It's the time of the month where I write something for the405.com - this time, it's about UK Garage. Enjoy!
UK Garage was at its peak – in my very humble opinion – in 1999-2002 when I was just about to become a teenager. Compared to the Trance Nation CDs and hyper-manufactured pop I heard every day, it was several hundred thousand light-years away. It felt like hearing a part of the future. Completely dropped into the genre with no background knowledge whatsoever, I found myself lapping up anything with a garage break in it, headphones on at every opportunity, worshipping the Dreem Teem on Radio 1, falling for So Solid Crew’s wobble. There was no loyalties with me, no efforts to take up the more fashionable side – Aberdeen was so far away from the hub of Garage that I was rarely met by anybody who had even heard of it properly, let alone scoffed at my dubious Craig David-based choices. It was a totally happy and uninhibited time where every part of the scene was fair game, and it felt special because it felt important. It felt like the start of something.
Of course it wasn’t the start of something at all – UK Garage was in full swing by the time it had reached my unaccustomed ears in 1999. Artists like Grant Nelson had been manipulating house into garage since ‘94 and earlier; Todd Edwards had brought a new style in as early as 1995. Speed Garage might have been the order of the 90s, but as it became popular in its own right alongside jungle, the garage I knew and loved came into its own around the 1997 mark. What I had felt as a music epiphany was the result of years of evolution, from house and Speed Garage to the heavily dancefloor and 2-step influenced sound it became at the turn of the 21st century. By the time it had reached the frozen north (of Scotland) it was 1998, and MJ Cole had released what I still firmly to believe is one of the greatest UKG tracks of all time – Sincere. As I said, there’s no point scoring here. It’s highly likely you’ll disagree, if fact, I’d like it if you did. That’s how this becomes a conversation instead of me simply recalling things I once heard.