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Since writing up Friday's jungle post I've really been enjoying listening to some of my old tunes again, so here are some more mp3's. Annoyingly, most of the stuff I have is on vinyl, so I've ripped a couple of tunes out of old mixes of mine and used stuff I've ripped from cd as well. I hope you enjoy the tunes.
This is actually from a French compilation called Sourcelab 2 that I picked up in the summer of 1996 when I was visiting family in Switzerland. I know little about the actual artist, but this has always been a personal favorite, a real hidden gem of a tune. It combines wonderfully intricate drum programming with a lovely deep vibe. Ok, those sweeping melodic pads are one of the biggest cliches of electronic music, but I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. What can I say? They get me every time.
This is another deep tune. This one comes from a 1996 compilation called The Revolutionary Generation that came out on Moving Shadow. Moving Shadow is one of the epochal labels, that had been around since the very earliest days of the breakbeat hardcore scene. It has been at the center of UK breakbeat culture from the earliest days of the hardcore rave scene, and has participated in all of the shifts that the music has seen (well, with the exception of grime) from breakbeat hardcore to darkside to jungle to (intelligent/techstep) drum n' bass through to today's drum n' bass and nu skool breaks. They've released a huge amount of major anthems over the years, but this isn't one of them. The Revolutionary Generation was a compilation of releases by a group of friends from West London (the Wax Doctor, Alex Reece, DJ Pulse) who were at the time at the forefront of the development of the deeper, ambient-influenced, less immediately dancefloor side of jungle/drum n' bass.
On a slightly tougher tip, this is a classic release from Dillinja, one of the key figures in jungle/drum n' bass. Between roughly 1993 and 1997 Dillinja released a string of absolutely classic releases under a range of aliases (including Dillinja, Capone, Cybotron, Trinity, and The Specialist). These days he releases straightforward head-bangers that aren't even the slightest bit as good as his old tunes like 'Sovereign Melody', 'Silver Blade', 'Light Years', 'Threshold', 'Deadly Deep Subs', 'Friday', 'Deep and Rolling', 'The Angels Fell' and 'Massive' (to name but a few of what would otherwise be a very very long list). I think part of the problem with Dillinja is that he started dj-ing and then he adapted his style to more obvious dancefloor bangers from when he was just a producer, as well as the fact that drum n' bass itself narrowed its scope down to being straightforward rave music. Straightforward rave music is fine (hell, I love one-dimensional rave mania) but I've always thought it unfortunate that jungle went in that direction, because at one point it was so much more.
This is one of my favorite jump-up jungle tunes. Jump-up was called jump-up because it was music that, well, made you want to jump up and down like a loon when you were in a club/rave. While in the early years of jungle's emergence, in 1993/94, vocal samples were usually taken from ragga records, by 1996 producers had moved on to sourcing vocal samples from American hip-hop records. There were also a few stylistic changes from the tunes of a couple years before. For one thing, the beats had by 1996 become a lot more streamlined, 'rollers' as they were called, and the bass lines were being twisted in much more inventive ways from the simple body-blow 808 one note basslines that had been all the rage in 1994. This tune was made by East London's DJ Hype (pictured) who has always been one of the biggest crowd-pleaser dj's. This tune itself was never a particularly huge one, but it's one I've always really loved ever since I bought it when it came out. I love the fact that it has a couple of different basslines and that the beats shift around dramatically. This sample was ripped out of a mix I made about a year or two ago of some of my old jungle records, which I could post in its entirety if anyone is interested?
This, on the other hand, was an absolutely huge tune, a totally inescapable anthem. The original mix had been a huge tune, but this just took things further. This was one of the first tunes to really foreground the use of a robotically funky two-step rhythm, with only the occassional blasts of the Amen break to hint at jungle's one-time rhythmic complexity. This is an awesome tune, but it was one of the tunes that was probably the beginning of the end of my love affair with jungle/drum n' bass. That beat, that simple clipped 2-step rhythm was soon everywhere and drum n' bass retreated into being a series of dark, angsty dirges over that lolloping beat. So, with drum n' based reduced to a monochrome lurch that was devoid of ravey cheese, I got bored and started listening full-time to acid techno and nu-nrg, two genres of music that, however little they could compete with the best of jungle for musical invention, never forgot that they were forms of rave music and were there to, at least partly, entertain crowds.