2019 Oct 03     
2 Bit Thugs

Smokey Bubblin' B does the compiling and mixing honours

Talk of a "UK garage revival" may be somewhat premature, but there's definitely been something of a resurgence of late, both in terms of public/media interest and in the number of producers/DJs operating in the UKG arena. So this 21-track new school UKG comp from Four40 couldn't really be much more timely.

Scene stalwart Smokey Bubblin' B is the man at the controls, and a fine fist he's made of it too, selecting and blending tracks from a pleasing mix of Four40 regulars like Hybrid Theory and Tuff Culture, more up-and-coming artists like Royal Flush and Perception, and – in the form of the mighty El-B – one genuine UK garage legend.

Similarly, on a stylistic tip the comp includes both strictly old school/revivalist and more contemporary, post-bassline/dubstep/grime flavours, with perhaps a slight leaning towards the former. Accordingly, soulful, housey numbers like Jared Jackson's No More and sparse, twitchy steppers like Royal Flush's Come On sit alongside gnarly, big-bottomed cuts like Hybrid Theory ft Trilla's Big Deal, but thanks to Smokey's impeccable programming/mixing (not to mention a deft way with a familiar sample on the part of many of the producers involved) it all blends together without jarring in the slightest.

If you're an 18-30-year-old feeling the UKG vibes, this album's pretty much essential. If, on the other hand, you're old enough to remember the days of Confetti and Ice Cream, loafers and four-button suits, and shouting "boo!" at every opportunity, then it presents the ideal opportunity to catch up on where the sound's up to, 20 years on. So it's not so much 'oi oi' as 'win win'… file under "bumping".

Words: Russell Deeks

Release date: 4 October



Review Score: 8




Tags: Four40, Smokey Bubblin' B, UK garage, UKG, speed garage, two-step, bass music, bassline, Hybrid Theory, Royal Flush, Perception, El-B, Tuff Culture, Confetti, Ice Cream