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Thread: On the subject of speed in Jungle

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    that's really interesting stuff Naphta
    One tries!

    it'd almost be interesting to see the opposite view, a defence from someone who got into it AFTER its decline
    I went through a stage of having all this out with die-hard nu-skool fans on forums such as DOA and DnB Arena for a couple of years. I really really wanted to bring it all out into the open especially - as so many people in the scene seemed to have capitulated to the new logic by that stage – to have given up on all the things that had made the music great (IMO).

    Apart from nearly giving me a fucking nervous breakdown, it did nothing to change my views of the woes of drum n bass - nor to persuade me that the path taken in 97 could muster anything substantial to justify itself - neither nu skool d+b's supposedly 'amazing production values' (i.e. everything super-compressed) nor its new-found dedication to 'servicing the dancefloor' (i.e. drops the same goddamn way every single time).

    Perhaps part of the problem was that I was usually arguing with kids with an average age of about 19 or something - fresh E-converts and wannabe rudeboys... hence the debates generally broke down right about the time that I would shock em with the revelation not only was nu-skool Dillinja BORING as fuck - but that even HE thought so too (Dillinja in interview c. 99/2000 "I stoped enjoying making drum n bass around 1997")…

    Y’see, at the end of the day, what argument could I muster to persuade these new kids that the version of drum n bass they'd been fed was pants by comparison with that which had gone before? There was none. They were as militant and righteous about their new musical love as I'd been in 94, and not a damn thing that I could say could influence them to think beyond that. I eventually learned that all you could really do was to try to lead by example - to inspire rather than lecture. A tough job though – it’s a nightmare to get airplay or distribution for any ‘drum n bass’ that doesn’t sounds like an angry child on steroids. Which is why I’ve gone back to making ‘Jungle’ J)

    As for the cynical industry heads who propagated the 2-step rhythm + mid-range melody in d+b, I've gotten myself into hot water with a few some before for daring to 'criticise the scene'. Upon further pressing however (i.e. on the rare occasions when such arguments actually get a little more airtime), I have generally succeeded in revealing such arguments to be shot full of holes... and indeed, to be nothing more than a thin smokescreen to cover the reality behind this nu-skool approach of standardising production i.e. of establishing production values that everyone in the scene is supposed to adhere to - RULES, if you will... the removal of any variables (a very military application of Jungle’s science) that might interfere with the FUNCTION of the music..

    Oddly, the notion that you might have to appeal to people’s imagination in order to inspire them to dance got lost… too many tired DJs on the road for too long playing the same sets to the same reactions.

    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
    BTW, I love loads of ragga/ old jump-up/rollidge - and even some of the occasional forays into that stuff from nu-skoolers (although the cliches tend to sound hollow when you stick on some vintage Remarc or Kemet Cru, for example).

    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'm working on it!

    i suppose 2step is actually that path, maybe.
    You mean as in 2-step garage? It certainly has a Jungle-tastic flavour to it I guess.... and if the vibe went anywhere, ity went here. Shame none of it is half as good as good Jungle though!

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naphta

    You mean as in 2-step garage? It certainly has a Jungle-tastic flavour to it I guess.... and if the vibe went anywhere, ity went here. Shame none of it is half as good as good Jungle though!
    Absolutely, I always liked the idea of 2-step more than I actually liked the music itself.

    I think that the main problem I had with the evolution of jungle/drum n' bass was the fact that, by 1998, it had all gone a bit emotionally monotone. It was heavy metal angst-breaks, and nothing but that. And the darkside stuff that had been so inspiring and powerful a couple years before was unimaginably tired. By that point there wasn't really any jump-up being made and Bukem had spun off to create his own little thing, so dnb nights were nothing but a succession of bash-yer-head-open stuff.

    The speed didn't help, either. Not that I dislike speed (I still love hardcore, and don't care what anyone thinks) but I thought that turning dnb into purely functional stomping rave music was kind of missing the point. If I want stuff to stomp like a manic loon to, I'll go listen to hardtrance or acid techno something like that, music styles that are better suited to Bacchanalian raving.

    Totally with you on Dillinja, how long has it been since he's released something that was even vaguely on a par with stuff like 'The Angels Fell' 'Deadly Deep Subs' or 'Light Years'?

  3. #33
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    Thelast decent tracks Dillinja released were 'Jah' (nothing to do with the Goldie track he co-produced) and 'Three Drops' on an EP for Chronic about 3 years ago - both merely alright and notable only for the fact that they weren't horrible and were somewhat Junglists in vibe by comparison with all his other shit. before that, I'd say the last decent one was 'Bongo Rock' (maybe 99) and before that, 'Acid Track' (97?). But none of that shit touches anything he did up to 'Friday' on Hardleaders - the last tune where it sounded like he might actually have been enjoying making d+b IMO...

    He recently fessed up to re-relreasing the same track over and over cos on Flight's show on Radio 1 - cos he 'has to make a living'. He then mentioned something about doing deeper shit again, and about how the stuff he made in 96 was his favourite style ('Silver Blade' etc.)... then, we heard about a track called '96 Thing' and boy did we get excited: Dilinja back on the block after all ths time?! Leading the way? Showing the kids what Junglism is all about? Not bloody likely.. said track turned out to be a chick wailing "96 thinggggg" over his standard character-less compression-fest.... BAH!

    And yet Dillinja - like so many others - claims that he wishes he could make the drum n bass that he REALLY likes. Which begs the question: why the fuck doesn't he?

    One answer alone holds true: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    it'd almost be interesting to see the opposite view, a defence from someone who got into it AFTER its decline
    96-99 for me.

    Might try and do something about that at some point - I still have mixed feelings about it all.

    I found it quite exciting at the time but after 3 months away I came back and couldn't get back into it...

  5. #35
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    First off, it's great to see this thread developing in so many different ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    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
    I've been working my head around how to make a defense of recent d&b for some time, but I'm not ready to post on it quite yet. This comes as a long overdue response to the dismissal of post '97 d&b that I've encountered for years in this constellation of blogs, and has always made me uncomfortable. A great deal of this discomfort is caused, truthfully, by the fact that I agree with the criticisms. What I'm struggling with is the fact that I only really found Jungle post '97 and in spite of my issues with its narrow-mindedness I loved it for a long time. The difficulty I have in constructing a defense is that the formal elements of recent d&b aren't what I want to defend. With few exceptions, all my favourite tracks are now from before this period. Rather, I want to argue that there is still something present in a proper Jungle night where the sense of chaos and disorientation caused by a top notch DJ still captures the ecstatic quality of the music in a powerful way. Many of the individual tracks may be formulaic but in the context of the mix, when the tracks are unknown to you as a dancer, there can be a lot of good voodoo left in Jungle.
    Bah! I'm uncomfortable trying to defend new d&b and risk sounding like an apologist for all the valid criticisms that Naphta and Simon Bliss are raising here. The fact of the matter is I haven't bought a 12" in a year at least, at the pickings felt slim for a while before then! What I guess I'm trying to do here is in some way justify (to who?) the years I spent loving Jungle despite its downward trajectory.

    On another note, Naphta from Dublin, eh? Big up yaself, cause you're doing some fantastic production work. When I was properly sick of Jungle but still DJing regularly, I hammered "One Squeeze" just about every set! Keep it coming, and shouts to all the Bassbin folks for pushing a true Jungle sound.

  6. #36

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    Large up Naphta, man is making some runnin' tunes..

    It's interesting that this came up as I just finished up a new jungle mix last night. First half is more recent, upfront shit from Amit, Digital and Future Prophecies. The other half starts with Dom's mix of Ice and runs through Rider's Ghost, drumz 95 , Subway and some ambient matrix on the flip of "to shape the future" before popping back into some new shit again. definite shift in speed over the mix, I ended up prolly going from 0 to +6 over 45 mins.

    Why the trip of almost ten years betwene certain tunes? Because I'm getting bored as piss with a lot of jungle. My issues with jungle have been expounded in this thread by others. Money. cookie cutter beats. Lots of sound and fury signifying, well, not alot. It's why my booking agency represents cats like Clever and UFO!, cuz they're doing something forward thinking and we're out to forward that.

    But, if the blogosphere needs to remember that there are good tunes being made still, despite the hype. I've been listening to the music since 95' and there's still shit that's out there that gets me as hyped up as the early Headz and Shadow bits did back in the day. They may not come along but there's still shit there, I know this if only because I'm playing out enoungh that i'm hunting all the time.

    It's never going to be as good as it used to be, that's the cliche. But wasn't jungle about future music anway?
    The Konspiracy Group:Sound/Word/Vision
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  7. #37
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    Default DJs killed D+B

    I definitely agree with all of the above criticisms of contemporary d+b.

    One thing my friend Timeblind (who has been on the rave scene for many eras) said to me once that resonated strongly was: "DJs killed techno". I think maybe it was a quote from Moby, actually. The basic point being, most DJs can't beat match melodic tracks, wierd rhythms, strange arrangements and therefore wouldn't play tunes that featured these things. This lead the music into a cul de sac of tracks designed to be DJ friendly (same tempo, rhythm, arrangement, lack of complex melody) so that they would be sure to be caned by as many djs as possible, sell records, get the producer more DJ gigs, keep the lights on in the studio and food on the table. I think this definitely could be applied to the dumbing down of jungle into drum and bass' sped up boom bap 2 step rhythm. Which I hate like the bejeezus compared to what came before.

    And to bring things full circle this is one of the things I love about grime. The DJ mixing style is more similar to ragga jungle style (slap the fader back and forth, juggling) than to D+B and techno's slow fading, eq sweeping blends which allows for grime tracks to have lots of melody and wierd rhythms (although that 8bar arrangement seems pretty set in stone). There are definitely risks of formulization and signs of it happening (too much square wave bass, although I also love it) but it's still in that early stage that jungle was when there was a lot of freedom and the idea of any 'purist' style was still ridiculous.

  8. #38
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    The thing is...if DJ's can get away with playing out these boring tracks what does that say about the audience? They will eat up any old shit as long as they are in a setting where they should be "having a good time"? "Loud music is playing, it's 12am and there are people all around me...this must be the greatest time in my life!!!"

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt b
    listen to early jungle- its rhythmically complex, but sounds well slooow compared to later stuff- i don't think there is any real relationship between the 2




    classic drum'n'bass /jungle djs play stuff at or around +6, not +8
    i play stuff from - 5 to + 6

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    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
    I agree with the criticisms mostly (haven't read them in detail) but I only got into dnb well after anyone really called it jungle. Say, 2000/2001? Can't remember exactly, but regardless I still think that BC's 'The Nine' was an amazing tune. I like Andy C, ed Ruch and Optical et al. And while I think that ragga stuff has it's place and I wish there was mroe of it around, I probably prefer ultimately the post 97 stuff, because that is what DnB is to me.

    But I don't feel the need to justify it particularly. The scene changed and either you changed with it or you didn't right? You didn't need to like that, but it's mostly an aesthttic descision. I like newer DnB, and you don't. Right? Sorted then.

    I'll read everything properly when I don't need to go to buy food for the week, and see if I can come up with something more constructive than "Let's agree to disagree"

  11. #41
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    yooo shane ........... hahah .. brighton fo shure

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIZZLE
    One thing my friend Timeblind (who has been on the rave scene for many eras) said to me once that resonated strongly was: "DJs killed techno". I think maybe it was a quote from Moby, actually. The basic point being, most DJs can't beat match melodic tracks, wierd rhythms, strange arrangements and therefore wouldn't play tunes that featured these things. This lead the music into a cul de sac of tracks designed to be DJ friendly (same tempo, rhythm, arrangement, lack of complex melody) so that they would be sure to be caned by as many djs as possible, sell records, get the producer more DJ gigs, keep the lights on in the studio and food on the table. I think this definitely could be applied to the dumbing down of jungle into drum and bass' sped up boom bap 2 step rhythm. Which I hate like the bejeezus compared to what came before.
    Another side effect (and maybe a contributing factor) to this is the dumbing down of DJng. I learnt to mix via jungle in 95/96, and it has to be said that the average jungle DJ's job was much harder in those days. The sheer range of production styles, lack of any real formal structure, and variation in breaks and rhythm made things much more difficult - especially playing out in a club with a shit monitor... learning how to mix thru a super clean Photek production to an early Emotif tune to a dirty Bristol amen to something by Alex Reece etc, is a lot more challenging than mixing a load of Diilinja, Bad Company and High Contrast tunes.

    I remember the first time I played after a house DJ, and noticed (to my horror) that he'd turned the crossfader off, and was just using the main faders for his mix. After being forced to use all of the tools of the mixer, chops/cuts/kills/eq's etc. in order to mix jungle I was amazed that there were DJ's out there who'd never even touched the kill switches, and I often wonder if the aspiring D+B DJ's of today are really equipped to deal with anything other than the 4/4 'techno with a backbeat' style thats been dominant for so long.

  13. #43
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    I missed the original jungle era but I listened to a lot of that stuff at home and I love it. I can't stand new d'n'b though. I was in this club once and they had drum and bass in a little room upstairs. I don't know how it was different, it seemed to have all the elements of new d'n'b, I just remember how I really really enjoyed it, a lot more than Richie Hawtin who played the same night. And yet when Andy C came here I really *didn't* like it. I guess it is always up to the dj and what you feel like at the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brokeman
    Rather, I want to argue that there is still something present in a proper Jungle night where the sense of chaos and disorientation caused by a top notch DJ still captures the ecstatic quality of the music in a powerful way. Many of the individual tracks may be formulaic but in the context of the mix, when the tracks are unknown to you as a dancer, there can be a lot of good voodoo left in Jungle.
    TESTIFY!

    Some great contributions to the thread for sure. I think people are perhaps trying to weigh up their own experiences against "the cannon" in some ways. For me, the nights out I had at The End and Movement and other places in the late 90s are amongst the best I've ever had and there was also an enthusiasm about following a scene... again. Those experiences perhaps don't compute for long time junglists, but maybe that's because they were too old or just had had their fill before I arrived.

  15. #45

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    i totally hold a candle for a lot of that stuff on the divide between 96/98 (when I was first getting into jungle). there were a ton of wicked tunes being made then ("to shape the future", "silver blade", "funktion", "brand new funk", "bambaataa", the grooverider mix of "share the fall", late hidden agenda...there are probably dozens). the death knell for me wasn't the 2-step (we all loved 2-step garage which was basically based on the same principle as 2-step dnb just with a warmer vibe and more swinging microprogramming); 2-step dnb when done right still sounds like amazing alien future anti-funk, something totally "new" in a way that even old jungle wasn't with its reliance on the "realistic" sound of drum breaks. the death knell was "piper" and then the first wave of bad company tunes...which were killer tunes! (bad company's "the fear" ep is stoll the shit.) the problem is that when i first bought it i was playing it at 33 instead of 45 because i couldn't believe it was actually meant to be playing that fast. you can tell there are people out there who want to keep pushing it even further, getting it up close to 200bpm. (witness the backlash against people like twisted individual who play like 400 tunes at +8 in an hour and somehow manage to make them all sound the same, i.e. sproing sproing sproing...simon's right that i do have a sneaking affection for some of this stuff, but it's like gabba: i couldn't base my life around it or make any claims for its importance as capital A art and really i just get a headache about 30 mins in once the "omg wtf" reaction has worn off. i suspect its good for the gym tho.) and even the scene diehards like doc scott and dillinja get all "oh dear no, no this wont do at all"...because it wont! 200bpm is gabba and at that point funk left via the window a long time ago. the problem is that if the bpm's did somehow creep up to 200 as the standard over the next 18, i bet all those people would be making tunes in that style. the reason, as many others have stated here, is $$.

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