Joker's Wild

Patrick Bowman

This past fall, 22-year-old Bristol native and UK dubstep alchemist Joker found himself traveling through most of Europe, the United States, Japan and Australia. For a guy who got his start at 16 owning the dance floors of post-industrial Britain and watched what was essentially a fervently regional musical genre become internationally recognized and culturally pervasive over the past four years (check the orgasmic, distorted breakdown in Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" for dubstep's current reach), a world tour can be as perplexing as it is fascinating.

"Touring is really amazing sometimes and really head scratchng other times," says Joker. "Depending where I am, I can play somewhere and be really hyped up and can't wait to get home to make new music... and then I can be somewhere and they really just don't understand me. I get lost." Known as the "king of bass music," Joker is currently readying his long-germinating debut album The Vision for an early November release. The LP is bristling with potential to become a major keystone in dubstep and grime's ongoing relationship with the pop charts, moving further away from his stridently under-ground 2007 breakthrough, the Kapsize EP, which "feels like 10,000 years ago," according to Joker.

By combining heady, jarring solo compositions -- "Tron" and "My Trance Girl" -- with slickly constructed, but substantive R&B and hip-hop collaborations -- "The Vision (Let Me Breathe") featuring Jessie Ware and "Slaughterhouse" featuring Silas -- The Vision is basically a master class for producers looking to effectively harness the elusive power of dubstep's intricate break beats and blown-out bass lines.

"I'm always working on some futuristic, next level, space goonage, sexy ghetto music," explains Joker, "The Vision is just me evolving into something new... and I'm still evolving."

The Vision is out now.

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