Various Artists

Pure Garage: Mixed Live By E-Z

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The U.K. arguably corners the market on upfront in-your-face daily special garage trends, since the more subtle tinkering in the genre tends to develop stateside. What briefly crossed over in 1997 as "speed garage" to "underground" was and is essentially a straightforward composite of house beats and jungle bass in an intricate tangle of what should be incompatible sources: reggae, dancehall, U.S., R&B, U.S. house, rave, and ultratronic. Originally only a ghostly impression of the polished original N.Y. sound, U.K. garage evolved into a zealous factory of former drum'n'bass automatons who were "feminized" by catchier melodies and diva samples. Eventually, however, a bad-boy backlash visited the scene, featuring gruff and dog-rude raga riffs from the likes of M-Dubs, Corrupted Cru, Zed Bias, and TKS, all featured on the anthology Pure Garage, Mixed Live by E-Z. The record chronicles the rise, ebb, and flow of these influences and artists, devoting an unnecessarily lengthy chunk to Zed Bias' drone-soaked mid-frequency vehicle "Neighbourhood." Garage can be fun, wicked good fun, as evidenced by the preponderance of sophomoric novelty tunes, like DEA Project's Jerry Springer sample party "Springer" and Dee Kline's classic "I Don't Smoke" featuring the bass-blasting Flat Eric and soundbites from Abigail's Party. Strictly for the connoisseur, or the throw-it-in-the-box-and-forget-about-it dance captain, Pure Garage is about the yin and the yang of "underground garage." You get macho and girly, treble and bass, coolness and roughhouse, and lots of sticks, xylochimes, stuttering, and hypersynchopations. Very wild and fun stuff.

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