Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Todd Edwards

For anyone who has even a passing interest in UKG, Todd Edwards was and is an almost prophetic figure. Todd Edwards singlehandedly introduced the chopped up vocal to the scene, and in so doing, spawned a whole new musical direction.

Gone were those sub-bass rumblings that UKG inherited from its Jungle roots, and in their place came soulful, episodic samples that complemented the Champagne Room vibe. It wasn't until the release of Dem 2's Destiny however that the transition was finally complete. In terms of garage, it seemed for a time that London was the new New Jersey.

All seemed to be going swimmingly until Y2K came along and screwed everything up. Initially it was the emerging schism between 2-step and grime that appeared to pose the biggest problem. People assumed for some reason that the two were incompatible. Clearly, this is not the case. One need only look at Meesrs. Wiley and Dizzee's new tunes to see that bouncy and grimey are not mutually exclusive, although on that evidence you might wish they were. Likwise, Rephlex's two seminal releases, Grime and Grime 2, were testament to the fact that both UKG and Grime were kindred spirits who had both somehow lost contact. Of course, this is not to lay all the blame on Grime's doorstep. Garage had started to wear at the seams long before the inhabitants of Hackney and Bow started MCing over the Playstation-produced beats, and as each hit that was released climbed higher up the charts and lower in fan's estimations, it soon became clear that things would fall apart, the centre could NOT hold.

Step up you oiksome Norfeners. The bassline/Niche scene of the north has been well documented, and down south, it appears that it was little more than a flash in the pan. NOT FOR ME. I see a direct line from Todd Edwards all the way to Jamie Duggan, which manages to encompass Monsta Boy , Shola Ama, T2 (Heartbroken was THE tune of 2007, just ask Micah Richards, and the Ferdinand brothers if you don't believe me), and which culminates with tunes like this.

So in conclusion, thanks a lot Todd...your work has been indispensable in creating a decent 25-30% of the soundtrack to my life.

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