A primer on 2step: … or garage, which sounds like “carriage,” makes you swivel your hips and puts a grin on my lips.
Of course, “garage,” in its dance definition, comes from the Paradise Garage, the legendary late-’70s New York club that spawned the high-pitched, diva-fied sound that would eventually evolve into house music. 2step, on the other hand, has existed for more than 150 years in the form of actual dances, from salon-era waltzes to Texas line shuffles. The two-step waltz, more popularly known as valse a deux temps (two-beat waltz), was, according to Victor Eijkhout on his Web page (http://www.eijkhout.net/rad/), rejected by many dancers because it was “jerky in its movement.”
The new British 2step does not denote any specific bodily gyrations on the dancefloor, but its rhythm is also rather “jerky in its movement.” Mathematically speaking, 2step is the mean average of house and jungle, meaning tempo-wise it’s house (120 beats per minute) plus jungle (140 bpm+) divided by two. The analogy goes deeper than mere mathematics, though: 2step’s beat is more complex than house (flittier hi-hat patterns, off-center kick drums), though not as cluttered as jungle (which is cluttered primarily by its speed).
There’s also a strong dosage of Timbaland’s and She’kspere’s edgy rhythmic experiments and Miami bass’s bouncy bounce-bounce, and though American producers have yet to jump into the 2step ring, Jill Scott, Destiny’s Child, and Sisq� have recently had makeovers from Brit remixers MJ Cole, the Dreem Teem, and Artful Dodger, respectively. So maybe what we’re starting to witness in dance music is something that occurred frequently in the rock world of the ’60s: what Roger McGuinn called secret messages back and forth between the Brits and Americans, like the Beatles hearing the Byrds’ use of 12-string guitars and responding with “Ticket to Ride.”