A new classic for you all today, from arguably the best garage production team in history, Groove Chronicles. Lewis Beadle (El-B) and Steven Jude (Noodles) really shook up a UK garage scene that had stagnated, and this release could be seen as one of their most significant.
Groove Chronicles - 1999 (DPR)
Towards the end of the 90's/early 00's, chart garage had 'taken over' and some producers and fans favoured a return to the underground, away from all the champagne drinkers and coke users that the media had come to associate with UKG, and where dress codes didn't matter as long as the music was good. For me, this release was a big turning point, one of the first 'dark garage' releases that wasn't as female friendly as the stuff that was played on the radio at the time. Deep, dark bass was accompanied by sparse vocal samples, and the skippy, swung drums that Groove Chronicles did better than anyone else.
Groove Chronicles - Black Puppet (DPR)
More of the same on the other side, a light, upbeat intro gives way to dark, wobbling bass on the cue of 'Watch this....', that repeats throughout the track, bringing serious sub that would go onto be a trademark of the dubstep scene.
It would be hard to say that this was the 'first' dubstep track, but it certainly paved the way for it. Producers like Steve Gurley, Zed Bias, Horsepower, Artwork and of course, El-B himself carried this wave of 'dark garage' forwards, pushing the sound forward and bringing the bass lower, and in turn, influencing producers to this very day. Without releases like 1999/Black Puppet, would Dubstep and even Grime have taken off in the way it has? Skream and Benga's time with Artwork is well documented, and although their sounds as Magnetic Man might sound drastically different from their really early work, there are still those out there that long for this 'roots' sound. This is a track that's influence extended well beyond the UKG scene, to influence scenes that hadn't even been thought of yet! A true example of a timeless classic.