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Thread: On the subject of speed in Jungle

  1. #16

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    when i was musing on the "bass problem" earlier, i actually flashed on that david toop line you quoted in gen xstacy simon, something about bass returning to being "physically felt" rather than a "stun gun that hammers home the chord changes". (i'm probably brutalizing this.) the baroque riffery that constitutes modern dnb (a lot of that schaffel-like "swing" in stuff like pendulum seems to come from the bass, not the beats at all) seems to be what people are actually dancing to, and it is "instructing" them in a way...there's a lot fewer ways to move to it. (plus if you were actually dancing to those toppermost snares you'd have to be whacked out of your mind on drugz not to get exhausted within the first 20 mins.)

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    Yet at the same time- the bass is so subtle in good jungle, it hints at melodies but never expliticly states them; it's a rumble drifting in and out of the track, giving a vague sense of physical space but not defining the dimensions/structure of the track in any way. It stands outside the track, intruding....

    It's a paradox innit- the bass is so fundamental, yet so ineffable.

  3. #18

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    there's a paradox tune (forthcoming?...it was on that knowledge mix) on bassbin that plays that modern dillinja bass-riff against a chopped up "apache" and it actually works really well. it's almost as if when dnb works well these days its as if the two components have traded places!

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    Default toop on d&b, mystery bass

    your memory's pretty sharp then, dubz, i think you got it word for word

    toop nailed it with that observation i think, in the review he also compared it to jazz, it was a specific phase of jazz (hard bop maybe) and he likened the bass in jungle to "dropping the bomb", which if i remember is a style of playing the drums -- perhaps the jazz-schooled can enlighten further?

    one thing about the bass in a lot of the classic jungle is that it's both the bedrock of the tune and also this unstable, trepidatious presence -- it frees up the drums to go haywire but it's not entirely a solid foundation itself

    and yeah, it's melodic, you want to sing the bass parts

    mind you there's drum breaks that are singable too

    total music innit

    toop said another good thing in that review, which was of some d&b comp, he said that jungle was actually a lot more musical/muso than some of the more utterly posthuman kinds of electronic dance like certain kinds of house and techno

    that makes sense so long as you don't limit "musical" to obviously muso-/jazzbo sectors of d&b like the bukem/fabio end of it, but include raggAmen, jump up etc

    there were tunes that only consisted of drums and basslines and were intensely musical , way more than other ones that had a nice rhodes sound and jazzoid chords and signposted their musicality thusly

    i'm preaching to the choir here i imagine

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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    the bass thing is central, there was phase in ardkore/early "jungle techno" as they briefly called it when the fast breaks were coming in but the basslines were really frantic and agitated, basically the same tempo as the drums, i call them bippety basslines, a good example is "Rush in the House" by Xenophobia. i love that style but it's quite linear. and then suddenly the bass dropped in tempo, the split-lane thing came in, and the musical relationships of bass to drums go incredibly interesting and, well, musical. that's almost like the best thing ever in music for me, the way those B-line move around the beat.
    yeah, some jungle tunes, the combination of the beats and the bass were like some intricate clockwork machine ticking at different tempos but somehow all aligned in the same purpose. but i'd disagree that the half tempo bass came in very late in jungles development. there were lots of 'ardkore tracks with that slow bass, genaside ii "narra mine" immediately springs to mind, and that was released in 1991!

    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    don't know enough musicologically to define it but strikes me as similar to jazz. and the emotions the bass could communicate opened up -- no longer were they just rushy and E-buzzy, they could communicate trepidation, and/or menace, or a warm "adult" sensuality a la bukem-style
    again agreed, but even if they suggested trepidation i found that buzzy at the time. even the darkest 'ardkore was rushy through its sheer nastiness.

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    Possibly dropping the bomb is a reference to the Art Blakey school of drumming, where you mash-up the linear flow of hard bop by smacking the bass drum really hard on an off-key moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bassnation
    . but i'd disagree that the half tempo bass came in very late in jungles development. there were lots of 'ardkore tracks with that slow bass, genaside ii "narra mine" immediately springs to mind, and that was released in 1991!
    yeah all these trends overlap, one thing is fading out as another comes in, there are way ahead of the game precursors and way-late examples of any sub-style. but there definitely a moment when the bippety bass thing pretty much dropped away entirely in favor of slow-and-low basslines

    as well as genaside, another early slow b-line thing was this oozy sinewave type basspresha style that came in -- with urban shakedown 'some justice' a prime example


    Quote Originally Posted by bassnation
    . again agreed, but even if they suggested trepidation i found that buzzy at the time. even the darkest 'ardkore was rushy through its sheer nastiness.
    agreed, i suppose it's how you define a rush, it's all different kinds of rush.... but there was a moment when the feel in the music, supported by the basslines, was all hectic and i've taken lots of pills and i'm exploding with gladness (but also feel a bit borderline panicky), to something more probing and deep'n'dark and sensi-oriented --


    yeah i think Art Blakey and that stray bassdrum kick thing is what toop was talking about

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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    as well as genaside, another early slow b-line thing was this oozy sinewave type basspresha style that came in -- with urban shakedown 'some justice' a prime example
    that track was way ahead of its time (possibly along with lenny de ice "we are ie" as a sign of things to come with jungle). but what ever happened to them? didn't they release a so-so album and then disappear into obscurity?

    i've been listening to a lot of bleep hardcore recently like fantasy ufo - a complete rip of lfo in some ways but that bass just makes the room shake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bassnation
    that track was way ahead of its time (possibly along with lenny de ice "we are ie" as a sign of things to come with jungle). but what ever happened to them? didn't they release a so-so album and then disappear into obscurity?

    i've been listening to a lot of bleep hardcore recently like fantasy ufo - a complete rip of lfo in some ways but that bass just makes the room shake.
    Lennie De Ice ran a label in the mid-90's called Do Or Die.

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    I read some where that a major factor in the development of darker, techier (and faster) styles of hardcore and dnb was literally speed, in that it became faster and darker as the amphetamine level in pills increased...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bassnation
    i've been listening to a lot of bleep hardcore recently like fantasy ufo - a complete rip of lfo in some ways but that bass just makes the room shake.
    the marc ryder stuff is generally first rate -- wish i could find more of it here in new york

    have you heard "mine, body, soul" by fantasy ufo -- came out in 91 on strictly underground -- it's got the "warm" rolling sub bass action going on, if slightly primitive -- and a rapper and a singer -- so definitely NOT an lfo rip off

    the track on xl, however, is a definite rip off, except for the sub bass

    but in general, marc ryder always has good basslines, whether he's doing "house" or "jungle" or "bleep 'n' bass"
    Last edited by dominic; 10-02-2005 at 10:29 PM.

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    as far as genocide goes, wu tang clan did a remix of "narra mine" in 95 . . . . so just as a lot of the bristol acts hooked up with wu tang, evidently genocide did too

  13. #28
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    also, while we're on the subject of early jungle, what do people thing of 91/92 era mute records???

    i realize that mute was a major (or at least not underground) label, but i think a lot of the junglistic mute stuff is brilliant. have a cassette comp somewhere deep in my closet called "paroxysm," every track is out of sight. includes "comin on strong" and ur's "adrenalin." also stuff like "acid bitch," "point of greatest intensity," "baboo," "this is the choice of a new generation" . . . . in short, i'd pay a lot money for this comp if i found it on vinyl

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    Sub bass IS more ineffable, and therefore harder to quantify - which in turn makes it harder to mass-produce, market and sell - especially to the whiter rock/trance crowd that got into d+b from 97 on.

    Mid-range, by contrast, is IMO the most immediately arresting of the frequency ranges and hence the biggest/loudest/hardest/most obvious button to press to get a reaction. As the 'science' of drum n bass production lost its voodoo magic and became fully industrialised, the subs got replaced by so-called midrange 'basslines' (as pioneered by Ed Rush/Optical) - which simultaneously functioned as melodic hooks to lead an audience unversed in Jungle's often-complex rhythmic melodics.

    A couple of other points:

    Junglists complained about drill n bass's speed for sure4 - and the irony is obvious when you check out d+B today. However a further complaint (levelled at Amon Tobin too if I remember right) was that the music was too busy - too crammed full of ideas - and essentially useless i.e. it played with the conventions but deliberately upset them in order to express its disregard for the functionality of dance music. So there was a lot more separating drill n bass from jungle / d+b at the time (94/-96) than simple tempo, IMO.

    We had Ed Rush & Nico over to Dublin in 96 - around the period when N-U-T was peaking - and I distinctly remember me and a mate raving about Nico's collaboration as/with Doppelganger ('Days Gone') - a moody roller feat. his trademark fat Led Zepp breaks... we were bigging it up but experiencing a little trouble getting it in the mix with the other stuff that as about then, hence we were jokingly telling him to 'speed it up a bit', and I well remember him paqying close attention to this request - making a mental note as if to say... "OK, the djs are saying: "make it faster"... so I will!"

    Nico liked the idea that the tunes he was producing were Dj-led in arrangment. And indeed, the ascent of the producer over the DJ in d+b had a huge impact on the music - I remember both Shy FX and BLIM commenting how they both used to make quite different music until they started to play out regularly - and on how the kids wanted to hear more 'hardstep' (i.e. kick snare, kick-snare music). Also - from 97 on, the way to make money in d+b was through making enough big tunes to start getting DJ bookings, and as many of the producers couldn't mix for shit, they concentrated on refining the science of making the crowd scream louder at the appropriate junctures....

    D+b's industrial phase (think Rob + Dom on Shadow #100) had scared off the 'urban' crowd (with both their attendant troublemakers and their flavoursome vibe in tow) and hence by 97, the music now came to resemble something more like techno, with a linear structure and a soundscape of mid-range 'rock' noise.

    Hence bad Company - and hence everything that followed since.

  15. #30
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    that's really interesting stuff Naphta

    it's funny how this quite vast and nuanced body of knowledge has accumulated to explain why jungle/d&b went shit!

    it'd almost be interesting to see the opposite view, a defence from someone who got into it AFTER its decline

    i know jess has made some defences of nuskool d&b and not just the choppage/breakage revival stuff, but he's also an original raggAmen type, it'd be quite interesting to get the view from someone who PREFERS the post-97 stuff

    also be interesting to posit an alternate history path -- how jungle could have gone and kept moving that wouldn't have been such a boshy dead end

    i suppose 2step is actually that path, maybe.

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