On the subject of speed in Jungle

Diggedy Derek

Stray Dog
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.
 

blissblogger

Active member
bassnation said:
. 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


bassnation said:
. 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
 

bassnation

the abyss
blissblogger said:
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.
 

Pearsall

Prodigal Son
bassnation said:
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.
 

Melchior

Taking History Too Far
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...
 

dominic

Beast of Burden
bassnation said:
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"
 
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dominic

Beast of Burden
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
 

dominic

Beast of Burden
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
 

Naphta

Junglist
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.
 

blissblogger

Active member
body of knowledge

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.
 

Naphta

Junglist
blissblogger said:
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!
 

Pearsall

Prodigal Son
Naphta said:
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'?
 

Naphta

Junglist
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: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
blissblogger said:
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. :D

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...
 

Brokeman

Living Too Late
First off, it's great to see this thread developing in so many different ways.

blissblogger said:
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.
 

Kuma

The Konspirator
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?
 

SIZZLE

gasoline for haters
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.
 

DigitalDjigit

Honky Tonk Woman
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!!!"
 

orson

New member
matt b said:
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
 

Melchior

Taking History Too Far
blissblogger said:
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"
 
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