This blog is defunct! Check out my new music blog at Sonicrampage.org.
Gotta go out soon, so, having spent much of the evening uploading, here's a monstrous selection of stuff to check out. Don't say I don't spoil you! Btw, I promise that the next post will be non-jungle in orientation (although there's still plenty of tapes to rip).
First up, here's a wicked Grooverider tape from the same tape pack from which I ripped that Andy C tape earlier in the week. Lots of wicked tunes on this one, a much more modern-sounding selection than the previous tape, which is not surprising considering it was three years later; it's also somewhat saddening as this was at the real tail-end of dnb's true fertility. There's a bitter-sweet quality to these tunes for me - on the one hand I absolutely love them (the Andy C remix of 'Circles' that Groove drops on this tape is an all-time favorite), but on the other I know that this was right when the music hit the wall in terms of formula. By the year after this the sounds had barely budged from the stuff featured on this tape, after years of hyperspeed development, and that was it, jungle/drum n' bass's golden era was over. Of course, today it is more popular worldwide than ever, and dnb has established itself globally - there are now dnb scenes literally around the world. What was once, almost literally, purely a London sound is now international and, in a sense, this international market is now what drives it. It's great that it's taken off to the degree it has (and it's cool that people like Dillinja are now making pretty decent change off of the music); nothing makes me happier. Still, though, I can barely listen to the modern stuff, not because it is bad per se, just that it's no better, and often worse, than the sort of stuff Grooverider was playing when this tape was recorded eight years ago.
Here's a tape from a Dreamscape NYE party, with AWOL legend Dr S Gachet. Pretty decent tape (although there's better to come from the pack). Enjoy (I really have to go out, or I'd add some more).
As you can see, brand new look to this place. Since I've been away for so long, I figured it could do with a sprucing up. So, in the same stylee as Pearsall's Books (but with different colors), here it is.
The first item on the agenda is another tape rip, to go with yesterday's Andy C tape. This one is an absolutely awesome tape that I have absolutely no idea when I got it. As you can see from the image of the tape above, my actual physical copy is pretty badly beaten. All that I know for sure about this tape is that it was recorded sometime late in 1994 at a United Dance rave at The Rocket, which is the University of North London's student union on the Holloway Road in North London. This is probably one of my favorite tapes ever, and if you don't enjoy this, you need your head examined. It's Grooverider at the absolute height of his powers, dropping an absolute onslaught of hardstep classics, including 'Arsonist', 'The Angels Fell', 'Your Sound', 'Renegade Snares', and 'Lighter', amongst others. Awe-inspiring.
DJ SS - United (Grooverider Remix) - An absolute awesome remix by Groove of an SS tune. Rolling breaks, layers upon layers of them, undergird a solid rocking bass and spacey sounds, alternating snatches of incomprehensible female vocal interspersed with odd little sounds riding the gloriously choppy Amen breaks. Simple but superb.
Higher Sense - Cold Fresh Air (Remix) - Magical 1994 release from Moving Shadow. Sweetly sparkling melodies drop into deep sea bass pressure, the lightness giving way to an explosion of churning drum-led darkness, before switching back again (and back to the darkness again after that). One of the finest jungle records ever released. A truly inspirational record.
Dillinja - Brutal Bass - Always overshadowed by the two tunes it shared a release with, the all-time dancefloor classics 'Jah Know Ya Big' and 'The Angels Fell', this tune has held up remarkably well over the years. Far less immediate than the other two, this tune features some shuffly breaks and a few little sound effects, but nothing of the same dancefloor pummeling feel of the drums in the other two tracks featured tonight, but what it does have, in industrial quantities, is bass. This tune seems to be mostly about Dillinja testing out his ability to drop ridiculous basslines one after the other. If you have love bass (and you have understanding neighbors) you'll dig this tune.
Obviously, I put this blog on the back burner for several months, so, for anyone wandering back who doesn't also read my main blog (for which I've been finding decreasing motivation recently), you might be curious as to what I'm doing in London. Well, I decided to come back to London to go back to graduate school, and so I came back. This has also involved moving back in with my parents, which is somewhat pathetic at the age of 25 after having been gone for (more or less) six years, but if I can avoid paying London rents while I do this course, I see no reason not to.
One of the nice things about going home again, though, is being able to go through all of your old crap. In particular, what has been nice has been finding lots of my old rave tapes. So, since I am not feeling imaginative, but I am feeling generous, I have decided to rip these to mp3 out of a sense of general communal solidarity. We start today with a wicked Andy C tape from 1997.
Here's a scan of the tape pack cover (click for a full-size image):
As you'll see, this is not massively different from my own mix in the previous post, a pretty similar vibe all in all. I do have plenty more to come, having found all kinds of old jungle/dnb tapes, as well as some of yer proper gabba and hardcore techno! If anyone could let me know about the sound quality of this rip, I'd appreciate that too, as I spent a bit of time fiddling with the eq's on Soundforge to make it sound a little crisper as the tape, unsurprisingly, has degraded over time.
Yeah, it's been a ridiculously long time since I actually posted on this blog, but I'm back now, baby! To kick it off, here's a fresh mix of old stuff:
01. Tribe of Issachar feat. Top Cat - Champion Natty (Congo Natty)
02. MA3 - Those DJ's (Formation)
03. Prisoners of Technology - Trick of Technology Remix (Fresh Kutt)
04. Ganja Kru - Plague That Never Ends (Parousia)
05. DJ Red - Enta Da Dragon (Trouble On Vinyl)
06. Secret Weapon - Strange Dayz (Protocol)
07. DJ Die - Play It For Me (V Recordings)
08. Mask - Splurt (Dope Dragon)
09. Vinyl Syndicate - Man of Steal (Urban Takeover)
10. DJ Krust - Warhead (V Recordings)
11. Shanie - (You're Gonna) Miss My Face (Dillinja RMX) (Cyba)
12. Mampi Swift - Hi-Tek (Charge)
13. DJ Stretch - Do Or Die (Reinforced)
14. DJ Zinc feat. MC GQ - Bring the Danger (True Playa'z)
15. Substance - Rebuke You (Breakbeat Culture)
16. Renegade - Dark Soldier (Dread)
17. S.I.R. - The Fast Lane (Prohibition)
18. Gang Related & Mask - Tear It Up (Dope Dragon)
19. Smokey Joe - Freakin' With The Cut (Remix) (Smoker's Inc)
20. Alibi & Leo - The Don (Foundation)
21. Freestyles - Play The Game (True Playa'z)
22. Jay-Dee - Vocal Acrobatics (Mecca)
23. Origin Unknown - Lunar Bass (Ram)
24. Dillinja - Unexplored Terrain (V Recordings)
25. Dillinja - Thugs (Test)
26. Micky Finn & Aphrodite - Badass (Urban Takeover)
27. Ellis Dee feat. MC Fats - 97 Style (Saturday Night Mix) (Collusion)
When I first got into jungle in 1995 it was like being hit by a comet. I'd always been into science fiction, technology, all that kind of stuff, and suddenly, BOOM, here was the future in musical form. I'd been sort of aware of jungle for about a year, because you'd hear it flicking through the dials on the radio, sudden bursts of kinetic energy from the pirate stations, but I'd never really paid much attention to it. I was into heavy metal and punk and dance music, all dance music, was 'stupid fucking computer music' that 'doesn't take any talent to make'. Eventually, though, I became curious and started listening to the pirates. And the change was sudden, like a religious conversion. In a matter of weeks, I went from laughing at it as 'crackhead music' to, quite literally, listening to nothing else. I started saving up for decks and started spending pretty much everything I could scrounge up on my weekly pilgrimages to the basement of Blackmarket Records in Soho.
How devoted was I? Well, I didn't actually buy lunch at school in my last three years! My parents gave me £2 a day to buy lunch, but that was £10 a week...why spend that on food when that would buy you two twelves? So, I'd just have an apple or a banana that I'd brought from home, and then have a bowl of cereal when I got home.
Ten years later, jaded and all that, it's pretty difficult to imagine how passionate I once was about jungle. I used to daydream in class about everything that was coming out, scheming ways to get my hands on the latest white labels (at Blackmarket all the promos were kept under the counter, and it was all down to their mood as to whether they'd hook you up). This was before broadband, so it was a lot more difficult to keep track of all the dubplates floating around...today you can find out what a track is within a few minutes or, at worst, a couple of hours. Back then I used to phone up the pirate stations and beg them to tell me what particularly awesome tunes were.
What did I love so much about jungle? I guess the main thing, what really turned me on, was that at the time it seemed like the possibilities were literally endless. The music was changing and evolving seemingly at warp speed, and just by going into the record stores on a weekly basis and listening to all the new releases, or going up to Camden to pick up tape packs, you could chart out the development of the music, how new styles and new ideas were constantly forcing themselves to the forefront of peoples' minds. To someone like me, who'd previously been into punk/hardcore which, let's face it, changes at a glacial pace, this incredible fertility, this constant mutation, was just unbelievably exciting. Jungle/drum & bass seemed to offer everything, from light as a feather LTJ Bukem-style chilled tunes to ridiculous rave mayhem from the jump-up crew to the techstep/darkside tunes which sounded...well, like angry alien robots destroying the earth. It was an incredible time, like nothing I've experienced before or since with music.
The amazing thing about this music is how minimal it is, and yet so rich; some of the very greatest tunes, like DJ Krust's 'Warhead' that I've used here, consist of literally nothing besides drums and bass, and yet the producers were able to twist these basic elements into so many wonderful forms. This mix, and the darker follow-up that will be posted soon, is sort of an attempt on my part to showcase the broad horizons of jungle, the incredible voodoo magic that the producers could wrest from their samplers and computers.
This particular mix is mostly jump-up jungle. Why was it called 'jump-up'? Well, because it made you want to jump up and down in the rave! Pretty obvious, huh? I've tried to program it in a way that the transitions between the different styles work well, that they make sense as a whole to the listener, that as it transitions between some of the spikier party tunes to the more deep and minimal rollers and to the more abrasive hard-hitting stuff it all captures that sort of vibe that was particular to the era.
I hope you enjoy it!