nine records keeping jungle’s spirit alive
We love jungle music. Here's nine artists who agree and continue to fly the nuttah flag, keeping the original rudebwoy rebellion alive.
There's no sound quite like UK Jungle. A definitive UK scene - borne from the underground - it embodied a culture and movement that slowly crawled its way into the mainstream consciousness. As British as fish and chips and as home-grown as your local weed shotter, who remembers brocking-out to classic tracks such as Renegade Snares, Valley of the Shadows and the mighty Incredible? Jungle's culture inevitably began to grow, as the sound shape-shifted and hybridised into a globally recognised music scene. Everything from jazz-influenced smoothness, to 'jump up' and even a micro-cosmic scene of MCs, the derivatives have been endless. Beneath all the sheen, it all began with Jungle music - D&B's untreated, original form. We all loved it and we still love it too.
It was so important to UK youth culture that the spirit, sound and influence are still being touched upon by today's electronic producers. Below, we've made our point further by picking 9 records that keep that original rudebwoy rebellion alive. Amen, brother.
DJ Rashad - I'm Too Hi (Taken from Double Cup LP) [Ninja Tune, 2013]
Long live the kingpin and undisputed ambassador for the Juke/Footwork scene, a Chicago based sound that soaked up various global strains of breaks influenced music. Although already akin to Jungle and its rough sound and even rougher production techniques, Rashad was an overriding force in melding it with wider sounds. I'm Too Hi sees them playing with amen-breaks and working them into a footwork template. Blessings!
AMIT - Too Many Freedoms
It required careful deliberation on which AMIT track to include in this 'listical'. The shadowy, dystopian producer has been sitting in the shadows as D&B splinters in micro-genres left, right and centre. An eerie, automated edge, the good time spirit of the original Jungle scene is perhaps lost within this deeply hypnotic and darkly strung monster. Still, its rhythmic attributes, raw sound quality and musical aesthetic echo the ruffer, tuffer side of the sound.
Lee Bannon - Value 10 (taken from Alternate/Endings LP) [Ninja Tune]
Bannon was originally a Hip Hop beat-maker, crafting ditties for the likes of Joey Bada$$. But the Sacramento producer refocused his attention to Jungle for his debut on Ninja Tune, in part a choppy and break-laden sound that defaced Hip Hop samples into frenetic, restless riddims.
Special Request - Special Request [Houndstooth, 2014]
Paul Woolford's been on the scene for TIME. Moving through House music and Techno, through periods of Dub-heavy dancefloor deviations and minimalist excursions, the Erotic Discourse producer has always been known for breaking boundaries and his steely approach to, well, pretty much everything. And guess what -- in 2014 he did just that with his Special Request project, capturing the essence of the good "old pirate radio stations that influenced him in his yoof".
Machinedrum - Gunshotta (From Vapor City LP) [Ninja Tune]
The mop-haired man from Brooklyn has carved out his own unique sound: a sharp electronic gilded knife that's indebted as much to the early Jungle tunes of the mid-90s as it is the current Footwork trends; in fact the whole Juke/Footwork scene echoes the raw energy and structures of Jungle riddims. The 'Machine' has also been around for time -- it only took six albums for him to finally unleash his percussive blasts -- but his Ninja Tune debut Vapor City is his ode to the ghost of Jungle past.
Squarepusher - 4001 (Taken from the album Ufabulum) [Warp, 2012]
A talented multi-instrumentalist and Jazz bassist, Squarepusher's canon of work varies from ambient tech to ragged, mechanised Jungle beats. His 2012 album, Ufabulum, saw him ramp up his sound and stage shows to a higher, more theatrical gear. Opening track, 4001, shows him revelling in his Jungle roots. By this point, the 'pusher's sound had become more synthetic, with melodic touches and sharp FX giving the music a gleaming, polished glaze. But holding it all together were high tempos and syncopated drums, remaining raw, arresting and resonating. MASSIVE!
Om Unit featuring moresounds - Nuff Music (Taken from Cosmology Vol 1) [Cosmic Bridge, 2014]
The futurist UK producer has been one of the hottest talents to arise in the last 18 months, with each of his releases sounding fresh, vitalic and original. In part, it's thanks to his signature 'slow/fast' sound, a melding of the likes of Dub, Jungle, Footwork and all the spaces in between, driven by their tempo and instantaneous key changes -- they're all regularly filled in by his Cosmic Bridge label. Taken from his Cosmology Vol.1 compilation (which also featured more jungle and electronic hybrids from the likes of Kromestar, EAN and Danny Scrilla), Nuff Music pays homage to the classic jungle era, whilst rebooting it with crisp flourishes and percussive touches.
Touchy Subject - Long Time (Taken from Ded Line EP) [Medallion Sounds, 2014}
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London based Steven Raines (aka Touchy Subject) shot to prominence with his recent Ded Line EP and past stints on NMBRS -- with Long Time flitting between Dub Reggae, and glitch, galvanised armour beats. It's a dynamic tune full of raw energy and restlessness. Wait until the drop halfway through and listen as the armour meets the 8-bit.
Rudimental - Rudimental [Asylum, 2015]
Now hold on, wait a minute. We know this article is about a raw, syncopated, no frills music borne from the underground… so why are we talking about mainstream festival act Rudimental? But hear us out -- although their music may seem like typecast cotton candy compared to the likes of Original Nuttah and Terrorist, every single release to date from these Hackney boys done good has topped the charts, plus they've played the main-stage at Glastonbury -- which probably makes them the most successful, peerless Drum & Bass act of all time. Hopefully, D&B's commercial success will push new listeners to further explore the roots of where the sound came from and the various doorways it opened.
Text Joe Gamp
Image via Friend Five