History of Jungle / Drum & Bass - Unknown author 1998
Breakbeat was an underground music which had originally come in from the USA in the late 1970s. Frankie Bones, at his early DJ-ing stage had created breakbeat irregular music, whereby he had overlapped two same records on turn-table decks at slightly different speeds and slightly delayed. This would create asynchronous beat, which would drive the crowd crazy. His track named "Bones Breaks" was a pioneer if not discovererof breakbeat which has remained strictly underground since. In the late 80s, house scene erupted in UK, especially in London. As house scene had progressed, the ecstasy rave culture had emerged from the youth, suppressing the football hooliganism. House from one side and breakbeat from the other side had created a combination, which later led to production of what was called jungle and what is now called drum & bass.
It was around 1990, when jungle started emerging from the general dance scene. Kickin' and Shut up & Dance record labels started fusing breakbeat, house, hip-hop, reggae, techno and most importantly dub to produce what they called Jungle. In fact the name originates from one of the experimental clubs in London, called "Jungle" where the first fusion experiments were played. The term "jungle", though, had remained in the underground until 1993.
DJ Hype creates breakbeat feeling by mixing house and hip hop at 45 rpm on Phantasy FM. Later co-produces some of the first jungle tracks under the name The Scientist, with the tracks like "Excorcist" and "The Bee". Telepathy - one of the first hardcore jungle clubs kick starts in November. Mickey Finn creates the track Bionic Man, which uses the same idea as the Excorcist. 1992 was the year when the hardcore music was peaking.
Jungle was often confused with hardcore, which was quite similar at the time, but was directed more towards 4/4 base beat, rather than looped asynchronous rhythm. Jungle had just made its way to a larger audience, while hardcore was a total novice to the dance scene. Both jungle and hardcore were played at the same raves and sometimes the artists didn't even know whether the track they made was jungle or hardcore. Both of the styles were co-existing under one roof and so there was no separate jungle scene.
Johnny Jungle (today known as Pascal) had released a hit called "Johnny" which was a beginning of the new era. Johnny L created "Hurt You So" on XL recordgins, which highlighted the breaks out of the hardcore formula. 4Hero, LTJ Bukem, Grooverider, DJ Hype and other future jungle producers started heading in the new breaks direction. The true jungle was ahead.
1993 was the end of confusion. Hardcore and the twin brother happy hardcore moved towards a more progressive rhythm, while Jungle remained on the breakbeat side. Though still reminiscent of 1992, artists such as Wax Doctor, headed the darker bassline sounds. At that point, jungle had finally gained its own identity - dedicated club venues such as Roast, Roller Express, Telepathy and Desire start operating on a weekly basis. Andy C comes up with the "Valley Of The Shadows" - the timeless jungle hit. Ed Rush throws the darkcore "Bloodclot Attack" while LTJ Bukem rolls out the ambient "Music". It was, not to understate, Moving Shadow's year. Artists such as Omni Trio stormed the jungle scene with the "Renegade Snares" and Foul Play remixed it even better, leaving it in our minds forever. As the producers moved away from hardcore towards breakbeat, their technical skills grew, which had relieved jungle of the ordinary mockery of the speeded up vocals.
1994 was the peak of Jungle. The clubs such as AWOL (A Way Of Life), Jungle Rush, Jungle Fever, Thunder And Joy, Roast and Thrust were spinning jungle on full. This year, jungle was most influenced by ragga basslines and rasta vocals. This was a revitalised year of jungle rave madness. Dream Team (Bizzy B. and DJ Pugwash) came up with the track "Yeah Man" which remained on the pirate stations for another 4 months. DJ Hype along with DJ Zinc and Pascal created an label called Ganja, which later became one of the major labels on the scene.
The number of jungle pirate stations had enormously increased. Kool FM pirate station was the main source of jungle refreshment to the crowd. Although raided more than 5 times, it still kept going strong. Jungle managed to conserve what rave had lost two years before. Krome and Mr. Time had made a classic, legendary track called "The Licence" with the sample of Papa-Levi & Saxon Sound - a track which made the crowd go hyper.
The jungle atmosphere remained fresh and happy. The phenomenon was purely London based and had no equivalent anywhere. Labels like Tearin Vinyl, Rugged Vinyl, Ganja Kru, Joker, Reinforced, Certificate 18, Photek Recordings, Prototype, Liftin Spirit and Ram were a refreshing source of jungle music. DJ Rap at her label, Proper Talent had created a symbolic ragga influenced track "Intelligent Woman" with vocals by Candy. DJ Hype rolls out "Tiger Style", while Dillinja brings a mellow track named "Sovereign Melody".
By that time, even Fantazia and Telstar had realised, that jungle was very popular, which led to production of the compilations called "Fantazia takes you into the Jungle" and "Jungle Mania" by Telstar. A mad junglistic rave named "Telepathy" provided the unforgettable experience for many. World Dance's main arena now becomes jungle oriented. At the end of the year, a daughter style started developing. Under the name "Drum & Bass" - representative of the Jungle's content, the style was directed at the new school technique to approach the same concept of music.
Among the creators, strongly stood the DJs such as LTJ Bukem, Fabio, Doc Scott, Grooverider, Photek and Dillinja, who had changed their direction towards a fresher sound and greater acoustic effects. At first, though, Drum & Bass remained along the same strands as jungle, which still makes people confuse both these days. It is easier to look as one being the continuation of the other, rather than worry which is which. As Drum & Bass slowly but steadily was heading its slightly different way, jungle kept rinsing out the underground culture.
1995 - Rolling tune is being invented. P-Funk's "P-Funk Era" is the tune to define the rolling future. Rude bwoy style overwhelmed the jungle scene: DJ Krust comes up with a deadly track 'Set Speed' along with 'Angels' - "When you can't see the angels no more, you're in trouble!"; Firefox rolls out 'Bonanza Kid' while Urban Shakedown brings "The Arsonist" with its ragga influenced vocals. Though rougher, the atmosphere remained similar to 1994.
1995 was also the year of commercialisation. Goldie had released 'Timeless', which sold 150,000 in UK, let alone worldwide sales. Goldie then concentrated on creating his own label called Metalheadz. Here the junglist DJ Dextrous reveals himself as J Majik. Goldie gathered the artists such as Doc Scott, Dillinja, Photek, Peshay and Lemon D, to push drum & bass. 4 Hero releases the remix of their legendary track "Mr Kirk's Nightmare". Towards the end of 1995, the jungle atmosphere started disappearing. It is generally thought, that the scene's decline was caused by the swing the leading artists made, in order to catch up with developing commercial mainstream. DJs generally wanted to take up their niches in the new commercial sphere, before it was too late. The concept of underground was somehow betrayed for money. Despite this changeover, jungle kept on going. At the beginning of 1996, clubs like AWOL and Roast were demised. Club DLB was one of the few left to keep feeding fuel into the jungle's fading fire.
1996 was also the year of drum 'n' bass style splitting. Grooverider's term "Hardstep" gains mainstream acceptance, which was a further re-fusion of jungle and hip-hop (what was earlier called the roller tune). The "step" was a rougher, stronger beat, and had more in common with 4/4 rhythm than breakbeat. Most people think that No U Turn should be credited for Techstep, which is in fact wrong. It was an album released on Emotif records (A daughter label of the now closed S.O.U.R) in 1995 entitled "Techsteppin'" that defined both the term and the music. The No-U-Turn posses fiddled with the "Terrorist" bassline (Ray Keith's 94 classic) to make it sound more acidic and analogue - the element that is most present in Drum & Bass today, and placed it over a tech-step 4/4 pumping technoid beat.
"Intelligent drum & bass" classified tracks, which had ambient/jazz licks on top. "Dark" or "Darkstep" drum & bass was pushed by Grooverider, where the name speaks for itself. "Experimental" drum & bass had never really caught up from the underground, and remained a sphere where drum & bass couldn't really be defined by any of the terms above, jungle was pushed to the back by drum & bass. Logical Progression takes it by storm nationwide, yet Good Looking is nearly at a point of bankrupcy. Adam F comes up with the legendary track "Circles", "Valley of the Shadows" known to most people as "31 seconds" by Origin Unknown gets re-released on Ram and becomes one of the years jungle anthems. The 96/97 New Year parties were somewhat reminiscent of 94 and 95 new years' eves, but have nearly lost the jungle atmosphere.
1997 - Drum & bass DJs are booked for house oriented clubs; Ministry of Sound has drum & bass sessions. What's going on? Roni Size forms a Reprazent campus, where DJ Die, DJ Suv, Krust and Roni Size come together. Roni size releases a track entitled "Share The Fall", immediately followed by Grooverider's dark remix.
Different styles of drum & bass are heading in their own directions. Roni Size's "Brown Paper Bag" becomes an anthem immediately after its release. There are many newcomers to the scene such as Boymerang. LTJ Bukem has teamed up with Blame to present Logical Progression 2. Techstep seems to be the ultimate style of the year, with Jonny L resurfacing from the past, and bringing the hardcore "Piper". DJ Krust's "Soul In Motion" is released after being 15 months on dubplate.
The jungle breaks (amens) as we know them had totally disappeared from most tunes, making it quite hard to find a tune odd one out. World Dance put on their "last" (as they said) rave at Lydd Airport. "Here is your last chance before another chapter in 'Rave History' comes to an end!" say their adverts posted around London. 5 Telepathy Raves and Last Innovation Ever is held at the Camden Palace on August 30th. Goldie's album, originally planned for the summer gets delayed. Goldie walks out on Rob Playford.
But in 1997 there were labels, that tried to overcome the "fashion" - Juice, Splash, Back 2 Basics and Second movement kept releasing the tracks that were hard and underground - MTS' "Hard Disk", New Concepts 14.98 and many other hard amen tracks including Dom & Rolands excellent work which was surprisingly overlooked.
1998 -End of style-splitting. The scene is back together, finally. Nothing is techstep, hardstep, intelligent etc. etc. it's all drum & bass. And, together with that, the amens are coming back: labels like True Playaz, Frontline, Juice, Splash, Timeless, Dread start putting out break tunes - Slow Down, the Real Vibes album and the never forgotten top tune Frozen Remix by Dom & Roland. The Labyrinth was nearly shut but then moved to the Pleasure Rooms in Tottenham, meaning it would hit it's 10th birthday and still provide the best line ups. DJ Ron makes the finest comeback with the Future Dubwise E.P.
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