Top 10: UK Garage

Top Ten Intro

I’ve been religiously into music since I was about 14 years old. Over the years my music collection and knowledge has grown massively, each new genre marked a poignant moment in my life, developing a passion for discovering new sounds. I like to think that it’s my personal obsession, almost an addiction. I think if I didn’t have music in my day to day, that life wouldn’t seem as bright.

After working on Zone Focus for about two years, the brand has expanded from the Facebook site to Soundcloud and Youtube, where music projects have been developed through these outlets. So over the past 6 months I have been working on compiling tracks in a playlist based on Genre for the purpose of personal research and for presentation through ZF. The first of these I bring to you is UK Garage.

UKG Background

UK Garage (also known as UKG) covers a wide spectrum of different sounds, subsumed into other into other styles such as 2-step, Dubstep, Bassline and Grime. Popular during the early 1990’s, UKG defined a generation of young ravers, who wore the latest fashion labels and danced into the early hours. This inclusive culture originated from London (assisted by high-rise pirate radio stations ) and spread across the globe, it truly was a electronic dance music phenomena.

I have selected some of my favourites; from my early beginnings as a music enthusiast to my personal selects from DJ sets. If you would like to learn more about UK Garage I would recommend the documentary below.

Brandy & Coke Documentary

Enjoy the sounds – ZF

1. Wideboys ft Dennis G –  ‘Sambuca’

I know, a pretty typical choice, right? Well this was one of the first UKG tracks I ever listened to. It was off a Super Super magazine CD compilation I got from the clothes show at Birmingham NEC. I wouldn’t say that I fell in love with genre straight away, but about 5 years later this became my go to ‘crowd pleaser’ in my sets, played after a spin back on Re-rewind – Craig David ft Artful Dodger, always worked a treat.

2. Ms Dynamite – ‘Neva Soft’ (The Mike Delinquent Project remix)

A cold winter afternoon in Manchester around 2011. I was sat in the back of my friend’s old hatchback and her mate, a DJ and producer, had brought a CD along of his new downloads. He played the above; this was the point that I fell in love with garage. From the 2-step structure to the sampled vocals, I loved every part of it. It soon became one of my most played out tracks, I rinsed this song at student house parties and club gigs alike.

3. Mosca – ‘Bax’

For a few years my collection of Garage tracks grew slowly, but occasionally I would find an absolute gem. ‘Bax’ was one of those chance happenings where your flitting through albums (this one being ‘The sound of Dubstep 4’ by Ministry of Sound) and you just discover a perfect track. I’ve always thought why Mosca didn’t continue making Garage tracks, as this is the only one from his discography, but I suppose one spectacular quality production in one particular genre is better than lots of mediocre ones.

4. Fabienne – ‘Taxi’ (Preditah Remix)

This one came directly from the Mixmag exclusive downloads page around 2012. I’ve continued to play this track out, as a perfect example of that “nu-school garage” sound that started to develop and come through around that time. Preditah along with many others from the UK brought garage back into the underground limelight, not back into the mainstream like the House resurgence, but in retrospect I think thats a good thing.

5. Daniel Bedingfield – ‘Gotta Get Thru This’

I couldn’t not pay homage to the original mainstream garage record. I must have heard this track a thousand times (it was tipped to be UK Christmas No.1 in 2001) but strangely only re-discovered it whilst watching Phone Shop (skuffins anyone?) some 11 years later. This track was produced in Bedingfield’s bedroom, eleased on a white label, then picked up by  a major label, turning a unknown into a household name overnight, amazing if you think about it. Shame everything he’s produced since is pure shite.

6. Jean Jacques Smoothie – 2 People (Royal-T Remix)

Over a period of two years from 2014 I started to work more on a commercial basis, usually playing warm up for different clubs in the north of England. With this, I had to start taking a more chilled approach to sets, so I started look at the new artists of Garage to fulfil this need. It was around this time I discovered Southhampton DJ, Royal-T. This remix was one of the first tracks I used to start with each Saturday night and ever so smoothly mixed into Drake – From Time (DJ Q Edit). Chilled perfection if I do say so myself.

7. Tina Moore – Never Gonna Let You Go (Artful Dodger Mix)

While in a continued search for new music I find that in order to know a genre properly its best to look at it’s roots. Artful Dodger is widely considered to be one of the founding fathers of UKG, his soulful approach to the genre makes his tracks perfect for any party. This particular remix of Tina Moore is brilliant example of that and one of my personal favourite old school garage classics. One day i’ll own this on vinyl for absolute certain.

8. City High – What Would You Do (Knightley Remix)

I have to give credit to one of my friends for this one, Luke H. He was one of people that got me into the Garage genre (mainly by requesting it at every house party I played during university, for which I’m now thankful he did!). I seem to remember he was singing this track to himself as I met him and friends on one summer afternoon for football and cider (classy I know). A fantastic vocal remix on a RnB classic for sure.

9. DJ Pied Piper & The MC’s – Do You Really Like It

Now this one takes me way way back. I can remember hearing this at my aunty’s wedding when I was about ten and seem to also remember that my cousins and I trying to rap along to it horribly (we didn’t know the words). After that I used to then play it on my sony walkman cd player on the ‘Now Thats What I Call Music 49 Album’ that I nicked from my Dad. Now if thats not pure nostalgia for you I don’t know what is.

10. MJ Cole – Sincere (Dubb 2000 Mix)

Last but not at all least is this absolute gem. When Zone Focus began I held two club events under the name of Privé [pree-vay]. The tagline was; “A free private party organised by local musical talent for the enjoyment of ravers”. It was the second one in particular that I musically advanced in, as I played out my first full garage set. I found this track three days before the event, and became my opening track mixing it into Dj Luck & Mc Neat – With A Little Bit Of Luck. As DJs would say; It went off.

That concludes the first Top 10 article, Thanks for reading!
If we’ve spiked your interest for UK Garage, take a look at our playlist below – ZF

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