Brighton clubbing institution Patterns pay homage to perhaps the most important genre to emerge in UK dance music, launching “The New Sounds Of UKG” Series with Mind Of A Dragon.
To bring in the night, itself, a brief history of one the nation’s most celebrated music genres and cultures…
By Marko Marincic
UK Garage, alongside Punk, Jungle and apologising, is one of the most viscerally British art-forms you can find in the modern musical climate. Influenced, of course, by the House explosion over in the US (as well as the subsequent rise in the 90s and 00s R&B) this strain of UK underground music forced through its own entirely unique sonic identity at the turning of the century. Producers and DJs such as MJ Cole, DJ EZ, Matt Jam Lamont and Zed Bias (to name but a few) experimented, chopped and changed with the American blueprint, in the process stumbling across something completely new.
From sped and beefed up 4×4 US House jams all the way through to the iconic 2-step rhythm and beyond; UKG proceeded to conquer not only the underground but the commercial world of pop music as well. Moreover, it quickly became about more than simply the sound. Garage was a proper full-fledged movement in the same way as Punk was. It influenced everything from fashion to drinking habits, even to the way you spit bars into your mate’s ear on the dance floor. For a while what it meant to be a young Brit, especially in London, was encapsulated in the world of UK Garage.
Yet times change and so does music. Alongside the closure of clubs and an ever-increasing period of gentrification, Garage, like the times, got darker and grittier. The world was changing, people were getting older and the idyllic days of nights such as Pure Silk were beginning to end. But it’s not all bad – if it wasn’t for UKG we arguably wouldn’t have Dubstep, Grime, Bassline or UK Funky.
It spawned a multitude of genres that dominate the dance music scene today and will do for years to come. Even more importantly it brought the masses a sound that until then had remained mostly in the clubs – it’s hard to imagine your nan dressed head to toe in Moschino out raving somewhere in Greenwich, but at home listening to Craig David on Radio 1? Different story entirely.
Obviously, it would be wrong to say UK Garage died out, however it did experience a lull in popularity towards the end of the 00s. In recent times though the fire has well and truly been reignited, a new generation of producers who grew up as children listening to the sound in its heyday have been proudly waving the flag for a few years now.
Conducta – a man widely acknowledged as the “Prince of UKG” – recently took over Keep Hush for a celebration of contemporary Garage and the vibes were extraordinary. He was joined by Sharda (alias of Murlo), Jack Junior, Sammy Virji and Mind Of A Dragon – the latter artist a particularly eye-catching addition and one who has gradually solidified himself at the pinnacle of this new school of UK Garage.
West London native Mind Of A Dragon (or MOAD for short) has been plying his trade for a number of years now, consistently championing an authentic yet reinvigorated UKG sound that harks back to the old days whilst keeping one foot solidly in the present moment. His versatility sets him apart from many of his peers; from 4×4 to 2-step, melodic to dark and gritty – the man can do it all.
And it’s not just his productions that deserve acclaim, you can tell MOAD was born and bred on the genre, his DJing style and technique is impeccable. One listen to his Pack London mix confirms this; expert selection, expert chops, expert FX manipulation… it’s all there.
Foundations welcome Mind Of A Dragon in the first instalment of their New Sound of UKG series, a run of events celebrating the resurgence of the genre by inviting some of the leading lights of the new school for a good old fashioned knees-up. Who better to bring down for the first one than MOAD?
His sets are a rarity on the Brightonian coast and there is absolutely no question that he will have you vibing all night long in the way only UKG can make you do. Rinse FM’s Dappa joins him, as well as upcoming Brighton natives Movement and Bklava. £3 tickets are available here, we’ll see you front left.