Since emerging out of Sheffield's bassline scene in the early '00s, Shollen Quarshie (a.k.a DJ Q) has carved out a career path for himself as one of the most enthusiastic torchbearers for the various strains of UK dance music to splinter out of the declining garage scene around the turn of the century. Through his spell as a presenter on BBC's 1xtra radio station (he joined as the station's youngest presenter in '06, and only left last summer), he's played a major role in backing the genre's recent resurgence, and his 2012 compilation, The Archive, acted like a definitive chronicle of the history of the bassline micro-genre, played out through the filter of Quarshie's own productions. This single, which is easily his most accessible release since his minor crossover hit "U Wot?" from '08, is the first to be taken from his debut artist album, which is due to arrive later this year on fast-rising London label Local Action.
"Trust Again" finds DJ Q in full-blown 2-step-nostalgia mode; its classic kick-and-stick shuffle, melodic strings, and radio-friendly vocal—courtesy of regular collaborator Louise Williams—pay an unabashed homage to the late-'90s heyday of crossover UKG. This retro feeling is entirely welcome though; clearly, few people are as well versed in the virtues of vintage garage and its offshoots as Quarshie, and as a result, he's able to craft a single that perfectly recaptures the sweet spot where vintage UK club music met the best moments of '90s R&B. In particular, "Trust Again" brings to mind The Architects' classic edit of Brandy & Monica's "The Boy Is Mine" with its fluid bass, kinetically charged beat, and catchy-as-hell hook.
The two accompanying guest remixes cement the pleasantly nostalgic mood of the single. The first, courtesy of garage icon Karl 'Tuff Enuff' Brown (formerly of influential '90s duo Tuff Jam), adds a 4x4 beat to the track, transforming it into something more than slightly reminiscent of early pirate-radio speed garage, complete with plenty of repitched vocals and rapid-fire reversed percussion. Meanwhile, longtime DJ Q associate TS7 gives "Trust Again" a proper, old-school bassline remix, powered along by devastating snare hits and aggressively charged grime synths.
It'll be interesting to see how Quarshie handles the balance between nostalgia and progression across his forthcoming album; while the charm of vintage garage wins out here, a few more forward-thinking ideas will probably be required to maintain momentum across a full-length LP. Still, there's no denying that DJ Q is a genuinely skilled producer, and one who knows his influences inside out—here's hoping that 2013 sees him living up to his obvious potential.