brilliant (and, to be fair, often depressingly formulaic) shapes, and dubstep in 2010 was at times almost unrecognisable from its early form. Even by the time of 2008’s Generation Bass follow-up special, where those involved in the first broadcast each picked a rising DJ to champion, those changes were already beginning to show. In light of what’s come since though, Dubstep Warz marks the point at which the sound began to reach critical mass, a crucial turning point in a global success story.
“You can’t put man in a room without no subwoofers.” [Mala, Dubstep Warz, 2006]
More at Mary Anne Hobbs' Mixcloud page.