By Jeremy Quintin
Elm Staff Writer
Before getting into this review, let’s talk about gender and Dubstep. Despite what looks like a predominantly male genre, there’s actually a large number of female artists who both DJ and produce Dubstep music. It’s just that that side of the community has remained largely unseen in the past couple years. The big names out there right now belong to males.
Now some people consider Mary Anne Hobbs’ Dubstep Warz DJ sessions as the tipping point for Dubstep into the mainstream world, but Hobbs herself remained low on the list of male names associated with the actual Dubstep tracks on her playlists. There have been a bunch of female artists who made popular Dubstep tracks, but they were popular within the underground audience that the genre had at the time.
Dubstep has gone through some major face lifting, and by the luck of the draw, most of the producers now associated with that dirty, grimy bass wobble characterizing most modern Dubstep happen to be male.
That was just an interesting bit of history about Dubstep, and really it doesn’t matter because gender has nothing to do with the quality of music. If you think it does, then you’re a fool.
However, it’s also interesting because I recently came across a fantastic album put together by a male and female team of musicians in my never-ending quest to peruse the underbelly of the Electronic music world for great and underappreciated artists.
“Reset” is the latest EP by X Sentinel, which also contains three tracks featuring the prominent artist Girlstep. She’s a female, in case that name didn’t hit you over the head hard enough, and unlike most of the other female musicians I know, she’s producing heavy hitters as massive as what Flux Pavilion and Nero are known for.
I’m going to lay my cards on the table. This album is awesome. Both X Sentinel and Girlstep have original and stunning styles that adhere to the demand for heavy bass lines while maintaining a creativity helping them rise above the rest. X Sentinel has a great understanding of melody, and Girlstep’s use of crazy low and high tone sounds bring a sense of controlled chaos to the final mix. Placing them together then is like a polar bear and a shark high fiving two slices of bread into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich of win.
So what is “Reset” about? Video games, or at least that’s what I think. Right on the album art, you’re asked “Reset?” with the choice: yes or no. After hearing the album the first time, I found myself selecting yes over and over again. Also, the biggest track on the album is called “Game Over”, and it hits big. Every time I hear the lead synthesizer, I feel as though I’m trapped playing games on The Grid. X Sentinel is also known for making Hardstyle Dance music, which you can hear come through in the upbeat four to the floor rhythm of Awaken.
Of course not everything about this album is perfect. “Make Me Anime”, for example, sounds nice up until the drop hits, which sound as though a second track was roughly tacked on in haste to finish. A couple of the tracks also seem to end without a cool down or any conclusion, leaving the listener hanging on the final note. This works well for a live mix, when one track bleeds into the next, but on an album it doesn’t come across so well.
Still, this remains an awesome album due to everything it gets right. If you like EDM at all, I wholeheartedly recommend getting yourself a copy of this album right away. Also, go support X Sentinel and Girlstep. Now that we can see a female artist making a splash in the genre, it’s time to show her off to the masses.