Thrive in '95 - Jungle's zenith

droid

Beast of Burden
Yeah. Those were the days of 30 fonts and dial up modems. The aim was to produce something that would catch the eye of a someone flying past on the bus.
 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Blim - Virtual Prayer

Out of the basal ganglia now and back into the cerebral cortex via the limbic system. Another shade of intelligence courtesy of Blim. Before they techstepped their way into the future, SOUR offshoot Emotif put out a handful of very fine jungle rollers. The ambient amen of Their Culture is probably the better known tune from this 12" but this is the one for me and its obvious from the first few bars of Virtual Prayer that every millisecond of this tune has been carefully considered. Melancholy tremolo, pinpoint percussion and atmospherics, light touch rolling drums, then that haunting vocal, and a drop into one of the most beautiful combinations in music, a rolling 808 bass line and a cut up think break. We're propelled rapidly along, but the journey is frictionless - like a maglev or quantum locked disk - and we glide straight into these wonderfully sad synth strings offset by trumpet trills and vocal exultations. Not often you get a jungle tune exhorting you to pray, but it makes sense here as this celestial ensemble ushers you closer to the divine.

https://youtu.be/D9hLC85YB_E
 

Matthew

FKA Woebot
I think I associate that 'look' in jungle art with 96 onwards with reinforced leading the charge, certainly a big deal going into the techstep era.
basically early 3D. probably lightwave 3D because it came free with video toaster which was newtek's production suite. it's the (slightly later) visual production equivalent of OctaMed for the amiga.

 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Mirage - Just For You

We begin a new phase of the journey now with a trek deeper into the jungle guided by St Albans' finest, the great Source Direct. Most associated with Metalheadz, between '94 and '96 the duo also had a stellar run of releases on Street Beats, Cert 18 and Odysee under various aliases. Whilst their amen numbers are generally most sought after, its their various B sides and low key excursions of this period that I hold dearest. Just for you is a prime example of their godlike powers. Take a moment to appreciate the quiet vignette that opens this one. The precise softness of those hi hats, that lovely chiming vibraphone melody, the weirdness of the descending FX - and then into the breaks, unfurling like a game of 4D chess played via sequencer as the bass eases gently in. At this stage you could be forgiven for thinking that you're in for some sterile, minimal breakbeat science, but suddenly this Pink Floyd-esque melodic counterpoint appears and were bathed in glowing light as a beautiful string pad washes over us. This is the point of surrender. As the abstraction of the beats coalesce into incomprehensible beauty and you realise you're in the presence of a higher power.

This one may say '96 on the label, but I have a promo from '95 so Im claiming it.

https://youtu.be/Fsknl2TNf-I
 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Source Direct - Snake Style

Goldie once described Source Direct as being part of the Photek Squadron. "Photek and Source Direct are like a couple of amoebas joined together... the two clones, the Photek clones - man". An unintended diss perhaps, but you can see why he said it when you listen to this one. Shimmering jazz drone into some 808 and understated rollidge courtesy of Nat Adderly's New Orleans break. The boys then tease in some tighten up (the break with all the ride cymbals), then drop it over some perfectly pitched dark jazz atmospherics. Then at about 3:40 we have the only breakdown in the tune. A scant 8 bars of the deadly venoms snake style vocal that pops in and is then unceremoniously disposed off as the camera pans back to the main attraction, the perfectly poised, svelte melange of drums, bass and ambience. Another masterful display, on par with any of Rupert's work in the same vein. My only gripe is that the vinyl press is disgracefully thin.

https://youtu.be/zaZRjQ1HzO4
 
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catalog

Active member
Im looking forward to when its the proper end of the world, and droid just continues with a nice top 50 of some soothing jungle
 

hucks

Your Message Here
Those two source direct tunes are incredible. The b side to Snake Style is a good amen tear out that was on Bukem’s 95 essential mix. The second hour of that mix is as good as Bukem gets imo. Just before he went mega boring and only played stuff off his label. Still had a bit of variation to it. His mix in 96 was already pretty dull.

The aquasky track from upthread is on it too, as is the By Any Means Necessary tune. And One and Only by PFM which I loved loved loved. Also it’s got Conrad on it with as studio mic and a lil bit of echo and he sounds good!
 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Mirage - Feel My Dreams

I'm just gonna say it. The Apache is my favourite jungle break. Obviously Think and Soul Pride are microscopically close, but there's something very special about the apache, specifically the Young MC Know How second gen version, and Source Direct were masters of the break. A made up sound (featured earlier) was the first time I realised I was listening to an apache and Feel my dreams is cut from the same cloth. Opening with a bass drone which grumbles beneath a veil of expertly dissected beats, the tune just rolls along for 2 minutes, showcasing the beauty of the break, those wonderfully soft extended kicks, the gated air of the snare, and those phantom bongo hits! It's these ghost notes that elevate it, tiny rattling fragments that spiral from the main groove, coruscate and bounce back... and then a perfectly pitched soul pride drops in, off kilter rolls multiplying the rhythmic reflections like a disco ball. As for the rest of the tune, we have a Dune sample, a selection of unsettling melodic atmospherics, a menagerie of subtle FX and vocal tics, and this wonderfully soft, cushioned bass pulse that nudges us deeper into a copse of exquisitely filtered breaks until we find ourselves lost, walking in circles, hypnotised.

https://youtu.be/OPxtaUd84nQ
 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Those two source direct tunes are incredible. The b side to Snake Style is a good amen tear out that was on Bukem?s 95 essential mix. The second hour of that mix is as good as Bukem gets imo. Just before he went mega boring and only played stuff off his label. Still had a bit of variation to it. His mix in 96 was already pretty dull.
Yeah Bukem was all over this stuff.

Also it?s got Conrad on it with as studio mic and a lil bit of echo and he sounds good!
Ah now.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Jacob's Optical Stairway - Solar Feeling

A slight detour from the intelligent heartlands here, into the verdant meadows of 4Hero's expansive discography with an example of two things I generally cant abide in jungle: overt jazz smoothness and full female vocals - and this has both in spades. Arguably a logical follow up to Parallel Universe, I think of this album as the first of the duo's escape attempts from the scene, equidistant between Detroit and Dollis Hill, released on Belgian hardcore techno stalwart R&S and featuring a collaboration with Juan Atkins nestled amongst a number of distinctly unjunglistic tunes. Solar Feelings was the 12" from the LP and though I should hate it, I cant resist the lush warm chords of the intro, and the sax solo! Such a ballsy move, and it's only possible due to the confidence of the composition and brilliantly accomplished production - just listen to those tiny, almost inaudible high hat chimes at the end of every 4 bars... and then the vocal, an astronomical lounge special that takes us gently by the hand and pulls back the bead curtains to reveal a feather touch apache and bouncing 808, segueing smoothly into a London Sumtin' style break workout, a ruffness that brings the rest of this delicious smoothness into sharp relief. One of a meagre handful of successful jungle 'songs', perhaps approaching the heights of Elizabeth Troy's Greater Love.

You could call it yacht jungle, but thats not quite right, this dives into the depths rather than gliding above them. Perfect 6AM jungle house party gear.

https://youtu.be/2KzkabSC34M
 
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blissblogger

Active member
Jacob's Optical Stairway - Solar Feeling


You could call it yacht jungle, but thats not quite right, this dives into the depths rather than gliding above them. [/url]
love it

the whole album is a favorite of mine - going against my anti-smoov turn

particularly love "Harsh Realities"

 

droid

Beast of Burden
A Guy Called Gerald - Finley's Rainbow (Slow Motion Mix)

We continue our vocal diversion here with a trip to the verdant fields of Gerald's rave enclave and this iconic single from 1995's Black Secret technology. The slow motion mix features the full vocal courtesy of the pre-chart fame Finley Quaye and his performance here is full of MDMA soaked, dreamy, swaying optimism, a '93 throwback that seems to ignore the preceding two years of dark side, ragga, amen anthems and sophistication. Tom Ewing does it justice in his top 100 singles of the 90s, so I'll go with his description

A drowsy, dislocated bass pulses under twining drums, synthed pizzicatos flit by like strange fauna, and everything's permeated by a humid gauze of brushes. The drums rattle like bones, and the mood might be arid if it wasn't for Quaye's vocals coming down on the song and quenching it like a shower. I didn't know who Quaye was, didn't know that 'Sun Is Shining' was a lilting reggae standard, but what I did know was that this was at once among the freshest things I'd ever heard and the most timeless. There's a hint of the jazz singer in Quaye's voice here, a brassiness, and there's something like jazz in the music too, something unpredictable, tense and thick. But while his contemporaries took hold of the politest bits of fusion, Gerald - by all accounts a difficult and shabbily treated musician - latched onto a more turbulent tradition, the jazz-funk-electronica of Pangaea-era Miles Davis or Sextant-era Herbie Hancock, and the music he made boiled like theirs had. Combine that with Quaye's love-drunk lullaby and you have a certain blueprint for wonder.
Though Gerald was always a bit of an outsider to the jungle scene for various prosaic reasons, it was his idiosyncratic use of breakbeats that really sets him apart in my mind. There's complexity here but it doesn't come from deftly sculpted interlocking beat science, more a kind of tribal, drum circle composition where breaks are layered on top of each other, accentuating different hits and slowly filling in the gaps, building to a dense shuffling groove that flows like a flood of molasses. A really curious approach, the only other thing that comes close to it in Jungle is the Bristol sound.

The offical video below cuts off before the end, but its an essential part of the experience. In '95 i thought this was the coolest thing ever, now I see Finley Quaye grinning like an idiot atop some rudimentary CG and all I can think of is that Limmy dancing in the park sketch... but the utopian echo is still there beneath the cringe. A more innocent time when the promise of rave still held some sway, a radical 'shroom jungle manifesto embodied in Quaye's moronic mooning.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Eza4Zjw2pM
 
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