UK Garage. In all honesty this was a genre which I had serious doubts about in terms of it's quality and credibility, believing that artists such as the laughable So Solid and The Artful Dodger were all this movement in bass music had to offer. How wrong and ignorant I was. Over the past few months I started to hear the occasional track in a mix which would stand out, containing a syncopated 4x4 rhythm with beat-skipping kick drums and wonderful shuffling hi-hats. This rhythm was perfect, and placed in tandem with the beautifully sampled vocals and harmonious features, this was a genre which I was born to listen to.
Since listening to a couple of sets by Falty DL, Deadboy and Joy Orbison over the past few months I have endeavoured to discover this style of music, which is far too time consuming for my liking with the majority of the tracks being released between the years of 95-98, and the majority of which are nearly impossible to find in MP3 format (and ridiculously expensive on 12"). I have managed to find a few lovely tracks though, most notably by artists such as R.I.P. Productions, Groove Chronicles, Nu-Birth, Todd Edwards, Smokin Beats and Zed Bias. You can listen to my favourite track to date from the genre in the video above. The shuffled stepping rhythm, diva cries of 'Oh baby, useless baby' and deep bass which is complemented brilliantly by the beautifully harmonious chords which filter their way into the track after the 1:20 mark. I guess I should have been born in a different era, although I wouldn't change the current climate of music which is nurturing innovative artists such as Joy Orbison, Mount Kimbie, James Blake et al.
I really hope we'll see a resurgence of this exact style in UK bass music in the near future, and if Falty DL's new 'Phreqaflex' EP, released tomorrow, is anything to go by, we'll be hearing fresh new garage sounds very soon. I'll be writing on this new EP over the next couple of days.