It's always hard to put together a list of who to watch: you don't really want to have to limit it but you have to and as a result some people maybe aren't on this list that should be. Anyway here's our attempt at a list of some names that you might want to check out....
Dubstep finally inched its way into the commercial psyche last year, Skream's La Roux remix became one of the year's biggest tracks and no release was complete without a Dubstep remix. Whilst in the high street clubs, whole nights were taken over by young student rudeboy wannabes whose attitude and grammar had been closely simulated from Youtube grime videos, demanding to hear the kind of wobble that would shake them out of their K holes. Many of the more discerning Dubstep aficionado looked towards artists such as Martyn, Cooly G and Ramadanman, who blurred the boundaries and took their cues from traditional 2 step Garage, tribal and tropical sounding rhythms which snuck in from corners of the UK funky and nu-skool kuduro scenes, as well as minimal Techno influences which crept out of places such as Detroit and Berlin.
Not that the underground didn't chase the filth still, with artists such as High Rankin, 16 bit and Borgore ensuring that the dark side of the force remained strong. In fact, last year more than ever saw the scene both come into its own and turn into something completely different. The depth and diversity truly made it a golden year for Dubstep, but what of this year? Well it's impossible to give a definitive over view of such a sprawling sound but we have chosen a few artists who we feel will go some way to drawing out markers in 2010.
Some of these names will be well known to even the not so hardcore Dubstep aficionados out there, however they are included because this year is set to see them heading even further towards their full potential rather than leaving them behind to buff the departing annals of history. Other names may leave you scratching your heads in bewilderment but all are going to be ones to watch.
Having made something of a name for himself in the Breaks scene, Eskmo first hinted at the Dubstep sound he would eventually develop into on his Willow Grail EP for Studio Rockers back in 2008. However his signature slow rolling tribal crunk style truly came into its own with the Hypercolor EP on Ancestor in the first half of last year.
Very warm and scenic in his productions and with obvious Hip-hop roots, the San Fran native also fits pretty snugly into the West Coast post Hip-hop scene. His latest mix, an event he claims to only bring about once a year, was recorded for Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder camp, whilst Warp Records, who already have that scene well in their sights with releases by Hudson Mohawke, Prefuse 73 and FlyLo himself, are set to release a double A side with his track Lands & Bones on one side and Hendt from fellow San Francisco producer Eprom on the other.
Already in many ways a deserving member of the Dubstep establishment, releasing tunes since 2005 and being chosen by Vex'd as one of the next Generation Bass back in the Summer of 08 for Mary Anne Hobb's radio show, the Philly resident first had a taste of UK street music back in 2001 whilst staying in London for a few months and has since gone on to record with the likes of Grime emcees such Kano, Ghetts, Durrty Goodz and Badness.
An accomplished composer who still releases concert music under his Government name, Starkey's debut album on Planet Mu remained fairly raw yet diverse, pulling in influences from Grime, Hip-hop and Dubstep into a mix he prefers to class as 'Street Bass'.
His second album 'Ear Drums and Black Holes' due out in March on the same label looks set to see a maturity in sound, and with remixes on the way for Rusko, Uffie and Mr. Hudson ft. Kanye West amongst others, Starkey is set to cement his place in the Dubstep hall of fame this year.
Another artist already well established yet set to go from strength to strength in 2010 is young Bristolian Joker. Also a member of Generation Bass (chosen by Kode9) and with a similar taste in deep and filthy funked out synth lines as some of Starkey's later productions (a sound courted by many media types as being Purple, partly due to the Joker & Ginz track Purple City).
His first release was the Kapsize EP on DJ Pinch's Earwax label in 2007 and he has since released tracks on Hyperdub, Tectonic, Plastician's Terrorhythm Recordings and his Kapsize imprint, a label which he runs with Ginz. Expectation is high this year for a debut album, as well as a collaboration album with Silkie, and there will no doubt be many more excellent remixes to follow on from his ones for the likes of Basement Jaxx, Zero 7, Simian Mobile Disco, The Heavy, Riton & Primary 1 and Sean Paul.
We may also see a proper release from his collaboration with Skream (almost certainly under the name Parma Violets).
Sometimes the road to recognition can be a long task fraught with foolish moves, and sometimes there are those that just seem to take every right step along the way. Not that Brackles is necessarily a newcomer, having been a DJ, like many of today's new Dubstep stars, since his mid teens.
However, the last couple of years have been more than good to him, with: his Rinse FM show; mixes for FACT, XLR8R and Dazed Digital; singles on Planet Mu, Applepips, Berkane Sol, and Pollen; remixes for the likes of MSTRKRFT, Crystal Fighters, Tempa T and Kid Cudi; and the Blunted Robots label he runs with the equally excellent Shortstuff, releasing the likes of Bok Bok, Mickey Pearce and Brackles younger brother Martin Kemp.
His sound, a kind of ambient yet high energy 2 step style, seems to have struck a major chord with the current club climate and his prestige was heightened by the inclusion of his track LHC on Mary Anne Hobbs' "Wild Angels" compilation. This year sees a follow up single with Planet Mu, a house(-ish) tune dropping on Brainmath, plus there will undoubtedly be plenty of other releases remixes and collaborations to look forwards to.
A well worn name on many a 'ones to watch list', so much so that the 22 year old could ride through 2010 on hype alone. However, the prophetic pundits aren't without taste and this young DJ / producer is certainly not without talent. Ever since his soulfully anthemic Garage / Broken Beat debut Hyph Mngo found its way onto the closing moments of a Fabriclive promo mix by Hessle Audio co-boss Ben UFO it started to gather unprecedented praise.
It was eventually released on Scuba's excellent Hotflush recordings, a label which rightly takes pride in its boundary blurring output, and is set to pave the way for many more big releases this year, starting with The Shrew EP on Will Saul's Aus label.
Having been an avid record collector since the age of 11, when his uncle (legendary Drum N Bass producer Ray Keith) started passing him his own releases, and with a fine taste in deep, soulful high energy tracks, expect to see him popping up in many more clubs and festivals near you soon too.
Monkey & Stagga
Wales is often not the first place one looks for exciting new producers, however with artists such as Curtamos, Magenta and Doc Daneeka all starting to make a name for themselves this could be about to change.
Perhaps the most established artists of this kind would have to be Cardiff combination of Monkey & Stagga, who despite having no currently available releases as a duo (there are tracks due this year on Rag & Bone and Monkey's own Sonic Lodge imprint), have been working together for years since their days as a Hip-hop crew called Optimas Prime (the Hip-hop influence is also apparent in their Chrome Kids side project).
Individually their production sound is fairly oppositional, Stagga favouring big and twisted futuristic laser style synths and noises, whilst Monkey has something of a deeper atmospheric yet urgent style. A favourite of DJs like Starkey and Raffertie, Stagga (now based in Berlin) is probably the better known out of the two, however with an ever maturing sound more akin to some of the post-Garage producers we've mentioned this could well prove to be a popular year for Monkey also.
Kode 9's Hyperdub label remains one of the most forward thinking and institutional labels in Dubstep today and so it is no surprise that having a string of hits on the label, Ikonika's productions are more than a bit special. Her tracks so far have been a great contrast of comforting and uncomfortable, playful and grown up, laid back and urgent, with a firm disregard for the rulebook. Although she has provided remixes for heavy hitters Warp and Planet Mu she remains ever faithful to Hyperdub for her releases and they shall be dropping her debut album 'Contact, Love, Want, Have' in the fairly near future.
Another artist with a love of ignoring the rules, the rich diversity in his productions is refreshing yet not confusing, leading to a well rounded rather than unsatisfied artist. Emerging out of the Hessle Audio stable earlier in the year, his reputation spread in forest fire fashion as an exciting artist to keep an eye on.
With his follow up releases and remixes for the likes of Jose James, Ke$ha, Ramadanman and Moderat giving the feel that Untold pours an impressive amount of effort and emotion into a track without being pretentious in the slightest, those keeping an eye were left with them popping out and in a short time he has become a firm favourite of the Dubstep fringes and will no doubt make his way quickly to centre stage over the next few months.
With some killer bootleg remixes of the likes of MGMT and King Blues, Lenton soon became something of a blog darling last year. He showed an acute ear for a killer beat and an unquestionable pop sensibility so it was perhaps unsurprising that his original productions would start to gain an equal amount of praise.
The frustrated filth of his track Troll, along with it's well placed ‘Network' sample summed up the mood of the nation perfectly, and as well as Dubstep he also proved himself a worthy Electro and Hip-hop producer. Bobby Digital invited him to do a mini mix for his show on the BBC Asian Network and his tunes started to appear on BBC Radio One, however official releases (remixes for Man Like Me and Erik Hassle) didn't drop until the tail end of the year and his first proper debut, The Price EP is out this month on Wickey Lindows.
To compliment his lush, soulful and sometimes sinister production, James has the added bonus that he has a beautiful voice which sits comfortably between soul and anti folk (he is also a singer for Mount Kimbie). His first single, Air & Lack There Of (infact the first tune he ever really wrote) was picked up by Untold for his Hemlock label and also gained its original airing on the same Ben UFO mix as Hyph Mngo. This year he has releases lined up for Hessle, R&S and a beautiful collaboration with Airhead (with whom he recorded his Mary Anne Hobbs mix last year) is due out on Brainmath.
Holding it down for the filthy side of the rave with royal rumbling bass and all out kick and snare warfare, Cookie Monsta graduated from the Rusko school of Dubstep with flying honours. Releases so far have been limited to a few downloads through Chemical Records but 2 mixes of all his own productions showed a future force to be reckoned with. He has since signed with Circus Records so expect a few releases through them in the next couple of months plus the year kicked off with a remix he recorded for fresh faced pop rapper Fugitive on Ministry Of Sound's Hard2Beat Records.