Garage and bass 101, coming at you as a VIP triple threat...
'ukg' artwork

As singular forces of nature, DJ Q’s ‘Ineffable’ paraded a lot of classic garage styles with the all important singalong factor; Flava D’s fabric mix from last year took out a lot of suckers, and Royal T’s Rinse LP was described by Clash as “a barnstormer of the rough and ready”. As a bona fide garage dream team knowing every species of bass, t q d’s grimy, 2-step, 4/4 wheel-ups pack the versatility to send the stylish into a screwfaced slam and back round again. So on reputation alone, ‘ukg’ should knock out the frauds in a second.

The typically abrasive P Money finds the sweet spot of 4/4 free-for-all ‘Ghosts’ – pretty much out by itself as an Up Norf bassline slingshot – and ‘A Letter To EZ’ roughs up and makes bounce standard Todd Edwards tics and steps from US to UK. ‘Only One’, which featured on D’s fabric mix, and ‘Touch’, are t q d writing groove chronicles on the low and on the edge of post-dubstep; blasé sophistication with depth charge bass, capable of switching on those normally giving garage a swerve. The brick wall b-line is but one low end interchange, propelling into a wittering dervish on ‘Vibsing Ting’, and the 2-step selections treat Pure Garage and Pure Silk with holy reverence, with the brief, laidback ‘New Day’ particularly looking forward to boat parties and all dayers.

‘ukg’ is disappointingly short – easily accessible, but under 40 minutes long, including an intro (and not in the DJ EZ-style track-within-itself) and outro (an attempt at surround sound, Moschino-wallpapered chillout). Both want the album to become something of a complete experience, when there would have been no harm in putting on two extra floor fillers. ‘ukg’ was never going to be anything less than authentic garage in the hands of the gods, even if there’s a feeling that t q d aren’t really a case for three heads being better than one. Nonetheless, the triple-decker’s pull is a no-brainer, and theirs is an album full of summer big guns.

7/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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