Six months ago, Phonon revealed “Polyriddim” to the world. It’s a weird f*ckin’ song, no two ways about it, but little did Phonon know that he was at the precipice of the future riddim movement. And now, following his world debut set on the Halcyon x Space Yacht stream this past weekend, it’s clear as day that this is the breath of fresh air that dubstep desperately needed.
I’ll be the first to say that dubstep is my favorite genre, or at least tied with drum & bass, but it has become wildly stale over the past couple years. And no, the “you’re just not looking hard enough!” argument doesn’t fly when I’m being sent dozens of pitches a day. Riddim is great and all, but the style has dried up and I can’t handle the same tracks with a different synth here and a modified bass there and an extra drum or two. It just doesn’t cut it anymore.
When I first heard “Polyriddim,” it was hard not to write it off as just a simple experiment in time signatures for dubstep. But looking back on it now, isn’t that what the beginning of all musical movements is? Experimentation?
Phonon’s debut set this past weekend is a beautiful cacophony of experimentation, blending his unique style of time signature manipulation, free form jazz, dubstep, chiptune, and more. It’s wonderful in its melodies, chaotic in its structure, and completely, utterly unpredictable. In spite of my 10 years of listening to dubstep, I can confidently I’ve never heard anything quite like this, even from visionaries like Swindle, Badklaat, JAKES, or even Plastician.
Over the course of 45 minutes of what feels like ADHD in motion, tempered by a minimal dose of Adderall, Phonon takes us on so many different roads, swerving and zigzagging between genres and tempos. It’s a terrifically resplendent chaos and if half of the DJs playing out the same tunes they’ve been rinsing over the past 5 years took a page out of Phonon’s book, the genre would be better off for it.