[I]”Can everybody stop getting shot?”[/I] That was the plea made on pirate garage duo Oxide & Neutrino’s debut single, the[I] Casualty[/I]-sampling ‘Bound 4 Da Reload’ that hurtled to Number One in April 2000. In the silky-smoove springtime of Craig David, it smacked of novelty – a case of the new kids in the tower block trying too ‘ard to be well ‘ard. Now, with a shooting ending Twice As Nice’s West End residency, a spate of stabbings threatening to tear the guts out of garage clubland, and Neutrino – 19-year-old MC Mark Oseitutu – taking a bullet outside a central London nightclub, then getting busted for the alleged possession of a firearm – hell, perhaps it was simply ahead of its time. And if UK garage is entering dark days, then ‘Execute’ may just bury it.
Pieced together in the council flats of south London – home of Delight FM
and the 20-strong So Solid Crew of
which Oxide & Neutrino are part – these 12 tracks of rattling gunshot breaks
and Zed Bias-style metallic bass
brandish a middle finger at garage orthodoxy. To hell with tedious dance purism – ‘Execute’ sounds like nothing less than a millennial update on the
spirit of mongrel crossbreeding at the heart of the Prodigy’s ‘Music For The Jilted Generation’.
With ‘No Good 4 Me’ taking the vocal of Liam Howlett’s helium rave epic, ‘No Good (Start The Dance)’, back into the Top Ten, Alex ‘Oxide’ Rivers’ production clearly owes a debt to the grim severity of hardcore. He’s far more skilled than
his 19 tender years might suggest, though: ‘Devil’s Nightmare’ pulls a break-and-enter on [I]The Omen[/I], looping sinister monastic chanting over punchy breaks to fantastic effect. But it’s Neutrino’s arrogant raps that really make ‘Execute’. ‘Up Middle Finger’ slams scene dictators The Dreem Teem, who blacklisted
‘Bound 4 Da Reload’ at the Notting Hill Carnival: [I]”Carnival 1999, DJs put up a list/Telling other DJs not to play this/But when I asked a certain DJ why/He gave me a shit reply”[/I]. It’s not a fantastic lyric – but Neutrino delivers it with such confident menace, eloquence is hardly
So if ‘Execute’ is to be the record that killed UK garage, don’t mourn its passing. Remember, back in ’91, the Prodigy were dismissed as novelty merchants. “If people say we killed rave, then maybe it was worth killing,” shrugged an accused Keith Flint. “Because we’re having a great time.”
Too right. [I]”Can everybody stop getting shot?”[/I] Fuck that. Oxide & Neutrino have got the firepower to prove their point.