Two-Step Compilation Coming In May

Latest English dance craze showcased on V2 Records' Vital 2Step, featuring Artful Dodger, Craig David.

England's latest dance music craze will gain another foothold in the U.S., with the May 15 release of V2 Records' two-step compilation, Vital 2Step.

The album follows the November release of Artful Dodger's acclaimed Re-Rewind, which marked the genre's domestic debut.

Two-step — named for having two beats per bar, rather than the four beats standard for rock or techno — is a mix of drum'n'bass and R&B. It has already made acts such as Artful Dodger, Craig David and MJ Cole overseas superstars.

The genre, also known as U.K. garage, is expected to have more Stateside success than past forgotten U.K. dance trends because of its roots in American music, according to V2 A&R head Steven Abbott.

"It's really the first scene from over there that I thought would stand a chance here," Abbott said of two-step, which has similarities to music by Sisqó, Destiny's Child, Timbaland and Missy Elliott.

Vital 2Step, which Abbott compiled with England's legendary Black Market Records shop and their Azuli Records label, serves as an introduction to two-step and a platter of the genre's breaking tracks.

Artful Dodger's "Rewind" — which features Craig David on vocals and was two-step's first U.K. radio hit last summer — is featured on the album, along with Wookie's "Down on Me" and DJ Zinc's "138 Trek."

Other tracks, such as Groove Chronicle's "Millennium Funk," Capital T.'s "I Feel You" and Richie Dan's "Call It Fate," have only recently blown up in the U.K., Abbott said.

Vital 2Step was mixed by Black Market Records two-step specialist Lee Coffey and has been over a year in the making.

"I was in the U.K. last winter, and I went to a club in Redding that used to be a drum'n'bass place," said Abbott, an England native who moved to New York two years ago, because he was bored by the U.K. scene. "I was surprised to see everyone dressed up and drinking sex on the beaches and really getting into the music. 'Rewind' was playing and it was so dynamic."

Abbott approached Black Market Records, which has been at the forefront of every major dance music movement in the U.K. since 1987, and sure enough, they were compiling a two-step album. V2 jumped onboard and assisted in the daunting task of clearing the tracks they selected, many of which were independently released by artists who had never signed on to a compilation before.

"Two-step is great, because it has DJs working with artists," Abbott said. "Artful Dodger introduced Craig David, and now he's an even bigger star than they are. Two-step will probably fade out in a few years, but because it is song-based, I think it will expand into some new areas."