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Month: March 2021

AG Presents: Garage – Viscrit

AG Presents: Garage – Viscrit


By Jimmy O’Hara & Sarah Styles

When you think of garage music, the UK might come to mind. However, the house enthusiasts of Chicago and New York City derived the origins of garage a handful of years before its transatlantic introduction to UK club culture. These two U.S. urban centers are where garage’s life began.

The mid ‘80s marked a revolution in Chicago’s electronic culture. Audio engineers invented the sounds of early house by experimenting with disco samples. Artists native to New York caught wind of the movement and added their signature soulful flare. During garage’s golden era in the early ‘90s, garage tunes regularly topped international charts. Despite the genre’s subsequent dissolution from the limelight, it stays alive through its descendants.

“The earliest garage sounds quickly spread to the UK, where it transformed into many of our favorite genres today. Grime, dubstep, and UK funky all began as experiments by producers using the B-sides of their garage records,” says Victor Princiotta aka Viscrit, whose mix marks the third installment in American Grime (AG)’s ongoing mini-series AG Presents: Garage. “It’s hard to think of styles that so succinctly instill their own roots while simultaneously extending into the future.”

Few electronic genres link older and newer styles in quite the same way garage manages to do. When you map garage music’s family tree, dots may instantly connect. You’ll find its parents are house and R&B, its grandparents are disco and soul, and its offspring are modern favorites in dubstep and grime. However, when you trace its cousins, peculiarly horizontal patterns unfold.

“One of the greatest things about garage is it’s not only a parent to many genres– it also has many of its own subgenres: speed garage, bassline, 2-step, future garage,” says Viscrit, who strives to include these in his AG guest-mix.

As a lifelong music lover, Viscrit’s personal history ranges from punk and hardcore scenes to more niche interests like industrial and noise. Social dancing has long remained at the core of Viscrit’s passion for music culture, ultimately cultivating his transition from mosh pits to turntables.

“I started to desire a different kind of social dance, so I got involved with clubs and raving. Garage was the first electronic genre I was exposed to, and it alone inspired me to start DJing,” explains Viscrit, a Miami resident.

Drawing influences from dons like DJ Zinc, Club Asylum, Agent X, and DJ EZ, Viscrit has gradually developed a distinct sound of his own. In this week’s mix, Viscrit’s love for garage shines through. He hopes listeners unfamiliar with garage give the legendary genre the chance it deserves.

“Garage remains fairly popular in some parts of the world, but for some reason, it doesn’t attract or maintain much love here in Miami. My hope is that my hometown might develop more of a taste for it,” says Viscrit. “While my taste spans many sounds, I’ve never lost my love for garage.”

Honoring garage’s signature uptempo, syncopated sound, Viscrit features a blend of dance- pop vocals and rhythmic patterns which encourage movement and showcase flair. Throughout the mix, vocal overlays direct a flow of energy that captivates and compels listeners through each transition, narrating the mood for each selection. These soulful refrains are an extremely effective technique for revitalizing covers, remixes, or an original project. Viscrit reconstructs choral assets, transforming them into staccatos and melodies. Presenting a common characteristic of garage while maintaining creative control over the vocal illustration, Viscrit’s skips and swings are sure to command your eardrum’s attention.

Each sound – beats, loops, baselines, samples. or vocals – is carefully arranged to create seamless synergy. The funky, rolling rhythm inherent to this genre presents itself in a mysteriously house-like manner, but quickly demonstrates its allegiance to garage especially with its inclusion of hi-hats and drums. Viscrit sculpts spaces in the frequency spectrum for each part to take shape, acknowledging the complexity of each track. He makes a variety of sound sources accessible within a 30-minute span, carefully curating a unique vibe for listeners to embrace. Viscrits’s ability to find these sweet spots helps express the heart of the piece while hinting at his introspective inner world.

Understanding instrumentality, music theory, and vocal frequency is essential to optimal electronic production, and Viscrit demonstrates he’s up to speed. Garage artists like Viscrit are equipped with skill sets that enable their listeners to navigate the deep trenches of quality sound design. This is what makes garage such a powerful genre, and Viscrit’s mix so intriguing: He merges the histories of ’80s & ’90s dance culture to cultivate a transformative history-lesson treat.

Stay tuned for the fourth guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, April 2, featuring Jett Chandon.

Each week, be sure to travel back to our Background Noise newsroom for commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each installment, exploring the complex and nostalgic sounds of garage music right along with you.

AG Presents: Garage – Topher the Alien

AG Presents: Garage – Topher the Alien

Topher The Alien Pays Tribute to Ancestors and Descendents of Garage Through Dynamic Podcast

By Jimmy O’Hara & Sarah Styles

One way to envision garage’s role in the evolution of electronic music: Imagine it’s the trunk of a family tree. Grounding the genre are its animated, extraverted roots: the likes of house, jungle, breakbeat and R&B. Branching out from the trunk are its inward, layered leaves: 2-step, UK funky, dubstep and grime. In this week’s episode of American Grime (AG) Presents: Garage, disc jockey Topher The Alien (Topher) honors garage’s ancestors and descendants.

“I’ve always held garage close to my heart due to its hypnotic rhythms and heavy bass,” says Topher. “There’s no other genre quite like it.”

Garage has always been an inflection point in electronic culture past and present. Renowned for its emotionally-riveting atmospheres, garage music disarms listeners with its dreamy sense of nostalgia. Like the center of an hourglass, the genre is pivotal, seamlessly flowing the sounds of old into the rhythms of new.

“I consider garage to be the perfect, danceable midpoint between house and dubstep,” explains Topher. “Without this overlooked genre, we wouldn’t have a lot of the dubstep and bass music we know and love today.”

If house is the social older sibling and dubstep is the popular younger sibling, garage is the mysterious cousin caught in the middle. The genre’s relative lack of recognition in mainstream spaces may trace back to its triumphant origins within the imaginative minds of marginalized communities. The genre arose at the intersection of Black and Queer lived experiences in a post-Stonewall ‘70s & ‘80s U.S. struck by racist redlining and an ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Garage serves as a safe space for artists to reimagine life beyond oppressive structures by experimenting with original sounds. This reflects AG’s mission-driven approach to modern bass music. AG champions various forms of grime while giving ode to its garage-driven stylistic and cultural origins. The internationally-acclaimed collective is pursuing its six-week podcast sequence to trace garage’s historical significance and celebrate its ongoing transformation.

Through his AG Presents: Garage guest-mix, Topher aims to inspire today’s electronic communities to develop a deeper connection with garage.

“I hope some new ears in the U.S. and abroad will appreciate the beauty of garage through this mix series,” says Topher, whose episode marks the second installment in AG’s mini-series. “Hopefully, more bass music fans will be open to hearing it on dance floors when events and festivals return.”

Stay tuned for the third guest-mix in American Grime’s mini-series scheduled for release Friday, March 26 featuring Viscrit.

Each week, be sure to travel back to our Background Noise newsroom for commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each installment, exploring the complex and nostalgic sounds of garage music right along with you.

AG Presents: Garage – Michael Savant

AG Presents: Garage – Michael Savant

American Grime Amplifies the Art & Sound of Garage Through Six-Week Podcast Series

By Jimmy O’Hara & Sarah Styles

It’s spring 1993. You’re shuffling through an intimate family of like-minded music lovers filling a dimly-lit warehouse, tucked cozily away within the streets of London. A percussive, breakbeat rhythm pulses through the dance floor. Momentum from the soundscape’s peculiar pattern gently rattles your bones. The iconic genre that has you grooving from dusk to dawn? UK garage.

The grandparent genre to most modern bass music from dubstep to grime, UK garage (UKG) emerged in England during the early-mid ‘90s. Garage fuses styles that were prominent throughout the ‘80s, ranging from jungle to dance-pop and R&B. A more introverted cousin of house, garage music makes heavy use of syncopation. This turbulent technique traces back to the Mozart era. It comprises a multilayered variety of rhythms, disrupting the regular flow your brain expects to hear. Similar sounds float across a minimum of two separate time intervals, leaving you in a striking state of curiosity and awe.

UKG gave rise to multiple subgenres, ranging from late ‘90s 2-step to the bassline and grime music of the early ‘00s. Despite garage’s gradual dispersion from the limelight in recent decades, groups like American Grime (AG) are committed to keeping the genre’s soul alive.

AG champions various forms of grime while giving ode to its garage-driven stylistic and cultural origins. The internationally-acclaimed collective is launching a six-week podcast sequence, AG Presents: Garage, to amplify the historical significance and ongoing evolution of garage.

Throughout this mini-series, you’ll explore six guest-mixes curated by a carefully selected crew of modern-day garage artists.

“Garage’s influence on grime is undeniable,” explains Michael Savant, the first artist featured in the series. “My path to grime was through a mixture of garage and UK bass music, so I’ve always had love for UK garage.”

Emphasizing the genres’ rich history while infusing his personal taste, Michael has prepared a 30-minute mix dedicated to properly showcasing the world of Garage. True to the nature of the tunes, Michael begins his mix by illustrating the gritty nature of this unapologetic genre. Hinting at garage’s signature divide between Hip-Hop and R&B the audio arrangements and vocal expressions presented in this style convey raw emotion, character, and finesse from the creator. The mix’s array of musical diversity breathes life into the ear’s of listeners as this urban inception has the ability to be translatable to the masses. Savant captures this unique freeform ingenuity, sweeping you across seamless transitions while effortlessly animating our spirit.

UKG provides a platform for an array of artists to experiment and grow without conforming to a distinctive sound. UKG has a wondrous way of rendering wealth and capital obsolete: It imagines a welcoming space for everyone. The genre is rooting in nature, resting on a foundation of forward movement. Previously known for its intentions to provide ‘peace and love,’ it has transformed into a wide range of emotional rhythms ranging from dark to light.

“Musical genres never truly die. They transform, they build upon one another, they may fall into obscurity and disuse, but they never actually die.” – Unknown

Honoring every phase of this genre’s evolution, Savant revitalizes bygone times and the good ol’ days, featuring tracks from names like Porchy, MoreNight, Pavv, AJ Tracey, Distro, TQD, Fork & Knife, Wiley and more. Each selection stands out, whether you’re sweating your way through a crowded club, blasting pirate radio, or enjoying a custom sound system in an intimate setting.

“I’m from the era of the disk and cassettes I can do grime, pop, and trap, I’m a vet ‘Cause I don’t really care, so please don’t be upset.” – Porchy

Michael has gained extensive experience throughout his career in music, which he showcases through the synergy of his multilayered tones. This half-hour arrangement provides listeners with an edgier take on soulful renditions of popular influences spanning decades of differentiating musical eras. The mix’s impact is clear: UKG illuminates the interconnected relationship between individuals and their broader communities. And that’s a wrap on week one of AG Presents: Garage.

Stay tuned for the second guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, March 19 featuring Topher the Alien.

Each week, be sure to travel back to our Background Noise newsroom for commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each installment, exploring the complex and nostalgic sounds of garage music right along with you.


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