I’ve slammed a lot of genres in the past years, while showcasing only a few. Future garage definitely deserves to be among them. It’s one of the best genres in electronica, and I’ll shortly go into what I like about it before I run through some recommendations. Firstly, future garage is very introspective (meaning nothing happens too quickly, or without purpose), and this is one of my favorite qualities of music. The genre has a great sense of flow and movement – while I have not actually listened to it while driving, I’ll bet it’d be great driving music. The beats are nonstandard, which inherently keeps my interest when compared to the majority of electronic music. Finally, I like that most future garage artists are guys like me working on their own to create these tracks from scratch. Certainly this is common to a lot of genres these days, but I like it nonetheless. Future garage is pretty new, so it has a grassroots feel to it. A lot of these artists have released only an EP so far, and there’s a myriad to choose from. Here I’ve listed some of my favorites, as well as a few good ones that were recommended to me:
Submerse. I got into future garage through a song coincidentally titled “Fall in Love,” by Submerse. This guy releases a bunch of tracks, and experiments a lot with different things (with mixed success). I’d say his best all-around album if you want to look into him is “Distance EP.” Never Again is a good sample of what the album is like. He’s got another album called Soul Gem which turned out to be absolutely ridiculous. It’s a mix of j-pop, dubstep, and future garage that you definitely have to be in the mood for. In terms of his absolute newest stuff, Belongis awesome.
Swarms. These guys might be chillout geniuses. Their album “Old Raves End” is a masterpiece of the genre, and it’s one of those albums where every song manages to be good in its own way. I thought I liked it at Flikr of ur Eyes, but then it got to Polar, and Swarms entered the god tier. Their songs start to control your breathing after a while. For all that the music is still repetitive techno, Swarms finds ways to bring in changes at the right time and in the right ways so their songs never get boring. It’s not often that I go back to the same album so many times. I’ll also recommend Bison, since it’s one of their more unique-sounding tracks.
Nocow. I don’t normally give Russia credit for much, but Nocow is amazing. His tone is darker, with that deep sea vibe I’ve come to enjoy lately. If you can’t get into Moonlight Flit, then my advice to you is to get out. If you’re still here, try Dispel the Wind and Pulkovo Heights. In my opinion, Nocow is one of electronic music’s best artists right now.
Volor Flex. Another great artist from Russia. I’ve noted that people think Volor Flex sounds a lot like Burial, but that’s perfectly ok with me. They’re both excellent. He’s released a new album recently that I haven’t got a chance to listen to yet, but I thought his first one was great. I heard Lost Memory on youtube and immediately started hunting for more. I like him for the same reasons I like Nocow. Check out You In Me and Room 09.
Phaeleh. This guy pronounces his name “Fella.” He’s got a much peppier, “hip” sound than the previous few, but I still find him particularly relaxing. I think it might be because he makes more use of clean vocals. Other future garage artists generally mess with the pitch of the vocals pretty significantly, and Phaeleh keeps it somewhat natural. The obvious example is his most popular song, Afterglow, although Think About It is slightly superior in my eyes because Afterglow is kind of like “slow pop.” Luckily, he changes his sound up throughout his albums, with songs such as Losing You.
ViLLΛGE. I’m putting ViLLΛGE up here because I hadn’t heard anything quite like him before he was recommended to me. His creativity and style are perhaps closest to SBTRKT, who I praised in an earlier article. Takeover is awesome, and I honestly welcome songs like this when I’ve been listening to the darker side of future garage for so long. Another vibe he invokes is that chilling tone of witch house (albeit quicker in tempo). You can hear it in stuff like Wanna Tell You and Nothing Between Us. All in all, a very interesting sound.
Because this genre is so new, I’ve found that the best way to find new tracks is to find some youtube channels dedicated to it, pick songs off those lists, and then go through the related videos. Off the top of my head I suggest MrSuicideSheep and Etonmessy. There was also some guy named MelodicDubs who I can’t seem to find as I submit this post, but perhaps you will have some luck in searching. The majority of the new future garage artists I’ve discovered have been through channels like these, and the rest have been last.fm.