It’s an exciting time for garage music without a shadow of a doubt, with the mainstream stretches of the music industry reaching into the scene to grab rhythms and themes on a regular basis, whils the underground UKG community has never been stronger in regards to consistency of releases and exploration into the sonic side of the sound. There are numerous labels really pushing the boundaries of what can be done, one of which we are going to be taking a quick look at today, as we hop on a train and up the road to Sheffield, where the Strictly House & Garage team have been cooking up somewhat of a storm.

Started originally as a vibrant new events company, the Strictly House & Garage team have gone on to establish themselves as one of the most exciting garage imprints about, drawing influence from Sheffield’s rich musical history and fabulous roster of artists, whilst also exploring the the rest of the UK and collecting up a bag of exciting material for us all to enjoy. Today we are diving into their latest compilation drop, as they invite 8 artists inside for fourth edition of ‘Test Press’, a very colourful V/A release series that has always been jam-packed with DJ treats and dancefloor goodies.

Dubzta is the name selected to kick start the project, delivering an organ-doused skip with ‘Sun City’ to open up proceedings in style, followed closely by JC’s LFO infused wamper ‘Check It Out’, which switches the pace dramatically. From here, the legendary Joedan returns for a nostalgic throwback in ‘Covid Dubplates’, driven forward by relentless subby goodness, before Jay Ward arrives twice, firstly on the old school bass sweeps of ‘Don’t You Want Me’ and then alongside Dan T on the dancefloor-ready vocal rolls of ‘Do You Believe’, which takes us right back to the first garage boom of the late 90s.

The pressure then increases as Killjoy arrives out of the throwback mists to deliver a moogy monster entitled ‘YANO’, focussing on pulsating square bounces and minimal drums to set the dancefloor alight. Following this, label owner Skillz unleashes a delicate display of drum-driven goodness on ‘Don’t You Ever Stop’, before SubAtomic closes things off with more organ-inspired goodness as the skippy textures of ‘This Place’ are let loose, rounding off a very credible selection in serious style.

You can check out the full collection via our friends at JunoDownload below:

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