IT’S A 4 BY 4 THING, NOT A 212 THING!
Azealia Banks released her debut Witch hop mixtape, Fantasea, earlier this month claiming that it had been created by ‘accident’ and the sounds were ‘progressive’ and put together by ‘close friends’. But whilst Fantasea has managed to bash, barge and stomp onto every dancefloor on the globe with it’s rawkus Witch hop beats, hidden behind the Brooklyn born lady’s New York twang lay a group of British friends, or music producers, who have slowly been re-defining, the genre of 808 Playstation produced music with their 8-bit, 2-step drum based beats.
Although the opening track, Out of Space, is a clear rip from British dance connoisseurs Prodigy, the more drum heavy production that we have come to expect from rap music’s freestyling queen, and one that is gaining huge amounts of airplay, is Liquorice. But casting aside Banks and her flow, this almost ravey, hardcore beat was originally heard on Matt cutler, aka, Lone’s LP Pineapple Crush.
The first LP to be released on Lone’s own label, Magic Wire, in August 2010, Crush hinted towards the House/Rave scene witnessed throughout Britain in the early 90’s, and it is this nostalgic nod to early musical genres which have seen the music industry in recent months saturated with Djs and producers looking back, rather than forward, when trying to create future underground sounds.
Lone is not the only one to produce such grooves. Fellow Fantasea collaborators Machinedrum, a New Yorkan, Hudson Mohawke, a Scot and ikonika, a Brit, have also had their part to play in relinquishing four on the floor, 2step back into the world’s dancehalls. But whist the world is slowly becoming educated in 2-step Garage, the Brits have been blaring it out of their stereos, through pirate radio stations, for well over 20 years.
But whereas in the past the more commercial sounds of 2-step featured UK artists such as Craig David and Robbie Craig with a heavy vocal input, the recent forms of the classic Garage vibes have cast aside the need for commercial acceptance and focused, almost, solely on the beat production as its selling point, something that is defiantly working for a number of them.
Take for example the recent success of dance act duo Disclosure. The south London brothers have managed to re-incarnate the bouncy garage vibe that any 20-something year old, famous garage event Twice as Nice partygoer or the sunny House and Garage island of Ayia Napa holiday-er, would appreciate.
One of their first releases, My Intention is War, was touted as the long awaited return of 4/4 2-step Garage, and had fellow DJ’s purring what might follow. BBC’s Pete Tong, Zane Lowe and Annie Mac have all handed the lads their first airplays and the release of their Face EP, which hit the BBC B playlist this week, shows that the sound, which was once strictly pirate material, is now taking over the airwaves once again.
- Drew Davies