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.