For a genre where a large part of its growth and fanbase are directly attributed to how massive the scene is online, it's amazing to think about the lack of quality music videos there are in dubstep (or all of EDM, for that matter). Maybe it's a money thing, or maybe the idea of translating a voiceless sound into a narrative visual piece can be daunting. That's not to say that there aren't dope music videos for the dubstep scene out there, but you'd think that more of them would involve either a sick visual component, or take it to the next level and develop some stories that mirror the track.
In our quest to find the best in the dubstep music video lot, we tried to satisfy all of those points. You shouldn't be surprised at the names includes, as either the biggest artists (Skream, Knife Party, Kill the Noise, Benga) are included, or the artists affiliated with big labels (Ram Records, Never Say Die, Dub Police) that are willing to put forth something different to help push their tracks. You've got everything from trippy, Illuminati-featured pieces to all-out depressed clown short films to young girls using mystical powers to torture their molesters.
Emalkay - "Crusader"
There's nothing we can point out about this video that makes it particularly special. The frantic pace of the visuals matches perfectly with the heavy bass though. We get a look into what seems to be a few nights on tour with Emalkay, one of the quieter figures in the game. The blurry peripheral forces us to focus on the jagged road lines. Red lights pop out of a black and white foundation. Pure energy.
Benga & Coki - "Night"
While dubstep has certainly played a critical role in the American EDM explosion, it originally began as a microscene with a sonic palatte far different than what dubstep encompasses today. While each of them in their own right have played a significant role in dubstep's growth, it was Benga & Coki's collaborative single, "Night," that took the burgeoning dubstep scene by storm and helped propell the new wonky bass-driven music into the UK mainstream. The video itself is rather barebones, but it fits with the track's aesthetic. Making it's way through an underwater abyss, a singular mutated cephalopod takes center stage as it lights up in rhythm to the track's bassline. The video's understated complexity is a perfect compliment to the track's foreboding tribal essence.
Kode 9 & Spaceape - "9 Samurai"
This is one of the first dubstep videos that stood out to us. An eerie tune matched by an eerie visual. A sanitary lab is used to make sound. Scientists are creating saw-shaped dub plates that literally makes their lab rats explode. Sound meters are peaking. Then the minds of humans are blown. Literally. The cuts aren't exactly on beat. The shots are meticulous. Everything about this video pulls you in. We don't remember a dubstep video that was any good before this one.
Skream - "Nefariousa"
You always hear about the "sad clown," but aside from random artist renderings, Homey D Clown, and that movie Shakes the Clown, you never see sad clown narratives quite like this. We're not sure which kid pissed in this clowns' cream pie, but he goes completely ape, tearing up his hotel room before completely renouncing his clownship. Not necessarily a clip that has a lot to do with the tune, but it's awesome.
Skrillex - "First Of The Year (Equinox)"
Unlike many other electronic artists, Skrillex has consistently put out music videos to his material. Of all of his accompanying videos, the feature put together for his single "First Of The Year (Equinox)" is by far the most standout. The track itself perfectly exemplifies Skrillex's signature mix of melody and monstrous bass, and the video certainly catches that with one attempted child stealing Jeffery Dahmer lookalike and one unsuspectingly powerful child sorcerer. This video, along with many of the others on this list, perfectly exemplify the syngeristic nature of visual art and electronic music. Without any clear message or narrative, much of electronic music invites open interpretation and these videos are the perfect avenue for that.
Swindle - "Moodswings"
As the video opens with a dizzying array of colors, the video warns the audience that the video may cause seizures before settling on a black background. After watching this video countless times, we can safely say that we've managed to avoid a seizure, but not some WHAT THE? Seriously, it's just weird and we're not sure what to make of the video except that we love it.
Cryptic Illuminati references, faces melting (literally), the cheshire cat, and a female superhero (okay that's not even weird, just awesome), and a whole lot of WTF make this video a surefire win. It might not have the linear storyline or the accessible nature of the others on this list, but that's the beauty of instrumental dubstep. Without any clear meaning and message, setting dubstep to the music video format is perfect for open interpretation.
Knife Party - "Centipede"
Pendulum off-shoot duo Knife Party has made it's name with some of the heaviest, craziest and most creative drops in dance music's recent history. "Centipede" was no exception and the video matched. Opening with a film noir-inspired interlude and title card, the video follows a man's crusade against a slimey infestation of cetipede. Knife Party labeled poison gas and zippo in hand, our hero takes a balls-to-the-wall approach and in order to squash these pests, but is he victorious?
Delta Heavy - "Get By"
UK drum & bass group Delta Heavy has made their mark with their own special brand of bass music, but for their single "Get By," they experimented with melodic dubstep and for that we're grateful because its beautiful video can be included on this list. The clip steps away from the normal live-action and towards stop-motion animation. This sort of technology has rarely been used for music videos with its rather expensive price tag and painstakingly detailed nature, but when done right, as Delta Heavy did here, it looks fantastic.
SKisM - "Experts"
Never Say Die Records founder SKisM has always been one of the most influential figures in bass music with his cutting edge sound design, brutal basslines and crazy live sets. Despite being lauded by his peers and fans, like many other DJs, he's fallen prey to the taunts of internet trolls filling up YouTube and SoundCloud alike. With the video for "Experts," SKisM makes light of these keyboard gangsters, shutting them up once and for all (well, you'll never really shut them up).
The video takes cues from sports broadcasting tenets with quick editing, close up shots, before throwing us right into the action. As the troll keeps going, slamming away at his keyboard ("this is DRUMstep, not DUBstep"), he gains in confidence before the drop comes, getting sucked with the massive bass into an alternate reality. Landing in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the troll is faced with dubstep heavyweights fighting to protect their honor. Skrillex, Zomboy, Eptic, and Excision (in his Rexcision form, of course) all make appearances, but ultimately fall prey to the troll's powers with SKisM coming in to save the day. Not only is the track gnarly, the video is pretty heavy and is definitely one of the most inspired, self-aware videos dubstep has seen yet.
Kill The Noise - "Kill The Noise Pt. 1"
Combining 1980's sci-fi B-movie themes with neon aesthetics, this music video is the perfect companion for Kill The Noise's cinematic yet face-melting banger. Plasma guns, shotguns, and keytars in hand, this short vignette depicts a group of young brave militia folk fighting back against the blood-thirsty deranged forces of he undead. As blood spatters across the screen in concert with the aggressive bassline stabs, the video evokes memories of highly stylized Tarantino films like Sin City and Death Proof. In a scene where music videos are often ignored, it's great to see that artistic visions such as this can still be realized.