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.