Celsius (and the rising, new wave of underground UK garage.)

I love garage. Anyone who does will have their little speech along the lines of “oh yeah man, back in 90s man, UK garage was mint! Heyday, prime of it’s time, the absolute peak, the best” and so on and so forth. And dammit it’s true! Even I’ll attest to that. It had soul. It was R&Bs cousin that in any other situation would not get along well together. It was the music everyone liked. It was versatile, being a mix of a variety of sounds similar to the very mix-bag like-ness of the city it’s attributed with, London. It was reliable. “IT WAS THE BEST MAN!” I could list a number of artists, but save that for a “totes throwback blog” day.
Regardless on your views on how intricate of a garage fan you are to me (akin to Macklemore fans always trying to outdo one another about who is the bigger Macklemore fan/who has known him longer/who heard his name first/etc.) you will agree that for most of the “noughty” decade garage went missing. It just one day stopped. Sure, some pop idols tried their hand at it bringing it back, but who ever payed attention to that. We didn’t really pay much heed of it’s departure anyway. Maybe departure isn’t the exact word to use, but certainly a fade away to other breakaway genres from Garage. 2-step became more of a thing. Grime was another offshoot. Soon dubstep made it’s way to our ears too. At least for me, Garage really was something the 90s/early ’00s would hold for ever and no one else…until recently. I thought little spurts of music from Disclosure (see blog from before) and a variety of other artists in the last couple of months or so was akin to a fluke, emphasizing garage influences and nothing else. I just couldn’t come to grips that garage was back in play. I mean, I HEARD of an underground garage scene arising again, but, how often have you heard that before about a scene or genre?
Well, i guess it’s a legitimate thing, and it is coming with such power as if to say “we’ve sat back and let the kids play, we’ve observed the changing face of electronic music, we took note of the changes and trends. We had our fun at times. But to be honest, right now with all the chaos going on in both attitude, music and absolute horridness that the wide umbrella scene of electronic music is experiencing, we must intervene and come back with such power to wrestle it away from certain parties ruining it for all of us. Call us super-garage if you will.”
Okay, maybe a little overdone there, but, the point still stands. In the last couple of months (though brewing for about a year), a new rise of garage music straight from the underground has absolute thwarted the electronic music scene with such class and quality that is making sure you don’t ignore it. (And I promise not to do it again, sry bbz, pls take me bck. I luv u 5evr Garage) I don’t know if you can even call it future-garage, or nu-garage, because it’s still holding true to fundamentals of garage sounds from yesteryear. Sure there is the term 2-step Garage being thrown around, I guess that works but, even with hours of bickering, people will come together to agree, YES, this is good. What we are listening to, observing, and experiencing is very, very good.
For instance, Disclosure seems to be leading the way with it’s spearheaded, ahead-of-the-game thinking approach bringing the underground garage sound to the charts. (Goodness, read that again, when was the last time that happened?) But remember, this is still a relatively underground scene, which is where artists like Celsius roam and play.

“This Way” comes with fiery power, intent to please, and is a superb eclectic mix of garage with some seriously cool deep house influences, and not without some slick 2-step impressions too. In fact, the whole wall of sound-esque synths, drums, bass, and everything in between seem to pounce on you early in the song without your awareness of what’s coming. And boy does it grab you and leave an impression on you that stays throughout the song, and afterwards too. The warped-up piano chords quide the progression well, and crisp drums from the deep sounds to the hi-hats force you to move. It’s hard to not feel the groove of this track, even harder not to simply feel cool to the track while listening.

His remix of Jody Wisternoff’s “How You Make Me Smile” transforms the progressive house track into a fantastic Garage Anthem, with a totally different take on the drum progression and synths.

With “Must Be You” celsius solidifes that his skill and ability to produce fantastic 2-step/garage tracks aren’t just a joke and he’s not messing around, showing how well he can thread vocal samples in with string samples, interrupted by some ridiculously groovy drum patterns.

The Super FM EP is definitely more leaning towards the Deep House side of things for Celsius where he also possess a huge amount of talent and skill, leaving you with tracks that are so damn groovy you can’t help but replay them. One does still recognize a 2-step/garage influence on the “Sentiment” track.
Celsius has slowly been making his name and grabbing the attention of many artists, (as Skream himself explains while playing his track live on BBC) and is just one example of the plethora of up and comoing artists in this new wave of Garage, and it’s here to stay. It is easily the best music being released at the moment, with nothing else coming close to it’s quality.

– Nick

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