Dubplate culture is still thriving—if you know where to look. In our latest film, we visit a South London community keeping a dance music tradition alive. In 2019, the vinyl versus digital debate, once a seemingly permanent fixture of dance music, has largely fallen by the wayside. Digital DJing is the status quo. Vinyl DJing is unusual enough that even top-tier clubs and festivals can't always be bothered to have working Technics. Nonetheless, in some corners of contemporary clubland, a small but dedicated crowd clings onto a particularly rarified part of vinyl culture: dubplates. Born in the era of Jamaican soundclashes and enduring through that movement's UK club mutations—jungle, garage, dubstep—dubplates embody a bygone era of DJing, when certain sought after tracks would exist only on a handful of records, sometimes in the months before a wider release, sometimes forever. The result is that, for all but the few DJs who had copies, they were impossible to hear anywhere other than the parties where they were played. In Cutting It, we take a fresh look at dubplates, and see how a small number of artists, promoters and DIY vinyl cutters have given them a new lease of life.
Real Scenes: London
London is home to the world's biggest and most diverse dance music scene. Each weekend, it vibrates to the sound of every imaginable style of club music. It's a scene shaped by immigration and the hard knocks of city life, both of which fuelled the incredible feats of creativity that led to jungle, garage, grime, dubstep and UK funky. London is rightly known as a capital of sonic innovation. London may be one of dance music's most important cities, but it's also one of its most troubled. It has reached a defining moment for nightlife culture. From club closures, to widespread police pressure on venues, to the looming threats of gentrification and Brexit, dance music in London has often felt under siege. In Real Scenes: London, we meet the artists, promoters and venue owners who have confronted these challenges head on. It's never been easy here, but an undercurrent of radio, DIY venues, new music and emerging talent still finds a way to survive and thrive—at least for now.
The eyes of the world have turned to the UK in recent years and have found some of the most exciting, genre-defying young artists to emerge from electronic music. But while London's scene can be fractious and hard to pin down, there seems to be something in the air in Bristol that unites its participants. Whether they're creating dubstep, house, techno or something else entirely, the cross-pollination in Bristol is unique. In RA's first official entry into video, we journey to Bristol to explore how the city has flourished in recent years, discovering why this small metropolis is one of the most influential electronic music outposts in the world today.