From Garage to UK Garage to Future Garage: A Brief History
The Garage genre is said to be birthed from the dark insides of a re-appropriated parking garage morphed into a famous dance space dubbed Paradise Garage. From the 1980s dance floors of a club where no alcohol was sold and socializing was prohibited in favor of a strict dancing policy, this genre became an American hit—especially among the LGBT community.
Supplementing the careers of Junior Vasquez, Todd Edwards, and later the creation of the world famous club Ministry of Sound in London—Garage made the hop across the ocean to spawn a revolutionary rave movement entitled UK Garage. The London UK Garage scene changed the musical structure of Garage to integrate the iconic syncopated rhythms and beat-skipping kick drums that most closely resemble the modern sound that audiences recognize today.
Arriving to London in the early nineties, UK Garage is hardly older than its current reigning heavyweights Disclosure. Many sources ironically accredit American-born Todd Edwards as the genre’s godfather, naming the house aficionado - Todd “The God” Edwards. This attribution is undoubtedly connected to Edwards’ influence in the American house and disco scene.
A mini documentary released by Ewen Spencer earlier in January documents the subculture that blossomed around the UK garage scene in Brighton. Portraying a contradictory lifestyle of underground raves and high-end brand names, all walks of life came together to celebrate the new sounds of an ambitious genre built around time shifted vocals and samples.
Though UK Garage saw its prime less than a decade ago, it is once again at the popular forefront in the form of Disclosure and what has been termed Future Garage - which is often grouped alongside Future Bass as well. Future Garage, though no far cry from its UK sister, deviates in its harsher pronunciation of 2-step, “off-kilter” rhythms and softer supporting elements.
How UK Garage came back to the surface after so brief a submergence remains locked in deep analysis and theory. It seems as if our UK superduo Disclosure can do no wrong and anything (or anyone) attached to their name immediately transcends simple praise. Their success seemed ironically paired alongside the rise of Future Bass through such artists as Bondax, Julio Bashmore and arguably Duke Dumont.
One certainty can be gleaned from Disclosure’s success, the age of live-hybrid electronic acts is happening now and it spans past Garage to include all EDM genres. From the pioneering group Soulwax to Rudimental to Savoy to Goldroom and beyond, fans across the globe are beginning to look beyond their favorite DJs in favor of live-hybrid performances.