Published Mar 19, 2020As a genre that emerged in England more than 20 years ago, UK garage never really got its due this side of the pond — despite having ties to jungle and drum&bass, which Toronto's scene became a mecca for in the late '90s. As a vinyl-only release of 300 copies, DJ Swagger's Bassline Funkyshit won't change that. But the German producer makes as good a case for UKG's staying power than anyone else right now (not that the list is that long).
Technically comprised of five tracks, the record really plays out like two songs, with each side's offerings blending together. The three tunes on the A side reflect UKG's poppier side — pitched-up R&B vocals, minor chords and the jittery two-step beat that, along with the fluttery sub-bass, sets the genre apart from standard house music. The flip foreshadows the dubstep that was to evolve from UKG: the beats are harder and the bass is louder, but, unfortunately, the hooks are absent.
And that's the thing with classic UKG — there were uncompromising crossover hits, such as Zed Bias's "Neighbourhood" and Scott Garcia's "A London Thing." Bassline Funkyshit lacks those hooks and that appeal, suggesting time might be better spent searching out all the original stuff before topping up the collection with this faithful reproduction. (Thirty Year)