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DJ Q – All-Junglist EP review

Since its inception last March, London based Unknown To The Unknown, run by Hot City’s DJ Haus, have been surprising all with their eclectic approach to curation, with releases from a former DFA and Soul Jazz alumnus (Capracara), a juke inspired former RBMA graduate (Nightwave), one of Chicago-house’s veterans (Marcus Mixx) and the one and only DJ Stingray. Now the label has another surprising addition to its roster: Radio 1 Xtra’s DJ Q, someone who has been producing garage tracks since long before its supposed revival.

As one half of the garage-loving Hot City, it makes sense for DJ Haus to be releasing DJ Q’s All Junglist on his label – in fact it’s almost surprising something like this hasn’t happened before. Initially characterized by drum programming that is, well, junglist, the track is interjected with a beat that is less broken, and more split in half, ripped apart with a tidal wave of woozy bassline action. Combined with the tropical synth melody and hardcore referencing piano you’ve got a track that is classicist yet very much in keeping with the label’s technicolour focus. It’s joined by “Will I Ever Be Free”, which is marked out by a slightly housier touch thanks to a deep string melody that adds a rich contrast to the swooping low end and crunchy snares. It’s a curious mix of bassline garage and Detroit moods, and one that works surprisingly well.

In a landscape increasingly dominated by the broad term “bass”, it’s refreshing to see UTTU release something so genre specific that puts most of the current wave of so-called garage producers to shame. And with DJ Q about to drop another release via on-point label Local Action, it seems like DJ Haus isn’t the only one keen to put real garage and bassline back in the spotlight.

Scott Wilson