Available on: Keysound 12″
‘Roll’ (Blackdown’s A Debt Repaid remix)
From Glasgow to Brighton, from grannies to The Guardian, everyone seems to be banging on about (and, er, coming up with new names for) this current breed of contemporary dance music in the UK. So it’s no surprise to see two of the architects of one of the genres that preceded this scene – garage – re-emerge to show the youth how they still roll [yes yes, very good – Ed].
In truth, Zed Bias never really disappeared – one of the seminal UK garage producers, his work as both Bias and Maddslinky was a lasting influence on several artists who would go on to break new ground themselves (most notably, Skream) and he still makes a healthy living in the middle ground between the spheres of UK garage and dubstep. Steve Gurley, on the other hand, is a less exposed figure but one who arguably wields as much influence. A member of Moving Shadow act Foul Play, he turned to UK garage in the mid-’90s, releasing a slew of classics that would have inspired Bias as much as they did younger artists.
So a collaboration between the pair is something to get wet about, and the result of their clash in the production ring doesn’t disappoint. UK Funky on the surface, ‘Roll”s serpentine bassline slithers and coils with the sort of expert precision that only experience can bring, trembling at times with a robotic sense of fear, while a mechanical “this is how we roll” sample sounds straight from Blade Runner‘s cutting room floor. Perhaps even better though is Blackdown’s “a debt repaid” remix, which adds extra weight to the original by draping it in a cloak of pure nocturnal dread. Bias and Gurley might be old dogs now, but they haven’t run out of tricks yet.