21 November 2005


Hell Science Dept


00:00 Capslock
04:38 Bill Trouble
13:55 W.T.F.O
17:12 Dubmugga
23:11 Grrrind
31:25 Sparticle (feat. Jordan Reyne)
35:53 Winter Mourning
39:58 Rainforest

Regular visitors to the Dubstep forum will no doubt be familiar with Dubmugga, the outspoken mouthpiece of New Zealand underground production team Hell Science Dept who, along with Baddie, are the only artists (that I know of) pushing dubstep influences on the Kiwi Isles. Listening to their mix, I was impressed by the production quality, in particular the drum programming which is hard and 'steppy' whilst maintaining an undeniably fluid funk factor that I could envisage working in, say, a Search & Destroy set. One big difference I'm feeling is Hell Science's willingness to get into longer, extended exercises in repetition. It's almost trancey, though not in the sense of Trancey Techno, more like 'eyes rolling in the back of head' voodoo mantra trancey - a sense of losing oneself in the rhythm of the drums, which is quite sharply in contrast with UK underground's emphasis on head-nodding bassline skank and restless, angular beats.

One thing I would've liked would be a few more riffs and melodies to add some extra 'hookiness' to the barrage of beats, bass and atmospheric dub effects. When I put this to Dubmugga he kind of agreed:

"Yeah, we got an old keyboard that just needs midi'd up so we can actually play melodies and stuff in real time as opposed to step-editing them in. Hence the lack of melodies cos it's a li'l bit hard faking subtle nuances one note at a time by shuffling little boxes around on a screen."

Also, I was thinking the basslines could be a bit more upfront and twisted ('wobbly') to get the UK scene's attention. Dubmugga responds:

"The wobbly bass thing is something we are almost trying to steer clear of cos it's almost expected and we don't really want to clone anybody's sound to the point where we even try to keep the beats pretty straight. Might do a Toasty/Boxcutter/Ve'xd type one for a change..."

I know that Dubmugga is keen to point out that, although influenced by dubstep, he doesn't see himself as being a part the whole dubplate culture thing we've got over here. So what are the aims of Hell Science, and how do they wish to be perceived...?

"I'm hoping we can carve out a little niche for ourselves with a readily identifiable sound that still registers with the dubstep community yet reflects the geographically altered strain of the musical virus which went underground after UKG died and mutated to spontaneously appear all over the globe as dubstep."

Hopefully this will be a good start...