That’s where UK garage comes in; its power lies in its versatility. It’s a genre for all occasions. This revelation has been building within me for a while, spurred on by a few key experiences. One was seeing Pearson Sound mix ‘XLB’ into Jeremy Sylvester’s rocket-charged speed garage cut ‘Watch Ya Bass Bins’ at The Cellar in Oxford last year. The former stood out among the most explosive club cuts of 2016, with its manic, spring-heeled electronics, yet the reaction for the latter track was just as strong, provoking screwface fist pumps and the packed out, sunken dancefloor to take on the consistency of a whirlpool.
A 1997 garage record matching a ferocious techno track in the prime of its impact for head-spinning floor effect shows that speed end of the spectrum has got that need for more untamed sounds on lock. On a similar tip, seeing Evan Baggs DJ in London last month underscored this. As the early hours drew in, he rotated through an arsenal of dark and murky garage selections that drew the kind of rising whoops you hear directed at monotonous beats in European techno clubs.
The following day it was beautiful outside with the sun shining. I needed some music to accompany my ascent out of post-club funk, but I didn’t turn to the smooth sounds of Frankie Knuckles or Jack J, instead choosing the sweet bliss of Sunship and Dem 2 for an instant mood shot of pure, unadulterated joy. House, techno, who needs them? UK garage, the best genre ever, has all bases covered.
[Photo: Ewen Spencer's 'UKG']
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Staff Writer, and is preparing to two-step past the haters, follow him on Twitter