Words: James Keith
Photography: David Levene

Hyperdub founder and boss Kode9 first made the move to South London from his hometown of Glasgow back in 2000. That move could not have been better timed, putting him in the perfect position to lead the vanguard of the dubstep explosion. Whether collaborating with his close friend and creative partner, the late Stephen “The Spaceape” Gordon, or producing music solo, Kode9’s output throughout the 2000s defined dubstep, laying the blueprint for cavernous open spaces, jazzy arrangements and the kind of spine-tingling, dubby basslines that would make Lee “Scratch” Perry proud. Through Hyperdub, Kode9 expanded that approach into the producers he’s supported and released. All of Burial’s material comes via the label. DJ Rashad, Cooly G, Terror Danjah, LV, Ikonika, Zomby, King Midas Sound (The Bug’s project with Roger Robinson and Kiki Hitomi), Mark Pritchard, Scratcha DVA, Fatima Al-Qadiri, and Dean Blunt’s Babyfather and Hype Williams projects have all released records on Hyperdub, as has Kode9 himself, of course.

Kode9 has always been revered in the scene by both artists and fans alike, not just for his talent as a musician and a producer, but also because of the incredibly fruitful relationships he cultivates with other artists. Chief among those is his friendship with The Spaceape. Together they put out two albums—2006’s Memories Of Future and 2010’s Black Sun—and a slew of groundbreaking singles. Sadly, after battling a rare form of cancer, The Spaceape passed away in 2014. The late emcee was widely credited with defining the vocal dimension of the first wave of dubstep.

A year after Gordon’s passing, Kode9 dropped his 2015 album Nothing. By this point, the producer’s palette had stretched far beyond the confines of dubstep and bass music, experimenting in footwork, jungle, ambient, techno and plenty more besides. In some respects, Nothing was a bit of a departure in sound, but it didn’t draw a line beneath what came before, instead building on those foundations with a melody of influences. Now, in 2019, Kode9 has been a little quiet. Besides the four-track remix compilation Kode 9 Diggin’ In The Carts (which saw him remix tracks from Japanese artists Soshi Hosoi, Koichi Ishibashi, Yuzo Koshiro and Tadahiro Nitta), we haven’t heard too much from him. Granted, he’s been touring most of the world for some time now (including a recent appearance at Block9’s Glastonbury outpost), but we can’t help but feel a new album is long overdue. We can only hope.

Here are 20 reasons to love Kode9.

Posted on July 04, 2019