As the undisputed Queen of Bassline, for two decades the name Big Ang has been synonymous with speedy basslines, rapturous breakdowns and right-in-the-feelings vocal samples. Big Ang creates the type of music that will have you raising your arms to the ceiling, eyes-closed in the sheer bliss of being alive; while simultaneously holding onto your mates for dear life, manically grinning like you’ve just got to the front of the Nemesis queue, having just realised exactly what you’ve gotten yourself into… unable to mutter anything but “phwoar”.
Never one to dwell in the limelight, this Yorkshire-born DJ and producer rose to prominence in the hey-day of Niche – but despite an esteemed tenure at the now defunct Sheffield nightspot, a UK Top 40 hit and an incomparable catalogue of the finest speed garage, bassline and organ house cuts this end of the M1 – Ang’s monumental contribution to dance music is often overlooked.
But as a new generation of bassline appreciators flood our nightclubs, Ang is getting some much-deserved recognition from speed- lovers nationwide. Recent years have seen her make an appearance on NTS’ UK Garage Evolutions, become the muse behind the “Big Ang Forever” Donk Wear t-shirt, and 2023 will see her make an appearance on Interplanetary Criminal‘s UK tour. Thankfully, for all of our sakes, it looks like our dancefloors are going to get Bigger and Ang-ier than ever.
So there’s never been a better time to swot up on the illustrious discography of one of the North’s true G.O.A.Ts. There’s the serotonin-laden vocals of ‘Sunshine‘ and the nostalgia-inducing ‘Wifey For Lifey‘, alongside some downright naughty bootlegs and Niche-destined reworks.
Check out our 12 favourite Big Ang bassline bangers below:
As good an introduction as any to the Big Ang touch, ‘U Sure Do‘ from Ang’s 2021 ‘White Label Collection‘ cuts between the Donna Allen sample from Strike’s 1994 Eurodance banger of the same name and some good old fashioned speed garage thuds — adding an extra dimension with twinkling chimes and synths so atmospheric they’d have Overmono petting their Dobermans in contemplation.
There’s no Big Ang quite like Niche Big Ang, and this Akon ‘Locked Up‘ rework is among the cream of the crop. A bassline warper if you’ve ever heard one, Ang turns up the tempo with fizzling pads and big clubland trance stabs — leaving herself plenty room for an obligatory alarm. Dare you to give this one listen and not be chanting “won’t let me out” under your breath for the next week.
A true titan of noughties clubland, the soundtrack to a generation of first-time clubbers, the battle cry of every Northern 12-year-old with an MSN account and the foundation of one thousand chipmunk edits. Reaching #29 in the UK Top 40, 2004’s ‘It’s over for now’ would see in Big Ang’s biggest chart success and secure her position as a UK dance icon. The silky vocals of Siobhan lamenting a cheating partner are layered above a frenetic bassline and more bolshy drops than you can waft a wrist at. A classic for a reason!
Are you having a bad day? Things just not going your way? Feeling very S.A.D and just want to have that Vit D feeling? Well look no further, Big Ang has – as always – got you covered. This rowdy rework of Infinity’s ‘Sunshine‘ ft. Duane Harden complete with shuffling speed garage bass drums and satisfying organ stabs is destined to cure all that ails you.
Read this next: Spotify playlist: 25 classic bassline tracks
Melding high-pitched organ stabs, rowdy 4/4 kicks and the seductive vocals from Usher’s 2002 track ‘U Don’t Have to Call‘ — this classic Niche bootleg has lasted the test of time. As applicable to a sun drenched park session as it is for a dark basement, this is old skool Big Ang at her finest.
If you were to look up “organ bassline” in the dictionary, you probably wouldn’t find it to be honest. But if you did, this dopamine-inducing banger from Ang’s 2003 ‘Episode 5‘ release would surely be plastered beneath it. Full of soul-affirming synths, trickling organ taps and a vocal sample from King Unique’s ‘Look Ahead‘ rendition ‘Love Is What You Need‘ — ‘Happy Times’ is equal parts riotous bassline as it is euphoric house.
Bolshy kicks? Check. A huge diva vocal sample from house legend Martha Walsh? Check. Decadent hats? Check. Those trickling synths that wash over your body like a warm shower on a cold Monday morning? Check. All are fantastic elements for a track to have, but placing a wobbly bassline straight through the middle of it all? You’ve got a masterpiece on your hands. Enter ‘Catch the light’ from Ang’s 2002 EP ‘Episode 4‘.
Destined for bombing it down the motorway to your mates house in anticipation of a Big Night Out, ‘Sexy Eyes‘ is doors open Big Ang at her finest. There are multiple renditions of this collaboration with vocalist and songwriter Micha, but the softer ‘organ remix’ – with its beaming piano house and shuffling bass are layered beneath a delicate, seductive female vocal – is the one that sticks with us the most.
Read this next: 16 of the best uplifting vocal garage tracks
Did you ever listen to the big, impactful kicks of Roger Sanchez’s ‘You Can’t Change Me‘ and think: “Well, these could really be sped -up by by at least 150%?” No? Well, Big Ang did it anyway. Transforming the 2001 dance classic into a raucous speed garage floorfiller, ‘U Can’t Change Me’ is primed and ready for a 4:AM drop. “It’s so good“
A favourite of fellow Yorkshire legend Mella Dee, ‘Step to Me’ is evocative of hazy morning warehouses and finger linking your pals to silently communicate that you’re not ready to leave just yet. Warm trance synths, eerie chimes and frantic hi-hats dance elegantly around the track’s central – and most important – feature, a proper woiby bassline. Rave bliss if we’ve ever heard it.
There are tracks that upon first listen you’re shocked that you’ve never heard them before, and there are tracks that upon first listen you feel as if you never want to listen to anything else ever again. Ang’s remix of house-meets-speed-garage banger Isko ‘Rent’ ft. Siobhan – itself a rendition of Gwen Guthries’ beloved R&B track ‘Ain’t Nothing Going On‘ – with its rustling bass, warm kicks and gratifying piano riff is both. As warm as it is naughty, we’ve probably listened to this 100 times and it still isn’t enough. You’ve been warned.
While Ang’s other big collaboration with Siobhan ‘It’s Over For Now’ was the unofficial early noughties MSN anthem, ‘Wifey For Lifey’ placed her as the Shakespeare of any girl on the bus home from seeing the boy they fancy. Best heard blasted out of a pink Motorola Razr while looking pensively out of the window, no other track could put your delicate, newfound romantic feelings into words in such a way. Now as adults, it’s time to appreciate Ang’s bassline version — stirring synths, truly poignant lyrics and the wobbliest of wobbly basslines.
Megan Townsend is Mixmag’s Deputy Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins