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What is speed garage? A primer for the longtime dance subgenre

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Fx Logik is one name launching Beauty Bar’s speed-garage-focused Lockdown party Saturday night.
Victor Savelle

The style: Speed garage.

The golden era: 1990s.

The sound: Bass music made accessible by soulful, house-inspired melodies, darker by jungle and reggae influences, futuristic by processed and edited vocal samples and faster by sped-up tempos (though slower than those in drum ’n’ bass and jungle).

Its icons: Few names would be recognizable to most house- and techheads. But Double 99, 187 Lockdown and Loop Da Loop figure prominently in this small scene, as do electronic music titans Todd Terry (stream his “Something Going On” single) and Armand van Helden, whose popular remixes of Tori Amos’ “Professional Widow” and Sneaker Pimps’ “Spin Spin Sugar” introduced speed garage to many Americans caught up in so-called electronica from 1996-’98.

What birthed it: U.K. garage, itself a more soulful offshoot of American house music (see: Todd Edwards, who was, coincidentally, American), and the British jungle rave scene.

What it inspired: Two-step, which incorporated modern R&B and hip-hop (see: Artful Dodger, MJ Cole), followed by grime and dubstep.

Who played it locally: Mostly rave DJs such as Ira, Rick Remixx, Fx Logik, KOR and Jayrod.

Signs of its comeback: Besides various garage-influenced artists rising to prominence (such as Rudimental) and the proliferation of bass music in general, labels like Urban Sprawl—its operations based in both the U.K. and Las Vegas—featuring producers both native to and inspired by the original speed garage scene.

The Downtown party: Lockdown, a new underground electronic event dedicated to speed garage (and traditional, vinyl-only drum ’n’ bass and jungle, to be played in a separate area).

Its featured performers: The first U.S. appearance of English speed garage producer/DJ Mr. Dista; Canadian jock Neo1, making his Vegas debut; the return of Remixx; Logik, also the party’s co-producer and one of Urban Sprawl’s principals; and 10 others.

Lockdown April 5, doors at 9 p.m., $11. Beauty Bar, 598-1965.

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