What is ‘Future Garage’?

Written by Rosie Craig

Down the dubsteps and into the garage…

It’s been described as more of a movement than a genre. Future Garage? Well whatever you call it, it’s definitely a league away from dubstep.

We are all aware of the recent uprising and mainstream crossover of the ‘dubstep’ movement. Some of the diehard fans have been left unhappy by the way it has gone. They think the lines determining the different genres have become blurry. A lot of dubstep is already sounding a bit too formulaic. I’d have to agree with some of them but it has been a very welcome tweak to some of the well-known dance genres from which it was inspired. The sound has been around since roughly 2002 but has gained widespread popularity in the last few years and has found its place in the music scene.

While it is still very big, many producers have played around with the dark nature of the sound and come up with something which has a beat more reminiscent of 2-step or UK Garage but with similar atmosphere and vocal sampling to the ones we are used to hearing in dubstep. The beats are different; syncopated kick drums, higher pitched snare drums, skippy hi-hats, more shuffle, more swing, less bass heavy but still very dark. It’s less chaotic; more chilled and often has a gloomy feel to it. Think Burial, Mount Kimbie or Instra:Mental. There you have a dark, garage-like sound that is often described as dubstep.

It has its own Future Garage Forum where fans and artists can exchange opinions, mixes and releases and a number of new garage labels have materialised.
Whistla, known by some as ‘the godfather of future garage’ has a set every week on Sub.FM, a dubstep/garage radio station, dedicated to it. He has also set up L2S Recordings, a label committed to releasing Future Garage tracks. More and more artists are emerging every day and being categorised under the ‘Future Garage’ umbrella.

Whistla – Darlings of the Tripstream
Darlings Of The Tripstream [Preview Clip] by Whistla

Some people argue that it should be called ‘post-dubstep’ or ‘minimal drum & bass’. Personally I think it is more evocative of the old UK garage tunes we used to listen to in the 90’s than the wobble bass characteristics of dubstep or the fast tempo and spin-backs of drum & bass. Although many established, older generation garage DJ’s argue that it’s just garage revisited and shouldn’t be named any different.

Some artists you should check out if you want to see what’s happening out there are: Submerse, Whistla, Synkro, Rooflight, Brackles, XXXY, Disclosure and Falty DL.

All I can say is, with the amount of releases available at the moment, it’s a very exciting time for anyone who loves garage and 2-step.

Synkro – Look At Yourself

Disclosure – Linstigator

Submerse – I’d rather have you (Heartbeats)

4 thoughts on “What is ‘Future Garage’?”

  1. Is it really odd that I’m a garage/dubstep producer and i still have no idea what syncopated means..

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  3. That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one.
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