Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Kode9, The Early Days;

Steve Goodman AKA Kode9 is one of my favourite artists within the world of bass music; he is the mastermind behind the prolific label that is Hyperdub and has a Ph.D in Philosophy.

Kode9 is also the author of "Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear" a study of how sound is being used in other forms than music. so as you can see, this guy is one of the brilliant minds of music today. So lets go through the history of him as an artist and why he is my pick for an artist spotlight.

I'm not going to give you the whole history of Kode9 and what hes done for music; if you're even the tiny bit into bass music culture you will know HyperDub's name at least! What I will be doing is showing you my favourite highlights of his earlier career within Dubstep.

Probably the most important thing for Dubstep when it comes to a single release; released at a time where Dubstep wasn't Dubstep; it was finding its feet and finding its name, this small duo (first being Grime) released on Rephlex (owned by the legendary Aphex Twin)  featured some of the biggest names we know today; when they didn't carry the clout that they do; Grime2 features tracks from Kode9, Loefah and Digitalmystikz and I'm sure the latter two need no introduction.

This release made people wanting more, put these artists in the spotlight in the underground dance music world and helped shape the foundations of one of the biggest movements in dance music today.

The first release of Hyperdub and an interesting one; taken inspiration from the vocalists Daddi Gee Aka Spacepace's favourite song Prince - Sign 'O' the Times they made a stipped down - yardy cover on the track; its a powerful and a thought provoking track.

Kode9 Feat. The Spaceape - Dubstep Allstars Vol. 3

The tempa website describes the mix cd in this way, this is better than I could!

Dubstep allstars Vol.03, mixed by Kode9 and hosted by The Spaceape, is the dubstep mix CD re-imagined.
Armed with a mic and the same 10" dubplate weapons, but approaching from a completely different trajectory, this is a creation greater than the sum of its parts. Observe how the line gets twisted out of all recognition.
First there's the slection, a crucial element in any DJs arsenal. This defines the range of emotional spaces likely to be encountered along the way. For this mix, Kode9 drew from his London surroundings, taking South London dubstep and East London grime and heading into uncharted waste ground.
The majority of the material is unreleased; fresh and upfront, it's carefully selected for its strength and potential. The effect of this is twofold. It ensures the listener is receiving the very latest sounds, the very edge of the expanding dubstep sphere as defined by the collective imagination of a self-sustaining musical community. The second effect is internal: by selecting the best tracks that fit his vision, and not simply big tracks from the most established names, it feeds back creative energy into the very community from which they are drawn by suggesting a production meritocracy

Even though this feature is about Kode9 mainly; I can't do the whole thing without a mention  of Burial!

The first album released on the HyperDub imprint, it shocked the whole world and sent the media into a frenzy; if you don't know Burial is one of the biggest controversies in music these days as he hasn't ever shown his face in public; despite being nominated for the career-making award The Mercury Prize; Burial didn't even turn up to perform on the night (which all artists are invited to do); loads of people have said (industry experts) if he turned up, he would of won but the first album (self titled) is before all this happened.

Burial - Burial is deep; dark and emotional music; laced with huge drums and bass, chopped and screwed vocals to portray a message as well as collaborative work with Spaceape (Kode9's MC).

A short 5 months after the almost-perfect album from Burial, Hyperdub releases its second full LP with the head honcho's very own mystical work with MC Spaceape which is Memories Of The Future.

It took me a while to "get" this album, it went over my head; I was still listening to Burial at the time and wasn't quite understanding what the album was trying to say or do. Listening back while writing this article (first time in around a year) I can't help but hold it close to my heart; its a wonderfully produced album with more depth than any Electronic album I have heard before! I know a lot of older Dubstep fans who appreciate this album and love it with all their hearts but I feel its not very timeless, if you was there at the time and felt this emerging scene starting the bubble; this album proved for the second time it can be a genre which produces albums. 

And this is where my journey ends, for now! Two more features to come (groundbreaking days and present days)


  1. Super, super well written. So much respect for Kode9.

  2. Yeah, this is complete. And you did in fact have to mention Burial, it really wouldn't have been complete otherwise!

  3. Still don't understand this album. In all honesty.

    Someday, someday.

    ?Left Justify?

    You failed to mention that Kode 9 is Burial...?

  4. very cool i love the background info on dubstep and kode9

  5. These are the type of things that I need to listen 4-5 times before I get into it.

  6. Great article man. Dubstep wouldn't be anything like it is without Kode. Sine is still one of the best dubstep tracks there is.

  7. This is really awesome! I'm addicted to'Burial' now.
    I'm loving your blog :)

  8. Listening to these now. The U hurt me is my new favorite

  9. Yeah, Burial's fine. I saw in your profile that you like Portishead though. Now that's what I call music :).

  10. these beats are casting a stark shadow of bass in my bedroom.

  11. Had no idea about the Rephlex release, so afx & grant claridge had some influence on the rise of dubstep? crazy.

  12. I'v just started listening a lot to Burial, it was fun to read more about him!