_ Jungle fever
Bethan Cole hacks her way through the impenetrable world of esoteric dance music to discover a new variation of the rhythmic theme.
Jungle techno is hurtling out of the dance underground at over 160 beats per minute and into the national charts and consciousness. In London this is being hailed, inevitably. as the summer ofjungle. yet the ragga ‘Booyaka' cries of General Levy and M Beat are just one facet of a burgeoning new wave of hardcore breakbeat.
Breakbeat has had a chequered musical history. What started out as a hip hop drum sequence was speeded up and pulverised with samples by Shut Up And Dance in 1989. By the early 90s XL‘s The Prodigy and Liquid had taken hardcore beats into the charts. When rave became commercial. jungle was the music that went underground and took inspiration from dub and sound system culture to create a totally new style. The music being labelled ‘jungle' today covers a diverse array of styles from the dub plates and rewinds of Foul Play to the spatial depth of DJ Crystl and the soul-jazz percussion of4 Hero.
Musically. the new wave of hardcore breakbeat is light years away from the chipmunk samples and cheesy piano breaks of early 90s breakbeat tracks. Forget the cries of ‘Top one. nice one. get on one', the new school of drum ’n‘ bass forge oblique soundscapes from live instruments. Omni Trio ﬁgure far closer musically to Steve Reich than the early 90s sampledom of Altem 8.
Rob Haigh, the man behind Omni Trio and the three sublimer abstract EPs Volume Two, Three and Four explains his fomiative inﬂuences: ‘The first record 1 owned was an LP my older sister gave me by Faust [German experimental band]. i played it again recently — it had lots of disembodied voices. weird sounds. strange instruments and distant pianos. i realised what a big inﬂuence it had been.’
The evidence of these experimental inﬂuences can be easily found on Omni Trio‘s Volume 4, where
rolling layers of percussion and peaks of shimmering melody move in and out of focus imperceptibly. ‘lt‘s a music to dance to but also to listen to,‘ continues Rob. ‘The potential for fusing the roughness and rush of drum and bass with musical and ambient ideas is unlimited. The essence ofjungle is progress and
4 Hero are another hardcore act for whom innovation is paramount. Their latest l’urul/el Universe double Ll’ juxtaposes soulful vocal tracks like ‘Universe ()f Love‘ with abstract percussive rewinds and jazz. out takes. ‘lt‘s about science.‘
Jungle DJ, KMC
l)J). but l)igo from 4 Hero doesn‘t see commercial success as necessarily a problem: ‘I just hope that the people who get signed are the people that can represent the scene properly.‘
Scotland has yet to succumb to the jungle fever gripping pans of England. The Scottish rave scene
. remains obstinately hostile to breakbeats and the
mere mention of the word jungle is enough to provoke a torrent of hostile letters to Clubscene or Respect. l)Js like Edinburgh‘s KMC have found themselves getting more work in England than in Scotland. ‘l’eople say l‘m a traitor. it‘sjust that the
explains 4 Hero‘s Digo. ‘and using the equipment to it‘s full potential.‘
The creativity of the jungle scene has ﬂourished while staying underground. Small independent labels like Moving Shadow. DJ Recordings. and Reinforced have allowed artists to plough very individual non— commercial paths. However the current momentum and popularity ofjungle has attracted the interest of the major record companies. Danny Donnelly has serious doubts about whether this is a positive thing: ‘Phonogram. even PWL. they‘re all chasing jungle tunes. They‘ve all got their cheque books out. It‘s
rave scene tip here is musically so had.‘ Refusing to play high octane commercial rave and opting instead for the ruff bass and sweeping orchestrations of much breakbeat. KMC is optimistic. believing change will come. ‘Jungle has yet to make its mark on Scotland but it‘s orin a matter oftirne.‘
(‘un'h K M C on the mix (1! Sent/and ‘sﬁrs! regular jungle night. everyﬁve weeks from Sat 9 July. ()pnz—ilum, The Tower liner/t. Selkirk. Watch out here come the drum?!
KMC’S JUNGLE TOP FIVE
worrying when you work so hard to build up
Ragga SUITS General Levy. Apache Indian and Cutty Ranks have all received the jungle treatment, Cutty
1. FBD Project: ‘Classified Listening’
2. Randall and Andy C: ‘Sound Control’
3. A One Sound (White Label) 4. Undercover Agent: ‘Barracuda’
Ranks has just been remixed by (.‘ioldie (top hardcore i 5. Fallen Angel (White label)
-_ Fleshed out
Flesh is the house guest round Love Boutiqoe’s place this week, but the chances of it saying please and thank you and offering to wash the dishes are pretty slim. At home once a month in the Hacienda, Manchester, its habits are gay and hedonistic;
outrageously camp, yet shockineg hard.
‘There isn’t really a club like it In England,’ says Flesh trontnian Paul Goes. ‘Even in London you have clubs
which play similar music, or trendy
Flesh llecords’s Roger
i gay clubs that tend to be their own
little crowd that’s local to them. Flesh attracts people from all over the country.’
And from all over the country they do come. At the last Flesh, the Brighton contingent was out in force, while the Glasgow gang had been saving their pennies all month to make the trip to Manchester in their schoolboy outfits.
When Flesh lands in Glasgow though, it is Love Boutique who’ll be mother. Despite being principally gay, the Boutique likes to be called a mixed club. Chez elle, however, Flesh refuses entry to ‘known heterosexuals’ and by heck they make sure. Away from their stamping ground however, they can’t be so dogmatic and have to mix with those ‘filthy heteros’. ‘Outside
Manchester and London, it’s the only way you can do it if you don’t want to end up with the sad traditional gay scene,’ admits Gons.
But Love Boutique prefers to go mixed. ‘lt’s better to do a night that’s seen as good and that people want to go to rather than saying it‘s a gay club. Love Boutique is different, it’s got cred,’ says head Boutiquer Graeme. Jon (Pleased Wimmln) is a regular feature of the club and the likes of Lily Savage and Jon Marsh (Beloved) have done their time partaking of a bit of Love.
Love Boutique welcomes Flesh DJ Mike lluxham and a live appearance by Roger (Flesh Records), alongside resident DJ Boy. The Arches, Glasgow on Saturday 2 July.
72m: List 1—14 July 1994