Datswotsup! Monthly w/ Appleblim
Words By Stevie Tee
Photos By Pietro Amalfi
Datswotsup is a bass-music party that takes place the first Friday of every month at Oslo in Detroit. Bass-oriented music is essentially a shorter way of saying Dubstep, 2-Step Garage, UK Funky, Drum 'n' Bass and any other similar sub-genres. As a contrast to Detroit's Dubstep Circus, this party focuses less on event production for a cheaper cover charge while offering more internationally renowned headlining talent. The performances are usually straight forward DJ sets with each artist turning over the turntables to the next artist on the bill. Oslo's intimate basement space coupled with it's impressive sound system make the perfect club for such an event. The club was dark and fairly packed for arriving at 11:00 P.M.
Datswotsup resident DJ's Dre and Deadlines were trading off tunes on the decks, and I had just missed the ending of Calico's opening slot. Dre and Deadlines had a great back to back set going and I was informed that they're a production team called Gin & Tronic. This wasn't surprising news to me after hearing a few minutes of hearing these guys trading tunes back and forth. Their sound stayed more towards the 2-step garage and UK funky end of the bass spectrum with a few big tracks bringing to mind the Future Garage sound which is growing popular through acts like Mount Kimbie. This sound isn't quite as aggressive most people's idea of dubstep or drum 'n' bass, but still has an emphasis on deep bass. Other telltale signs one might notice are tight, tech-y percussive sounds and a 2-step beat that dictates the groove for the audience.
Later on, the locals traded the decks over and introduced the main headliner of the night Appleblim. Despite playing second to last, this was clearly the headlining artist who has the biggest following and most critical acclaim. Coming all the way from Bristol, England, Laurie "Appleblim" Osborne started off his set very slowly and quietly. Building up a mood in this darkened night club with atmospheric, textural sounds and dropping into a very paced deep house beat. While his music is often associated with bass music and dubstep in light of it's explosion to the scene, the beginning of his set was much closer to house and techno. Also considering it was the first time this producer had played in Detroit, it's not surprising he'd pay homage to the city that pioneered the sound. Much of the night's music was more than likely pulled from the yet-to-be-released section of Appleblim's record bin. Since Appleblim founded his own label Apple Pips, he's been able to help like-minded artists with releases and drop all kinds of unreleased tracks and dubplates. The sound slowly morphed more into the UK funky, 2-step kind of sound that the previous DJs had been working with. Appleblim's tracks were all tied together quite seamlessly with a swing that could connect the dots between any sub-genre or musical factions. Even as the sound got heavier and slightly more aggressive, the sound was minimally tech influenced for bass oriented music. Breaks and short vocal samples slowly became pulled a part and more psychedelic, while kick drums and bass lines morphed into one another. After a set that would probably clock in a little over ninety minutes, Appleblim turned the DJ booth over to our last performer of the night, Doombox.
Article: Appleblim article and mix recorded Live at Fabric in London
Doombox is a producer/DJ from Columbia, MO, that was a crowd-pleasing choice for those who are used to seeing straightforward dubstep at these events. While not the headlining artist, he played last to give the rowdy Friday night dance floor what it seemed to be craving and close out the night on a much more rambunctious note. This DJ's style didn't particularly interest me though his mixing and DJing capabilities certainly couldn't be called into question. All the segues I could notice were quite clean and to the point. Here were all of the 140 BPM, heavily wobbled and womped basslines, and new-school Ableton production effects that most people associate with the idea of dubstep. The music is much more aggressive and heavy than anything that I had heard throughout the night. While this music had the whole crowd getting down and dirty, it wouldn't do much to change the mind of someone whose reluctant to the trendy new sound. For those who enjoy the work of Excision, Datsik and Borgore, Doombox will play along side those artists rather comfortably. No one can deny that this guy was able to rock a party, but I found myself actually preferring the resident Datswotsup artists. To put it fairly and truthfully, the music was only moving me physically, not in any other deeper resounding sense of the word. Music ended promptly at 2:00 A.M., and the club slowly filed out as a collective sweaty mess that wondered, "Where's the after party?!?"
Next month, Datswotsup will host a Live-PA performance from New Zealand outfit called Truth. You may have heard some of their productions released through dubstep kingpin Skream's record label Disfigured Dubz.
DATSWOTSUP! wsg: TRUTH