Dubstep in Connecticut: DJ Slav
Welcome to our fourth “Dubstep in Connecticut” feature. This time we choose to cover DJ Slav who, despite my inclination for not getting out much, I have personally seen conquer dance floors and rearrange faces on more than one occasion. Spinning and producing professionally since 2007, Slav enjoys a lot of respect not just in our little state, but throughout New England. Having graced stages from Boston, to NYC, and everywhere in between, Slav is responsible for converting untold legions of ears to the broad spectrum of sounds that make up the region’s latest auditory fascination, electronic dance music. Still, it is unfair to brand this mix master and musician as purely concerned with dubstep; his expansive collection of music, his days’ worth of live sets, and his original creations all indicate that this is an artist whose influences are as diverse as his productions – though they are all driven by unforgiving amounts of bass.
Slav’s CT-central location in West Hartford allows for a lot of mobility, but he is just as comfortable with holding his own at home. Not only does DJ Slav join our boy DJ Bent as a choice resident at Shish Lounge, he is also a founding father of the venue’s weekly Hartford area institution, “Sub Sundays.” This weekly throw down is quite unique in our state as those who participate in it boldly attempt to give the audience an education on the larger world of edm. Slav and crew spin UK grime, dub, dnb, neuro, and every other bass heavy genre under the sun in an effort to expose the masses to new sounds and producers while maintaining the club atmosphere. DJ Slav is also a member of Dubbage, a crew of DJs, producers, and performance threats who are one of (if not the) definitive electronic artist collectives in Connecticut. You can catch the guys in Dubbage doing their thing every Sunday at Vegas Blvd in Hartford.
Let’s get into a couple of tunes. When it comes to dubstep, Slav has an arsenal at his disposal; he plays out everything from the wonky, to the subby, to electro-infused rug cutters. His personal productions, however, are more concerned with chill sounds and icy melodies. Included below are “Losing Gravity” and “Flares” that work so well back to back that they have to been placed that way on purpose. “Gravity” pits a thick bass line against a spacy melody. Tied together with atmospheric vocal sampling throughout, this tune inspires goosebumps. “Flares” picks up where the last song left off – in cold, dark space. A slightly broken drum beat carries this one from start to finish; in the second half, warm synths and echoing lead sounds paint a picture of sunrise as seen from orbit. Your next twelve and half minutes of listening are pure space odyssey.
Slav’s downtempo style and taste for funk make him particularly skillful at creating trip hop. Though modest on this front, his production is undoubtedly on point. Up first in our pair of chosen trip hop tunes to share is DJ Slav’s “Floater/Friction Mashup.” This one pairs a vocal track from “Friction” as produced by Russia’s DJ Vadim with a Slav original, “Floater.” This acapella meshes perfectly with this track, but Slav’s chilled space and plucky bass line are where the real money’s at. Directly after the mashup is my favorite Slav creation to date. “Changes” is truly unique. If one were to try and re-categorize this one, the only description that might fit is, “downtempo-orchestral-jungle.” The first half of this prolonged jam oozes ambiance and the added leads in the latter half allow “Changes” to toe the line at trip hop perfection.
Just to give you a better idea of the full range of Slav’s production skill, here’s some awesome drum and bass. Titled “Strict Diet” and covered by an image of a full moon, this one is an anthem for werewolves and vampires everywhere. That funky, plucky bass this time meets a liquid, rolling drum kit and more of the beautifully chilled out vibes that you should come to expect by now. It’s excessively easy to space out and lose yourself in this one, so take the opportunity to do just that.
If you’re curious to hear what else DJ Slav has to offer, or what his live sets will potentially sound like, go check out his various pages for more.