- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 1, 2001

The electronic music is called two-step, or UK Garage. Although you may have never heard of it, it's probably playing at a nightclub near you.
Not to be confused with the country music counterpart with the same name, this two-step features a heavy, broken Drum 'n Bass-style beat and often fragmented, well-known R&B; vocals.
"It definitely has soul," says Annapolis resident Skip Young, who is known as Deejay Smalls when he spins two-step. "It's what happens between the beats that makes you swing."
This British music import is based on two even beats after which the beat breaks, or snares — rather than the more common four beats.
When Mr. Young (who has been playing two-step for about six months) and fellow disc jockey Oron Gill Haus (who says he was one of the first spinners of the music in the United States in 1997) played at the Metro Cafe in Northwest a couple of weeks ago, a small but devoted dance crowd showed up.
Most clubgoers were twentysomethings dressed in dance-friendly sneakers, tight T-shirts and jeans. The moves of some were jerky as if the dancers were marionettes or over-caffeinated mimes, while others on the dance floor moved in a slow and fluid fashion.
Sometimes the unpredictable beats slowed to a lull — and the dance floor came to a standstill — just to pick up a few seconds later. Mixed in with the R&B; were hip-hop, reggae and salsa sounds.
"It's an alternative to the mainstream. That's what I like about it," says Vat Tann, 21, a resident of Northwest. "There is less pretension and fewer rules. You can dance anyway you like."
As an example of mainstream, Mr. Tann mentions Jungle, a bass-heavy mode of techno music incorporating African rhythms. His friend, Sean Decker, 24, of Arlington agrees.
"It's not like you're going to hear [UK Garage] on the radio," Mr. Decker says. "Once it becomes mainstream, I'll be looking elsewhere."
While two-step spinners and fans cannot say enough good things about the music, it's not as readily available as, for example, Jungle, even though it has been around since the late 1990s.
John Tab, director of communications at Buzzlife Productions, which releases CDs locally and promotes and books musicians, says two-step's following is still small, but growing.
"I think that it will definitely grow in popularity, both within the rave scene and in mainstream culture," Mr. Tab says. "Craig David has a video on MTV that is an R&B; tune with UK Garage influences. People who may like that song may be introduced to a new musical style without even realizing it."
Mr. David, a British R&B; singer, incorporates two-step in his recently released CD "Born to Do It." Other artists whose CDs are available in record stores and online are Artful Dodger and MC Cole. Mr. Haus also has a CD out.
Among clubs where two-step is played are Theory and Buzz in the District and Baltimore's Sonar and Shorty's, where another local disc jockey, Nate Brown, plays every Saturday night.
Several mainstream pop artists such as 'N Sync have incorporated a two-step sound in one or more of their songs. Some people say 'N Sync members have taken undue credit by saying they brought the sound to the United States.
"Justin [Timberlake] said he brought UK Garage to the U.S., but that's just wrong. It's been around since the late '90s," Mr. Tann says.
Mr. Haus says when he started playing the two-step in the late 1990s, "almost no one showed up."
"If I even got booked," he says, "people would just sit around."
But Mr. Haus, who by day works as a systems analyst, has seen a big change, especially during the past year. Not only does he get booked locally in the District and Baltimore area, but he also plays such events as ZetaFest in Miami, an annual music fest with dozens of acts and thousands of fans.
"Not many people knew about two-step last year … Now it's everywhere," he says.
And why is it getting more popular?
"It's the kind of music you can sit and drink a martini to and not dance," Mr. Haus says. "Or you can dance for hours."

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