This blog was written for primeloops.com – check them out for some ace samples and to see my blogs 2 months earlier!
Being from England has a lot of bad points – Rubbish weather, dodgy chip shops and if you move more than 30 minutes in any direction you’ll struggle to understand the accent that you find there… but there are some good points about it too.
England is a veritable breeding ground for new electronic music genres. Let’s flick back through the pages of time and see what England has provided us…
The Rave Scene
The UK Rave scene brought many genres of music into the eye of the mainstream – parties involving lights, liquor and lots of illicit substances helped people to appreciate the more repetitive styles that much more.
A perfect example – Acid House technically started out in Chicago, but it died out quickly – Britain was the country that picked it up, dusted it off and spun it at the rave parties that brought it back. It is a harder sound than conventional house music – with the Roland TB-303 synth/sequencer being a massive stereotypical part of the acid style. The parties that hosted this kind of music had to eventually move, as after-hours clubbing became illegal in Britain, to warehouses and abandoned buildings as illegal raves were the only place people could get their fix of intense clubbing.
Drum and Bass / Jungle
Out of Acid House sprang Jungle music – where British producers decided to speed up the popular and sampled-to-death amen break up to about 160bpm and put some squelchy basslines over the top. Once again, this genre was popularised as a result of rave parties that craved a change from the 4-on-the-floor beats saturating their dance floors.
Make sure you’re pronouncing it right – “Gar-idj” not “Gar-ahj” – this is from Landan, mate! UK Garage is the term which describes a lot of styles, such as 2-step, a more hip hoppy take on the popular electronic music of the early 90s. Generally it’s a minimalistic syncopated, funky drumbeat interspersed with MCs sporting a heavy London accent. Another one is “Speed Garage” – a faster take on the genre, often with syncopated basslines and sped up vocals, often with the pitch increased as a result.
The evolution of UK Garage; seriously dirty hip hop with the occasional drum and bass influence and a massive focus on sub-bass and sampled strings. Mostly known for its London-accented rap and slang, with artists such as Dizzee Rascial bringing it into the mainstream.
The latest popular offering from the British Isles, out of people tired of the speed of Drum and Bass sprang Dubstep – wobbly basslines pump over off-beat, half time drum loops. A generally dark feel surrounds the majority of the genre, though some proponents of the style such as Rusko push a more club-friendly fun, bouncy version of the style, while still keeping the dirty roots of the style in there.