Talking about his regular home fixture, Ghosts of Garage, Manchester-based UKG pioneer and dubstep godfather Zed Bias says: "It’s not so much an old-school garage night. It's purpose is to show the lineage from the two-step I used to make to the music that’s currently out there that I represent."
In Bias' own case, that's a lot of kinds of music. A prolific workrate and multifaceted nature mean that it's hard to keep tabs on his output so the fixture is a good opportunity to check out what he's been up to release-wise.
It would be criminal not to talk about his recent "Reminisce About The Phuture" EP on Swamp81. A vinyl-only helping of intelligent, classy grooves, the double-pack makes a perfect counterpoint to some of the froth of the current house revival. It's deep, jacking, stuff that's suggestive of New York's Sound Factory in the early 1990s with Frankie Knuckles or Junior Vasquez at the controls.
Bias, aka the genial Dave Jones, says that the original idea for jazz-tinged, laid-back tracks like "Music Deep Inside" came from a conversation with Loefah on the way back from playing Australia a couple of years ago.
"We discussed it over a beer in Harry’s Bar in Singapore Airport," he says. "Basically, where dubstep was going, what kind of music Loefah liked, what kind of music I liked and we decided that we were both like massive fans of house music. And we’re not talking about Vengaboys, we’re talking about proper house music."
Jones describes 1992 as where he started his own house music journey citing Cajmere, Blaze and particularly Master at Work and their Nuyorican Soul project.
He says: "Masters at Work they were my favourite, probably, and 'Music Deep Inside' was definitely me doffing my cap to Kenny Dope [Gonzalez] and the vocal samples that I’ve used and mashed up, they’re all kind of evocative of that period as well."
Meanwhile, remarkable percussive bubbler "Badungdeng", appears to have been chosen as the first single from his forthcoming Sleeping Giants LP (on Tru Thoughts). Made with veteran UK rappers Rodney P and Fallacy (with Jenna G, Strategy and Fox dropping by for ancillary duties), the eponymous album has a filmic feel; an interlinked set of sub-genre-jumping urban narratives. Small wonder, then, that Jones talks of plans for cinematic teaser vids for LP track "And The 'Ting went Blaow", itself a vignette of nightlife noir with a twist in its tale.
Jones has also been ridiculously busy on the remix tip. His Funky hoover-bleep restyle of DJ Fresh's recent hit "Hot Right Now", an anarchic techno twist on fellow uber-producer Joey Negros' current "No Sugar" (on Italian label DRB) and a shimmering summertime liquid funk version of 72 year-old American soulster Leon Ware's "Orchid For the Sun" are just some highlights.
Closer to home, of course, Zed Bias has either worked with or remixed just about everyone of note on Manchester's burgeoning bass music scene. "The whole Manchester vibe is at critical mass right now," he says, noting that Dub Phizix, Skeptical and Strategy's "Marka" is massive as far away as Russia and Georgia where he's DJed in recent weeks.
To add to this heady brew, Bias recently wrapped up the LP "Original Dan" with legendary local lyricist Trigga. Having been treated to a preview, it would seem that the duo have created what can only be described as a killer dollop of Northern dancehall with help from locals Killa Benz, vocalist Yasmin and long-time Bias collaborator Specialist Moss.
Jones says: "The vibe is somewhere between garage, grime and bashment. There’s a hard edge to it but the hard edge is probably more through the production rather than overly-slack lyrics or anything like that. There’s a lot of hooks, there’s a lot of larger-than-life sort of raggadocious vibes."
Indeed, "Jeans and Creps" is Moss Side's answer to Vybz Kartel, Popcaan & Gaza Slim's "Clarkes". "Jump Inna Mi Whip" has a comedic rap swagger worthy of Ludacris and "Roll Dem Own" is an infectious skanking tribute to the collie-in-the-morning lifestyle that'll have you laughing all the way to your local White Castle.