Oris Jay vs J Da Flex - Future Garage/J Da Flex - 1 Xtra Anniversary Mix

Two interesting snapshot from 2003 of the then-nascent dubstep genre. The music was quite different from today's dubstep: there's no halfstep beats and none of the rhythmic sparseness, instead the music is still pretty strongly indebted to the dark garage it evolved out of. It's an intriguing blend actually, the bass-heavy minimalism and sinister ganja vibes combined with bustling and rattling percussion, harsh but often still quite slinky and 2step garage-y.

Future Garage by J Da Flex and Oris Jay was a covermount cd from the now defunct Sleazenation and it's a pretty great mix, especially the first half with Menta's remix of the Jammin' tune Tonka and Darqwan's (aka Oris Jay) delirious opium den fantasy Pipe Dreams. The whole mix is one single track, so here's the tracklist for you.

The second upload is a mix cd that dubstep don J Da Flex did for the first anniversary of BBC's damn fine urban music programme 1Xtra. It came free with the sadly departed Deuce Magazine which used to be my most important source of information on the whole UK garage thing and its various sub-genres, off-shots and mutations. Minimialist, dark, bass-heavy, yet still retaining something of a swinging groove (albeit in a pretty twisted way), this mix contains some fine tunes by heavyweights of the scene like Benga, Dub Child, Plasticman, Mark One and, of course, the man himself (see the tracklist here).

Future Garage

1Xtra Anniversary Mix


Sleeparchive live at Flex, Vienna

(Click on the picture to download.)

Since debuting with 2004's Elephant Island EP, Berlin based producer Roger Semsroth is responsible for some of the most impressive and amazingly unique minimal techno in recent years. Full of haunting echoes, crackles and bleeps, with austere and sparse rhythms and a crystal-clear and pristine overall construction, this is awesome stuff, even if you're not that much into techno!

This live-set at Vienna's Flex Club in January 2006 is a soundboard recording and boasts excellent sound quality.


Renegade Dhols: A Square Dancing UK Bhangra Compilation

(Click on the picture to download.)

Fusing the rich musical heritage of the Indian-Pakistani border region Punjab with elements of hiphop, dancehal
l reggae, UK garage, house and r&b, you'd think that UK Bhangra has to be the greatest music genre ever, at least in theory. In practice this turns out to be only partially true. The main reason being that there's an awful lot of tunes that are pretty generic in terms of rhythm and often actually far behind the standards of the genre the producers draw on. But then again, it seems that on just about every UK Bhangra compilation or artist album you will find at least three or four real killers. I generally prefer my UK Bhangra to be quite close rhythmically to traditional Bhangra, so on those 21 tracks you'll get plenty of awesome, hypnotical polyrhythms, mostly played on dhol drums, tablas and the high-pitched one-stringed ektara.

For this compilation I put together the absolute highlights of a bunch of cds I got from a local Pakistani grocery store about two years ago, namely Urban Flavas 1 & 2, UK Bhangra Vol. 11 & 12, Street Beats and the bootleg compilation Gangster Bhangra. Unfortunately it seems like all the Indian and Pakistani stores in Vienna stopped selling UK Bhangra cds, which virtually cut off my supply of Punjabi wickedness since it seems quite hard to find the stuff on the net. By the way, from what I've read it seems that even in the UK Bhangra cds hardly ever to be found at record shops, but rather get sold at British Asian grocery stores and supermarkets. Another thing that I found fascinating was the fact that not a one of the cds I bought was a legit pressing. Actually, to judge from statements on various artist and label sites, it seems that bootlegging is regarded as being a serious problem for the scene.

The majority of tunes on this compilation was produced by Rhythm Dhol Bass (RDB). This dj and production team, consisting of the Sikh brothers
Kuldeep, Surjeet und Manjeet Ral, is releasing cds under the RDB and Lethal Dholis monikers as well as producing and remixing tons of tracks for other artists. Next to Dr. Zeus they seem to be the most prolific and influential producers on the scene right now and are a serious force in UK Bhangra. Their albums are released through UntouchablesUK, the label, promotion company and artist agency responsible for two of the most important compilation series, Urban Flava and Danger, who's roster includes many of the most popular Bhangra artists.

Quite an interesting case are Ruthless Records and their Street Beats series. I only have the first volume which contains a surprising number of tracks using big chunks of well-known r&b, dancehall and hiphop tracks by major artists. I couldn't really find out wether Ruthless are actually a kind of bootleg label (apparently they don't have a website). But I'd be surprised if their releases where a 100 % legit, since it's quite doubtable that they could afford the rights to sample virtually half of Sean Paul's Gimme The Light.

Some more links:

Woebot of the great eponymous music-blog on desi beat/UK Bhangra

RDB's press kit, containing a quite interesting article from The Face
RDBTV, RDB's extremely popular Bhangra video magazine
BBC's Bhangra show Breakdown
BBC 1Xtra's Desi Beats with Punjabi Hit Squad

I downloaded a bunch of more recent (2005/06-ish) tracks via bit torrent, so there'll probably be a follow up if this comp goes down well with you peepz.