Nerds!

The Drop: Mala Takes Dubstep To Cuba

The dubstep producer Mala recorded sounds for his new album, Mala In Cuba, during a trip to Havana with the BBC DJ Gilles Peterson. i i

The dubstep producer Mala recorded sounds for his new album, Mala In Cuba, during a trip to Havana with the BBC DJ Gilles Peterson. Teddy Fitzhugh/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Teddy Fitzhugh/Courtesy of the artist
The dubstep producer Mala recorded sounds for his new album, Mala In Cuba, during a trip to Havana with the BBC DJ Gilles Peterson.

The dubstep producer Mala recorded sounds for his new album, Mala In Cuba, during a trip to Havana with the BBC DJ Gilles Peterson.

Teddy Fitzhugh/Courtesy of the artist

About a decade ago, a duo named Digital Mystikz put out a series of 12" singles on its label, DMZ. The group's music was a hybrid of a number of influences including dub, reggae, drum and bass, grime and two-step, and as the decade wore on, "dubstep" became the name for this uniquely British combination. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, dubstep was embraced by producers in America, who honed in on the aggressive mid- and low-range synths of the tracks coming out of London to make high energy festival jams. In London, the sound evolved in a more purist direction; productions often favored the darker, moodier aspects of the original recipe as opposed to the brashness of the American style.

In 2012, dubstep has splintered and contorted in so many different directions that it's difficult to put descendants of this music into neat categories. Which can be a good thing: when a genre has changed as much as dubstep has over the years, producers can freely stretch its boundaries. This is what Mala has done with his newest release, Mala In Cuba.

Listen to 'Mulata' By Mala

Mala In Cuba
Courtesy of the artist

Mulata

  • Artist: Mala
  • Album: Mala in Cuba

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Mulata
Album
Mala in Cuba
Artist
Mala
Label
Brownswood
Released
2012

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Out this week on BBC Radio Host Gilles Peterson's label Brownswood Recordings, Mala In Cuba combines traditional Cuban sounds with British dubstep's trademark darkness. The song "Mulata" begins a with a looped rhythm called Danzon set under a piano pattern called Guajeo. When the deep drum kick drops, Mala introduces frequencies found in dubstep: a low powerful bass kick, a sub-bass that ebbs and flows as the track goes on, and moody vocals. It's a challenging combination of cultures, rhythms and sounds unique to its producer, a man who has experience creating hybrid genres.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.