The UK’s BBC Radio 1 has been supporting and promoting emerging dance music since the early days of rave (when the public-funded organ attracted some ire for forging links with a ‘drug-addled’ sub culture). Back in the day, I had no way of getting out into the fields where the raves where happening, so I was glued.
That is rapidly approaching 20 years ago (which you could equate to a couple of centuries-worth in the wildly accelerated popular music world), but the spirit continues with the ‘In DJ’s Trust Series’: a rotating roster of fresh UK DJ talent. A couple of weeks ago Toddla T stepped up to the mic. The result? I was transported back to that time where youngsters with regional accents launched a tirade on the airwaves, driven by the power of the music that was unfolding beneath them. And again, now that I’m a continent away, this week I found myself glued once more.
Albeit Toddla T brings a level of professionalism (lyricism) that I don’t recall being there back in the day. There’s an interview about 30 mins in to to this mix in which a wonderfully sweet-toned rapper asks a series of increasingly bizzare questions of the Toddla.
And in his presentation of the music, Toddla T is strident in his appreciation of that rapidly evolving bass movement with rich ancestry in drum and bass, dancehall and rave.
Staccato gibberish and discombobulated chants sit atop chattering high-ends and distorting warbling bass drops in and out on a whim (latest cuts from Major Lazer, Wideboys, MJ Cole). There’s techno, 2-step garage, grime, dubstep, ragga for those in search of diversity. Talking of diversity, Toddla also features a selection of his influences: Bassment Jaxx, Roy Davis Jr, Fugees, Carly Simon and ABC.
Any overarching theme? As the BBC website puts it,
“His influences include that “clangy Sheffield electronic sound” first heard from Cabaret Voltaire, with local speed garage variant, bassline and early Warp Records’ bleep techno.”
Look out for monthly mixes from this new-breed basshead.
More on Toddla T