Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that has its roots in London's early 2000s UK garage scene. Musically, dubstep is distinguished by its 2-step rhythm, or use of snare sounds similar to 2-step garage and grime, and an emphasis on bass, often producing "dark" sounds, but just as frequently producing sounds reminiscent of dub reggae or funky US garage. Dubstep tracks are generally produced at a tempo of around 140 beats per minute and in recent years have developed signature half time rhythms, often heavily shuffled or syncopated, and usually, though not exclusively, including only one snare drum hit per bar, often on the third beat. Such factors make dubstep rhythms markedly different from four-to-the-floor rhythms used in other styles of electronic dance music such as house music, which usually have two snare hits accompanying the second and fourth kick drum. Often, the sense of rhythm in dubstep is propelled more by the bassline than by the percussive content.
The earliest dubstep releases, which date back to 1999, were darker, more experimental, instrumental dub remixes of 2-step garage tracks attempting to incorporate the funky elements of breakbeat, or the dark elements of drum and bass into 2-step, which featured as B-sides of single releases. In 2001, this and other strains of dark garage music began to be showcased and promoted at London's club night Forward>>, which went on to be considerably influential to the development of dubstep. The term "dubstep" in reference to a genre of music began to be used by around 2002, by which time stylistic trends used in creating these remixes started to become more noticeable and distinct from 2-step and grime.
A very early supporter of the sound was BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who started playing it from 2003 onwards. In 2004, the last year of his show, he put Distance, Digital Mystikz and Plasticman in his top 50 for the year. Dubstep started to spread beyond small local scenes in late 2005 and early 2006; many websites devoted to the genre appeared on the internet and thus aided the growth of the scene, such as dubstepforum, the download site Barefiles and blogs such as gutterbreakz. Simultaneously, the genre was receiving extensive coverage in music magazines such as The Wire and online publications such as Pitchfork Media, with a regular feature entitled The Month In: Grime/Dubstep. Interest in dubstep grew significantly after BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs started championing the genre, beginning with a show devoted to it (entitled "Dubstep Warz") in January 2006.
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