This article originally ran on THUMP UK.
Remember when you'd make mixes for your friends to show how cool you were? 101 of 303 is our glimpse into the fundamentals of electronic movements. This list is your window into the syncopated 4/4's and rattling 2 step of UK Garage, the genre that would go on to spawn everything from grime, to dubstep, to UK Funky, to bassline. In some ways it's a culture with two sides, on one hand all glasses of champagne and sexy vocals, yet on the other it's baseball caps and pirate radio.
The tracks you see here are a dose of all corners, from straight up 130BPM UKG, to speed garage, and even the genre's most mainstream flirtations with chart music. All hail UK Garage, the unsung hero of modern dance music. We've done the honorable thing and put them all in a big Apple Music playlist for your listening pleasure. Click the link below and go wild.
Sweet Female Attitude - Flowers (Sunship mix)
Straight up real talk: the Sunship remix of "Flowers" is probably the best British pop record of all time. It's indescribably wonderful, a truly, truly perfect example of the powerful pleasures of straight down the line garage-pop. It sounds attainable, not untouchable. If Mozart were still alive, God bless him, he would have stopped messing about with that classical shit and written tunes as good as this.
Indo - R U Sleeping (Bump & Flex Remix)
Life is good sometimes. The first morning of summer. That moment you snag a reduced trifle in Tesco for less than a quid. Every single time this track plays. It's the little things that get us through.
Tina Moore - Never Gonna Let You Go (Bump N Go Remix)
Sometimes all you want from music is the second hand feeling of being really, really pissed at a fun fair way back when getting really really pissed seems really really exciting rather than a grim inevitability. This ludicrously bouncy remix of the Tina Moore original does just that. Seasick waltzer music at it's very best.
B-15 Project - Girls Like Us
More infectious than freshers week in Bradford. Or something. "Girls Like Us" is a sublime song, sleek, futuristic, lithe, light. It sounds a bit like a gargey take on Chris Rea's "On the Beach" and who doesn't want that? Definitely more fun than freshers week in Bradford and probably something you'll hear in Bradford during freshers week.
MJ Cole - Sincere
As a producer MJ Cole was smoother than a hundred baby's bottoms draped in silk. As a bloke he's probably just as smooth. Regardless of his roughness, tracks like "Crazy Love" and "Sincere" are masterclasses in seriously smooth, seriously classy garage, records that reek of expensive aftershave and good champagne. "Sincere" is sincerely as good as it gets. Sorry.
Big Bird - Flav
was always rubbish. Don't let pangs of nostalgia convince you otherwise. It was always shit and Big Bird was probably the worst thing about it. He's a sanctimonious sod, an irritant. I hate him. I don't hate this though.
Double 99 - Rip Groove
Ray Winstone thinks he's the daddy. He's wrong. "Rip Groove" is.
Zed Bias - Neighbourhood
Devastatingly heavy stuff from a true UK legend. It's pleasingly vague, lyrically, meaning literally anyone who lives anywhere in the world can use as their own neighbourhood anthem.
Colours - Hold On
Basically Todd Edwards is the sickest producer ever so anyone who rips Todd Edwards off is probably alright. "Hold On" is a really good Todd Edwards rip off. We would have included a Todd Edwards track but he had the cheek to be born in America.
The Streets - Has it Come to This
Mike Skinner now makes documentaries about Israel and Palestine and throws parties where clubgoers get to leave with big green balloons. In another life, he was a kind of poet laureate for the garage generation — a charismatic loser, a chronicler of the kind of humdrum, weed and chicken addled life most of us lead. "Has it Come to This" is his masterpiece. It rolls on and on on that gorgeous piano loop like an eternal hazy Saturday afternoon. It's Skinner's eye for detail and his ability to craft a narrative from fag ends and half finished tinnies that makes this track just so special. Oh, and anyone who doesn't enjoy singing the chorus to themselves in the shower is the worst kind of joyless dullard imaginable.
Roy Davis Jr - Gabriel ft. Peven Everett
A late night vocal classic that proves minimal is more. There's those smokey pads, that perfectly syncopated classic 2step percussion track, those jazzily effervescent horns, and that vocal. Custom built for those nights you never want to become mornings.
Oxide and Neutrino - Bound 4 Da Reload
Sampling the Casualty theme tune is an absolute big boy power move and we can only hope that in the future more acts go on to do so. "Bound 4 Da Reload" is also a song with an important message, delivered straight from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells...could everyone stop getting shot? Cheers.