Thursday, 17 June 2010

DLT Props 001: DJ Whistla

Like any music heads, there's a shit load of people out there that we think deserve more props than they get and seeing as we've got this (cyber)space at our disposal our 'props' series will be all about giving them to them - simple really, innit. We just want to put a little focus on the inspirational, the undercelebrated and the interesting heads both past and present -  be they DJs, producers, promoters, label owners or simply music enthusiasts. And our first subject - one DJ Whistla - fits easily into every one of those categories.

Both a serious connoisseur of the old school garage sound and a huge champion of the 'future garage' movement (it was arguably him that coined the term), Whistla is a man dedicated to reaching back to the true - and diverse - essence of UK garage and giving it the future he feels it never had first time round.

If we were talking about a less passionate being or a more jaded DJ, then it would be easy to take his often expansive 'future garage' ideas as little more than empty rhetoric or vacuous PR spin. But we're not. Unconcerned with hype, fads or ego, Whistla literally lives and breathes this sound. His DJ mixes online have revealed pages of garage history that we never really properly examined (check out his mix of underground legends KMA Productions here ), his L2S label gave the world a bountiful supply of quality modern garage before the sound had become en vogue once more and he's generally a top bloke; enthusiastic, unpretentious, impassioned and friendly. We're also pretty honoured to say he's been at every Days Like That so far - so double props for that one.

On paper, or screen to be more apt, the theoretical term 'future garage' is almost a contradiction in terms. And in many ways that's the beauty of the way Whistla executes it in practice. Listen to anything Whistla has his hand in and it's at once unmistakably classic in feel but futuristic in form. Ghosts of pirate stations past given a new lease of life, Whistla beats always take vintage, nostalgia-flooding garage - and rave - flavours into another dimension altogether without ever shape-shifting their essential form; the swing, the soul, the shuffle, the late-nights-driving-through-London, the renegade FM crackle and bittersweet optimism is always seeped into his sound.

The most recent - and arguably best - examples of this are the products of Whistla's four-track EP out next Monday on  L2S. A dubby soul drenched, rave-reflective garage track, 'Never Again'  has strains of classic Reinforced Records, Todd Edwards and Dem 2 mixing beautifully. Another 'ardkor rave meets bumping two-step garage (ravage anyone? maybe not!) 'London Love Story' is a ruder, more angsty affair, while 'No-One' is a dark string laden gem.  The fourth track 'Only Treasure' has more classic rave sounds, garage shuffles and a touch of vintage Horsepower to it - which is always a good thing. 

Anyway, if you're still wondering what the hell this 'future garage' thang is all about, then don't fret. Whistla did this pretty natty introductory mix last year which is below and there's also a wicked and highly insightful interview with legendary journalist Blackdown here. So that should get you clued up.

Whistla - Future Garage An Introduction by Whistla

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