Thursday, November 22, 2007

Rip groove

Back in the last post we made reference to how the circle of musical life and regeneration is getting ever smaller. In the couple of days since, something has occurred to us that throws it into even sharper relief - UK garage is back. And not just because Craig David is giving interviews to whoever wants him to speak.

You remember UK garage. 2-step, as it became known - first there was speed garage, which was essentially speeded up house with time-stretched vocals, then sub-bass and the removal of two beats per bar made it 2-step, which became in its vocal R&B-mixed form the crossover hit of 1999-2000, which in turn went darker and deeper underground and re-emerged as grime.

And now? It's back from the northern clubs where it's been stewing these past few years. At number three in this week's midweeks is T2 feat Jodie's Heartbroken (and fans of absolute disgraces may like to note Micah Richards in the car at the start of the video), which sounds like Artful Dodger, and this is going to be far from the only hit with the broken beats and sped up house over the next year or so. It's apparently being called 'bassline' or 'niche' in the clubs, but we had these genre title debates years ago and frankly it's all the same thing at its core. And after that's been digested, go and listen to the boundary-crossing critical success of Burial's album Untrue, hailed as both the apotheosis and the transcendence of dubstep, but that drumbeat, that bassline, those varispeeded rave diva vocals... we know where that's actually come from.

While we're here, on a no less production-minded note but otherwise completely different, Song, By Toad has posted a fine piece about mixing levels that follows the similar piece the late Stylus magazine did a few years ago and makes what's happening clearer.

(* Can we point out Wiley's rhyming of 'garage' with 'garage' with 'garage' with 'garage'?)

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