Tag Archives: roska

Serious Saturdays: Get Rinsed With Roska

A journey across the UK electronic music landscape takes you from the badman bass of grime, through various permutations of dubstep, until you eventually end up at UK funky. The sound combines that last major UK movement, garage, with house, broken beat, and notably soca rhythms into something more dance-friendly than its underground cousins.

The don of the UK funky game, Roska, has taken a similar journey. Born Wayne Goodlitt, Roska began his musical career as a grime MC under the name Mentor in the late 90s. His shift from the mic to the producer’s chair was accompanied by a less aggressive sound and a new alias. As Roska, he first made waves in 2008 with “Feeline” and “Boxed In,” two prototypical UK funky tracks that force you to move.

Roska’s rising profile led to a residency on trendsetting Rinse.FM, just as the (then) pirate radio station shifted its focus to funky. Not only did it expose him to an even larger audience, but Rinse also released Roska’s debut album – the first full length LP on its eponymous label. Rinse Presents Roska is pure UK funky, from the shifty rave-whistles of “Squark” to the silky dancefloor-killer “Love 2 Nite” with vocalist Jamie George.

Last year was a hectic one for the producer. He opened the doors of his Kicks and Snares imprint to new artists like DJ Naughty, J:Kenzo and DJ MA1, and he compiled a 14Tracks collection that is as good as any when it comes to essential UK funky. And after remixing Untold‘s massive “Just For You” in 2009, the duo paired up on bass bangers “Myth” and “Long Range.”

This year’s Jackpot EP pushes the producer forward from funky to the difficult to pin down bass scene. Roska can still pump up an audience with something like “4th Blind Mouse,” but he’s also experimenting with elements of rave, tech and club that we haven’t heard from the South Londoner until now. “Blame the Speakers” is a choatic fist-pumper and “Roskallion” is a take on the dub-bashment of someone like Redlight. Roska has already seen a sea change in the UK electronic music world, and he’s definitely poised for the next one.

Originally posted on the Mishka Bloglin.

Future Grooves: Roska

Last week, London radio station Rinse FM went legit, receiving an FM broadcast license. The pirate radio station (exclusively online since a government crackdown in 2005) has been a driving force in the UK underground dance scene since 1994. Garage, grime, dubstep, and UK funky have thrived with the support of the station, which has exposed the world to influential artists like Dizzee Rascal and Skream. The station also runs a record label, whose latest release is the full-length debut by UK funky producer Roska.

Roska (aka Wayne Goodlitt) is one of the foremost producers in a genre that – while sharing some influences and sounds with dubstep – has developed in response to the aggro-bro feel of the dubstep scene. The beats are closer to those of house, with a soca shuffle and tribal elements; UK funky is much better suited for dancing than for moshing.

Roska’s record is a great starting point for listeners unfamiliar with UK funky. Nearly half of the tracks feature R&B-flavored singers Anesha, Jamie George, and Nikki. These hook-based songs, especially “Love 2 Nite,” are all cross-over contenders. The first single, “I need love,” highlights the vocals and an insistent snare line over a bubbling bassline.

The album also features fantastic UK funky-dubstep hybrids. On “Time Stamp,” reedy synths do battle with a dark, minor-keyed bassline, while “Burn in Flames” pits flamenco piano against bouncing synths and some serious bass. The title of “Squark” refers to trill, bird-like synths that are met with a pulsing rhythm and slick guitar chords on the downtempo romp.

Roska is coming off a Sonar Barcelona show curated by dubstep diva Mary Anne Hobbs that also included sets by Flying Lotus and Joy Orbison. Check out the interview and mix he did for Hobbs on BBC Radio 1 back in March. With co-signs by Rinse FM and Mary Anne Hobbs, Roska is definitely doing something right.