Thursday, 12 May 2022

BLAME & JUSTICE: MOVING SHADOW 1994



BLAME & JUSTICE - NEMESIS (1994) 
Pinging pinball bass, scattershot 52 pick up snare spillage and an intense creepy time stretched vocal sample all add to the anarchic bliss of Nemesis. Peak disorientating jungle goodness. Mind-bending.


BLAME & JUSTICE - ESSENCE (THE JAZZ TESTAMENT) (1994)
Ambient-Jungle with some dissonant saxamophone. Apparently it was Goldie's favourite tune from 1994. 


BLAME & JUSTICE - ANTHEMIA (HEAVEN) (1994)
Lovely kaleidoscopic ambient-jungle weirdness. 


BLAME & JUSTICE - NOCTURNAL (1994)
Disembodied diva vocals set free into a floating hallucinatory dubby vortex with random drummage. Totally artcore!


BLAME & JUSTICE - NIGHTVISION (1994)
Splattering snares, a dubbed out diva, ambient lulls, bleeps in the echo chamber, melodic octopus drummage with menacing minimal bass. Night-visionary!


BLAME & JUSTICE - SECRET PARADISE (1994)
Bleeps amongst the choppage and dubbed out waves of sound. Loop-y psychedelic jungle.  

ICONS - EMOTIONS WITH INTELLECT


ICONS - ELECTRIC SOUL
First things first Emotions With Intellect is a fucking awful and totally unappealing title so it's no wonder that many jungalists avoided this record upon release back in the 90s. 

Icons are Anthony Bowes and Conrad Shafie aka Blame & Justice who had two big 12"s on Moving Shadow in 1994 (See future post and coincidentally Simon's post here). Anyway the Icons LP didn't come out until 96 despite apparently being recorded in 94/95 (?). It's not like there is an absurd wealth of information on jungle/dnb on the interweb, like there is with rock music, so I haven't been able to confirm as to why this album stayed on the shelf for a couple of years. Like many punters I missed this record at the time and really only became aware of it seven or eight years ago when it was included as FACT's 17th best album of the 90s, beating out Omni Trio, Goldie, 4Hero & Photek to come in as Jungle/dnb's runner up LP behind A Guy Called Gerald's Black Secret Technology which came in at number four. 


ICONS - SALSA FLAVOUR
This does what it says on the tin ie. it's dnb with a salsa flava. It rolls along nicely with its percussive bliss, jungle soundz and humid atmosphere. Choice.


*Fabio's review from Eternity Magazine June 1995.


ICONS - FUTURE ASPECTS

"It was about the ghost notes" 
Blame aka Conrad Shafie.


*Fabio's review from Eternity Magazine May 1995


ICONS - EMOTIONS WITH INTELLECT (1996)
As the kids say this was slept on. 

 

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Musick for Psychedelic Duelling Volume 2 - R.E.E.L.


R.E.E.L. return with a good fun follow up to their debut tape from 2020. All sorts of sprawling haunted & cosmic sonic shenanigans. An array of fringe cultural detritus is assembled for your listening pleasure. Cosmic synths, occult electronics, knackered acid house, sinister ambience, esoteric found sounds, dialogue from shonky charlatans and naff beat poets. It's all here to evoke a damp lost psychedelia with glimmers of past euphoria and haunting reminders of failed utopian experiments. In their bandcamp screed R.E.E.L. give us many nudge nudge wink winks to the world in which this recording is ensconced: Half hearted acid house, cosmic foolishness, acid communism, psychic alchemy, Coil, Tangerine Dream, Albert Camus, Sun Ra, Francis Bacon, snail slime, forensic angels, brown acid, Somerset, crackles, special K hole etc. etc.  

R.E.E.L. are Farmer Glitch (Hacker Farm, pHarmerz), Matt Saunders (The Assembled Minds) and Saxon Roach (IX Tab).

Monday, 11 April 2022

THE SAINTS - Chris Bailey 1957 - 2022

None More Surly.



Great Australian Albums: The Saints - (I'm) Stranded. 
TV episode originally aired 18/8/07 SBS TV Australia.

This tells you more about the people in The Saints in the first three minutes than the entirety of that schmozzle of a documentary from 2015. Features Aussie rock icons Rob Younger (Radio Birdman), Nick Cave, Robert Forster (The GoBetweens), Brad Shepherd (Hoodoo Gurus), Damien Lovelock (Celibate Rifles), Mark Callaghan (GANGgajang) and probably a few I've forgotten. This documentary is really about the three albums by the Bailey/Kuepper line-up which is good because I think a majority of fans would agree that the second LP Eternally Yours is their greatest but then again (I'm) Stranded and Prehistoric Sounds are of historical and artistic significance and have their fans too. It's definitely the ultimate Australian three album run beginning with a debut and among just a handful worldwide ie. giving The Velvet Underground, Wire and Black Sabbath a run for their money.


The Saints - (I'm) Stranded (1976)
"Stranded - I'm so far from home
Stranded - yeah I'm on my own
Stranded - you got to leave me alone
'Cause I'm stranded on my own
Stranded"

How could they not appeal to my desolate teenage heart that was stuck in the cultural wastelands of a semi arid Australian country town. I mean they were a bunch of stroppy scumbags from the sweltering sub-tropical outer suburbs of Brisbane. The song was written in 1974 on the train home from the city back to the outskirts of town where the city met the country literally. Spitting in the face of the abyss with gleeful nihilistic abandon. Ed Kuepper has stated "Stranded wasn't a negative song... it was affirming."

Sounds 16/10/76

Juke 25/9/76


Sniffin' Glue 10/76



The Saints - Wild About You (1977)
Here's nod to one of their lineages of influences 60s garage Australian stylee. This set of Antipodean influences sets them apart from The Sex Pistols & Ramones and obviously embeds the Strayan characteristics of this music even further. Wild About You was originally recorded by Sydney band The Missing Links in 1965. Other Australian influences include The Purple Hearts, The Easybeats, Masters Apprentices, Coloured Balls and probably a stack more. First hearing The Saints, in all their sardonic alienated splendour, as a teenager in the mid 80s they just sounded so Australian to me. It was like I'd tapped in to my DNA. 


The Saints - Messin' With The Kid (1977)


The Saints - Nights In Venice (1977)



The Saints - This Perfect Day (1977)

Record Mirror 16/7/77


The Saints - Know Your Product (1978)
"Let's shoot the professor!
Alright!"


The Saints - Memories Are Made Of This (1978)


The Saints - No, Your Product (1978)


The Saints - Swing For The Crime (1978)
And we hope that you had a good time...


The Saints - Brisbane (Security City) (1978)
The most haunting and evocative tune by the original Saints (1973-1978).


Stranded: The Saints (Documentary 2015) 
Originally aired ABC TV 15/9/15 
Directed by Serge Ou

Rock docs are pretty lame these days and this one's all over the shop. Why do I bother watching them? This is the rock doc nadir. Why is Bob Geldof talking about The Boomtown Rats? We don't care mate. We love The Saints! We're here for The Saints. Then it just wants to be about 70s Queensland politics and for a good while you kinda forget this is about the best band to ever come out of Australia. Then they go on and on about other Brisbane bands many of whom I admire but... This really should have been called something like Punk, Post Punk and The Police State in late 70s Brisbane.  

The four writers show a distinct lack of understanding about what The Saints were about. Sure the political climate was a part of the band but they weren't exactly a band rallying the collective scenester activists. No they were pretty anti-social and misanthropic. They'd only had one encounter as a band with Brisbane's finest under the tyranny of Sir Joh. They wrote songs about not wanting to be part of any kind of conformity. Anyone who knows even just a tiny bit about Chris Bailey knows that he was a contrarian of the highest order. I wonder if he hated this documentary? I'd say so. Anyway I came away knowing more about Jello Biafra than Chris Bailey so that's a fucking fail mate. Fuck off Serge!

Sunday, 10 April 2022

MOVING SHADOW JUNGLE


DJ Pulse - Stay Calm (Foul Play Remix) (1994)
Distills the hardcore elements into jungle perfection: Darkness, Mentasm stabs, Amens and movie dialogue. 


Dead Dred - Dred Bass (1994)
Total atmosphere until that devastating beat and bass drop at 0.56. Continues with that iconic bass, soul diva, skidding Amen choppage and a maximal time-stretched Dr Alimantado vocal. Doesn't get better than this.


Renegade - Terrorist (1994)
In your face Amen belter. Two basslines for the price of one in this "well 'ard" dubwize jungle tune. The best.


Hyper On Experience - Disturbance (Tango Remix) (1993)
Stadium size rave riffage, eerie scrapes, jittery rhythms, spooky keys and sinister voices all add to this disturbance.


*One thing I've only just noticed recently (by reading youtube comments) is that lots of old school jungle and drum & bass was/is used in video games. I had absolutely no idea jungle was being dispersed into households that normally wouldn't have followed such a music scene. So a lot of game creators were obviously hardcore fans. This has led to Jungle/DnB having longevity and popularity beyond its generation, era and original geographic spaces. The above 4 tunes from the Moving Shadow label were used in one of the versions Grand Theft Auto.

Friday, 8 April 2022

E-Z Rollers


Pro-Ton-Isospace - True Jungle (1994)
A real jungle oditty is this with its tripped out oriental bamboo flute, Shabba Ranks dancehall sample, environmental sounds of the forest and breakbeat science. I doubt this ever got played out but its good egghead jungle from Pro-Ton-Isospace a Hyper on Experience alias.


Parallel World - Contagious (1994)
This is quite lovely. In ambient jungle what more do you need? That ambient synth sound is mysterious. To me it's neither dark nor idyllic but a liminal feel not easily categorisable. I guess you can project whatever vibe you like onto it. Noice.


Parallel World - Tear Into It (1994)
So Parallel World were a one off alias for JMJ & Richie and their entire output was the above two tunes issued on a 12 inch by Good Looking Records. 



E-Z Rollers - Rolled Into One (1994)
I only realised recently the duo E-Z Rollers contained Alex Banks who was one of the fellas from Hyper On Experience of Lord Of Null Lines fame. The other bloke is Jay Hurren aka JMJ from the aforementioned Parallel World and JMJ & Richie. An impeccable rather minimal anthem that still sounds so fresh in 2022.


E-Z Rollers - Believe (1994)
An undeniable milestone of jungle into drum & bass with a lovely rolling beat, conga joy, the diva refrain of "Believe" then that delectable and game-changing library music/tv theme type synth break at 5.43. Drum & Bass perfected at a pretty early stage. 


E-Z Rollers - Dimensions Of Sound (1996)
By the time Alex & Jay released this album I was finished with drum & bass so I never checked it out until last year. Yeah I know but hey at least in 2022 I've got some fresh drum & bass to listen to without having to resort to listening to the inferior current crop of liquid drum & bass. Sure this ain't peak jungle as the insane choppage, time-stretching, mentasms and overall sonic delirium are out and fuck me Talking Jazz was and still is an ill advised monstrosity as it's basically commercial acid jazz of the most horrific variety but most of the rest of these tracks roll along in a pleasant manner. E-Z.

Sunday, 3 April 2022

DUMA

DARKNESS



In 2020 you didn't realise you needed a band from Kenya doing grindcore crossed with hardcore techno crossed with noise until you did. All the elements that those genres entail are included thrash/brutal death/black metal, hardcore/crust punk, industrial, breakbeat, hardcore rave, gabber, doom/gloom/terror-core and more. Where the two hardcores inadvertently meet. 


I was looking for the live in France video that Duma just posted on their instagram moments ago but this will have to suffice. As the hashtags said "Heavy metal gabber techno punk rock and roll" Wait for the change up - take it down moment at 1.36 where the metal-noise onslaught dissipates and the breaks are revealed.


Creepy doom-y shit too. 


And only this 7 inch in 2021. The Horror.


Listen to their intensely chaotic noise and gloomified feral mayhem of the debut album from 2020 right here while we wait to see if their new tape will fulfil their promise. I sense that Duma will go more into gabber zones perhaps losing some of the grindcore elements but I'd love it if they embraced doom/gloomcore. They seem to identify mostly as a metal band though so who knows? 

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

THE DARKSIDE OF RAVE III


Spinback - In Effect (1993)
Giant hardcore riffage amongst the smashed rhythms, wailing diva and twilight interludes.


Scott & Keith - Derranged (Bonus Drums) (1993)
Sublime minimal darkness from the great Doc Scott with the mysterious Keith Suckling who seems to have only existed in the music world for a couple of tunes and that's it. 


Rotating Heads - Dark Secrets (Nicky Allen Remix) (1993)
You gotta love a label that released just two 12"s in 1993 and then they were done. This gets dementedly hardcore from the get get go. Classic hardcore rave riffage, soul divas, vigorous choppage, some kinda ratty psycho ragga rap and mentastic stabs all add to this supreme intensity. Rotating Heads were speeding into an insane and scary future. 


Chaos & Julia Set - Atmosphere (1993)
A good tenebrous atmosphere is created here on this Euro vibed toe tapper that gradually gets trance-y and anthemic.


Essence Of Aura - Can I Dream (1993)
Amen smasher with a deep dark pummelling bass drone that becomes a devastating deep dark pummelling bass drone-y rave riff, add dialogue sample from Aliens and voila: Perfect. Peak darkness!


Essence Of Aura - Intruder (1993)
Dark mechanical sounds and noise-y mentasms are followed by a cataclysmic plunge into the darkest abyss at 2.15 then the iconic Blade Runner dialogue sample is delivered by Rutger Hauer "Time...to die" and more. Stunning. They really capture the essence of the darkside of rave.


Saturday, 26 March 2022

DJ Crystl: Dee Jay Recordings 1993


To me Dj Crystl is one of the great sound designers of the jungle era. Perhaps Pete Parsons aka Voyager, his engineer and right hand man deserves some credit here too. The tunes below display a producer at the peak of his powers going from strength to strength like Omni Trio, Foul Play, 4Hero and Goldie all were at roughly the same time. While Dj Crystl's 1993 was brilliant choon-wize and his 1994 was also pretty good, it was the following year things just did not blow up for him how they were supposed to as jungle ballooned into Drum & Bass. Crystl somehow missed the momentum and it felt like his potential was never fully realised. Like is there several albums worth of material that never got released? What happened? While that's probably an interesting story (that I don't actually know) I just want to point out here what a stellar set of releases DJ Crystl issued in 1993 on Dee Jay Recordings

Dj Crystl's three 12"s on Dee Jay Recordings and one 12" on Force Ten Records in 1993 make up one of Jungle's most sublime winning runs. If Crystlize, Deep Space, Meditation, Warp Drive, Sweet Dreamz, Your Destiny, The Dark Crystl and Inna Year 3000 were all put on one cd it would have been one of the top jungle albums of all time along with The Deepest Cut, Parallel Universe etc. Actually I can't believe somebody didn't have the foresight or hindsight to compile that (?). 


I suppose Dj Crystl was one of the original ambient jungle producers. I always think he's got a vague shoegaze vibe too with his walls of synth sound, drones and ethereal vocal science scattered amongst the jungle elements. I wonder if Kevin Shields or Seefeel were fans? or vice versa? Anyway his sides are a lot crisper than you might imagine or remember. They are immaculately put together with all sorts of microscopic detail. I imagine Dj Crystl spent a lot of time meticulously crafting each second of his tuneage while never losing sight of the big picture. The sound while fastidious however never appears to be too fussy, often quite the opposite and that balancing act is where his potency lies. Like Omni Trio there is an aura of splendid excitement, elegance and generosity in Dj Crystl's jungle.  


DJ Crystl - Crystlize
Swirls of synths, shapeshifting walls of sound, time-stretched drum opulence, alluring dark tunnels, ethereal vocal science and an uncanny rattling clang accompany the endlessly chopped snares into the Crystlized echo chamber.


DJ Crystl - Deep Space
Frantic intricate choppage that is somehow mellifluous. Those melodic snares are cushioned perfectly amongst the atmospheres of enchanting darkness. 


DJ Crystl - Meditation
Oceanic pools of sound and waves of delicate vocal science eventually make room for exquisite rhythm-ology. At  5.10 a dramatic halt to proceedings occurs to allow sonic waves back in before the beat momentum effortlessly picks up again. In the remaining couple of minutes it moves into mesmerising sparkling ambient snares. 


DJ Crystl - Warpdrive
Dj Crystl's most in yer face moment in 1993. This is a deluge of chopped and stretched breaks that go euphorically haywire amongst ominous drones. Don't forget that gloriously dark synth at 3.12. while the breaks continue go more and more insane. The Best. 


DJ Crystl - Sweet Dreamz
Idyllic sounds of the seaside with heaven bound synths, a woman's soothing meditative voice and a beat much less frantic than most jungle. Sweet Dreamz is all space age tropical vibes of calm tinged with disorientation and darkness. Pretty psychedelic.


DJ Crystl - Your Destiny
Waves of miniature ambient delirium and disorienting backwards abstractions where the spirit of MBV circa Glider lurks. The rhythm stop starts until 2.53 when it gets fully rolling as the darkness encroaches with a spectral presence coming in and out of focus. Choice dubby bleeps add to the subtle elusive charms of Your Destiny


  

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

THE DARKSIDE OF RAVE II


Mega City 2 - Dark Child (1993)
From a 1992 dubplate that was eventually released commercially a year later on the Demon By Daylight EP.  A haunting girls choir sing hymn-like melodies, occult-y percussion, dialogue from Children Of The Corn, backwards beats, a Japanese flute, rave riffs, needle scratches and rattling breaks make this one spellbinding journey into darkness.


Jim Polo - Voyager (1993)
Insidious chopped divas, record scratching, brittle infected beat science, eerie stretched ring modulators, horror dialogue and pitch-shifted bells all blend into this darkness. Further dark points are added as Voyager was issued on Dark Horse Records, an imprint run by Jimi & his 2 Sinister bandmate Neil Vass. Dark Horse started in 1993, released just 7 records and by 1994 the label was done and dusted. 


The Invisible Man - The End...(Drug Induced Psychosis Mix) (1993)
An uneasy vibe is followed by sinister tones then whooshes of darkness while the riddim fades in as the creaky gloom continues, further tension is added with Goblin-esque horror soundtrack soundz, at 3.09 a wobbly hoover drone blasts in, then we're informed it's the beginning of the end as we head into oblivion. 


D.O.P.E. - When I Was Young (1993)
This starts out of the gate with Amen breaks, then a sub bass drop at 0.13. Just as you're thinking this is gonna be a nice lil' toe tapper the creepiness starts to take over and before long you are enveloped in exquisite darkness. That malignant pitch-shifted Supertramp Logical Song sample is so sneakily inserted into the track that you barely even notice it's there until the tune is over and it has seeped into your brain.


Rufige Kru - Manslaughter (Part 1 Runners Edge) (1993)
Goldie is probably the only jungle celebrity on the planet but don't expect this tune to conform to any kind of commercial or dancefloor standards. This is twisted abstract dark ambient jungle except it's knackered and the malfunctioning beat just won't get up off the floor to get you on the floor. This is impeccable sound design for song blueprints for the future. The time for Manslaughter (Part 1 Runners Edge) still has not yet arrived and possibly never will. This is beyond! 

Monday, 21 March 2022

ANDY C


Double Vision - Easy Does It (1993)
Double Vision is an Andy C alias. Easy Does it is a surge that goes so hard(core) it totally rocks da house! 


Desired State - Beyond Bass (1993)
Desired State is Andy C & Ant Miles from Concept 2, Elevation & Higher Sense. The vocal hook here is a sample from Humanoid's Cry Baby which is turned into an urgent skittering blur. Add Amen breaks that smash their way through the dark atmosphere and blissful ambience to create quite a buzzin' tune.  


Andy C - Bass Constructor (1993)
We get mental chopped up hardcore chipmunk vocals amongst the insane drum choppage, whooshing keys, atmospheric bleeps and a classic bass drop at 0.58. Dark, intense and sinister. Bass! 


Andy C - Something New Part 1 (1993)
Includes babbling speedy chipmunks, hands in the air ambience, racing rave riffage, delirious backwards drumz and a deep bubbling bass drop at 1.25. Something New is a stampede in one hell of a rush.


Desired State - Killer Beat (1993)
Killer Beat starts out with ominous bells, disorienting synth smears then vocal snatches rush by in a blur as a deep wobbling bass enters amongst all sorts of frantic alarming sounds to rattle your brain.   


Randall & Andy C - Sound Control (1994)
An Amen smasher with mucho time-stretched and frantic choppage along with sirens, bleeps and horror soundtrack vibez. 


Randall & Andy C - Feel It (1994)
Sometimes hardcore jungle tunes can resemble arty audio collage music. Amidst rave sirens, crazy hardcore breaks and deep dub bass we get a slew of vocal snippets featuring jungalist and movie dialogue. As the comments say this wasn't played out very often but it's a booming track to lose your mind to. Bubblin psycho-delic RAMology.


Origin Unknown - Valley Of The Shadows (1993)
Now let's finish with the Andy C track that everyone knows because it's probably the most unforgettable jungle tune ever and definitely one of the best. This particular Valley Of The Shadows yt clip has been watched over 1.4 million times. Andy C is joined in Origin Unknown by his RAM Records co-founder Ant Miles. This Darkside Jungle masterpiece never gets old. It was whipped up in just four hours with most of the musical elements coming from a sample cd given away with the February 1993 issue of Future Music magazine. Apollo 11's 1969 lunar module landing countdown from NASA's Jack King provides the "31 seconds" dialogue snippet. The haunting "Felt that I was in a long dark tunnel" dialogue sample comes from a BBC documentary about near death experiences. The delightfully eerie atmosphere created here makes this one of the most memorable jungle tunes of all time. Perfection. 


Saturday, 19 March 2022

THE DARKSIDE OF RAVE


Top Buzz - Living In Darkness (1992)
Loads of hardcore rave turning into darkside jungle tunes used the word dark in the title: Hello Darkness, Tales From The Darkside, The Dark Stranger, Darkage, Dark Angel, Trip II The Moon (The Darkside), Darkrider, The Dark Crystl, Darker Side Of Evil, Darker Than I Should Be, Dark Horse In Full Effect, Shot In The Dark, The Dark Sheep, Darkman, String Of Darkness, Second Dark Child, In Complete Darkness, Dark Secrets, Give A Little Darkness, Darkcore etc. 

I can't remember who used it first but it was ubiquitous by 1992 so maybe it was Top Buzz? I dunno. Or did someone pre-empt the dark vibe in 1991? The brisk drummage here is noice, as is the (barely audible here) bass drop but it really kicks off at 1.23 when the massive hardcore riff comes in. The darkness is piled on with the atmospheric synth then there's a choice reprise bass breakdown at 4.23. Triumphant.

*Listening to jungle on youtube is not ideal as you lose so much bass even when it's bluetoothed through a good sound system. 


Noise Factory - Be Free (1992)
Total Banger!

I know the young folk have appropriated the word banger and now use it to describe tv shows, food, tik tok videos and whatever else they think is good but I'm using it here in its original context. 

Be Free starts out of the gate with a bunch of dub reggae samples taken from Scientist V Prince Jammy's Big Showdown LP and they continue throughout. Then at 1.00 it becomes an absolute Amen smasher with massive rave riffs and the iconic "No" sample. 


DJ Trace & Ed Rush - Clean Gun (1993)
It feels like Clean Gun starts at least four times. At the start. Next at the 0.21 mark when the backwards drummage intermingled with martial snares enters. Then at 1.27 when a new beat kicks in on top of the old one. Then again at 1.52 when another rhythm comes in over the top of the other two. This new rhythm really gets rolling though but the other two beats continue along with some tasty snatches of dancehall MCs. By the time of the wicked bass drop at 3.16 maybe even another monster beat has taken over, it's all so crazy it's hard to tell! Soon we've got hands in the air synth ambience to take us to the finish. A top notch journey into rhythmic psychedelia. 


Johnny Jungle - Flammable (1993)
Is what it says on the tin! Flammable is smeared in darkness from the get go but the frantic Amen choppage passes through the echo chamber to burst out. Every element here seems to have been time-stretched for maximum euphoric dancefloor delight. Flamin' tune.


Johnny Jungle - The Devoted Drummer (1993)
Insane beat science on this one. The rhythm here is time stretched to the limit. My brain feels deliriously devoted to the drummer after this trip into the jungle of contorted rhythmic madness.  

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Moving Shadow: The History of Jungle 1990-95


This mix is all killer no filler. These are the biggest tunes from 1990 to 1995 on the MOVING SHADOW label. I couldn't think of a better introduction to this mighty label. It covers hardcore turning into darkside turning into jungle. One glorious game-changing masterpiece after another. Uh...the vibe! If you are hearing any of these trax for the first time you are a lucky duck and in for a treat. I gotta say 30 years later it's still a joy to hear these fresher than ever cuts. Omni Trio and Foul Play are still giving me the goose bumps, sending me back to the euphoric future 90s.  

Hardcore!
 
Jungle! 

Check out the sheer quality in this playlist.

1 Blame– Music Takes You (2 Bad Mice Remix)Remix – 2 Bad Mice 
2 2 Bad Mice – Waremouse 
3 Hyper On Experience – The Frightner 
4 Kaotic Chemistry – Spacecakes 
5 2 Bad Mice – Mass Confusion 6 Hyper On Experience – Lords Of The Null-Lines (Foul Play Remix) Remix – Foul Play 
7 Foul Play – Open Your Mind 
8 Omni Trio –Feel Good (Remix) 
9 Foul Play – The Finest 
10 Omni Trio – Renegade Snares (Foul Play Remix) Remix – Foul Play 
11 Cloud Nine* – You Got Me Burnin 
12 DJ Trax – Hightime 
13 JMJ & Richie – Case Closed 14 Deep Blue – The Helicopter Tune 15 Omni Trio – Thru The Vibe 16 Renegade – Terrorist 17 Cloud Nine* – The Pedge 18 E-Z Rollers – Believe
19 Blame & Justice – Anthemia 
20 Omni Trio - Living For The Future 21 DJ Pulse – So Fine (Remix) 22 Essence Of Aura – Northern Lights
23 Higher Sense – Cold Fresh Air
24 Foul Play – Being With You 
25 Dead Dred – Dred Bass


Cold Fresh Air was the only track I couldn't i-d although it's familiar. Higher Sense are Ant Miles & David Thomas. Ant Miles was also in Jungle legends Origin Unknown and Desired State. It's a good day if I discover a cracking jungle tune from 28 years ago. I love that wasted vibe on the time-stretched vocal bit. 

*The remix of Cold Fresh Air was released by Moving Shadow but this original was on Ant's own label Liftin' Spirit. Which in turn was a sub label of RAM Records which was co-owned by Ant & another jungle luminary Andy C. Phew!...got it?


Monday, 14 March 2022

4HERO - Part II: Tom & Gerry


Tom & Gerry - Luv & Run (1994)
Tuuune! Possibly the best of Tom & Gerry's tunes albeit an atypical one. Some edgy high-hat action right from the get go. Wait for the mental almost didgeridoo-like bass drop and choice haywire rimshots at 0.47. Followed by ambient stabs then chipmunk divas. I think there's even a tambourine or some kind of bell amongst the rhythms. Delightful dubwise jungle.


For those who don't know Tom & Jerry is an alias of 4HERO the hardcore jungle duo comprising Marc Mac & Dego. This moniker was their outlet for more dancefloor friendly tunes for the jungle massive. The music was quickly made and was more on the mellow & soul tip but still within the hardcore/darkside/jungle genres. These ain't no throwaway trax though, they're terrific.  


Tom & Gerry - Airfreshner (1994)
This kicks off with mellow keys then the pitch-shifted vocal sample "There is darkness, There is light" followed by a snatch of reggae vocals from Kentrus's It A Fi Bun (1994). We get all the luscious vibes and space for miles. Noice.


Tom & Jerry - Still Lets Me Down (1994) 
The opening here sounds like something from an ambient or soundtrack record from Japan in the 80s. Then a synth drone piles on the tension while the beat kicks in quickly followed by a stretched soul vocal sample. A squiggly oriental flute pops up now and then amongst the general Eastern vibes . The drummage is sweet and it all rolls along in a splendacious manner. 


Tom & Jerry - Escape (1993)
Smudges of ominous hoover soundz from Here Come The Drums (1992) by Nasty Habits, haunting snatches of dialogue from Apocalypse Now and wicked clanky riddims combine to create an underrated darkside classic. 


Tom & Jerry - Thriller (1994)
Bleeps, acid squelches, clattering choppage, sci-fi synths, a diva sample, mechanical screeches and ambient tones come together on this tune that is darkside gold.


Tom & Jerry - Follow Da Massive (1994)
Follow Da Massive is all about the beat science. We get supreme drum choppage out of the gate, a tasty reggae vocal from Cutty Ranks, warped deep dub bass, backwards drummage, melodic percussion and rhythmic psychedelia all put through a dub echo chamber. Tune is Massive! 

Saturday, 12 March 2022

4HERO

 

4HERO - Make Yah See Spiders On The Wall (1991)
A paranoid Cabaret Voltaire-esque electronic frequency kicks this off and the darkness continues despite the twinkly xylophone motifs throughout. The bass drop at 0.34 is massive, fucking heavy and enthralling. The "You Should Do Some Voodoo" sample is a catchy but creepy nursery rhyme. The atmospheric horror soundtrack synths and menacing groans all add to this exquisite nightmare of a tune. Hearing this on the dancefloor under the influence of ecstasy could have sent you on a delirious downward spiral.  Nobody ever says this is one of the best tunes of the 90s but Make Yah See Spiders On The Wall IS definitely one of the best tunes of the 90s!


4HERO - Cookin UP Yah Brain (1992)
The beat science on this is magic. The drum choppage is all backwards then forwards top which bedlamises your mind. These unfathomable rhythms are what became so exciting about JUNGLE the emerging genre here, although I guess this is really a hardcore classic. 

 

4HERO - Students OF The Future (1993)
Gloomy drones, apocalyptic dialogue, funky drumming veering off the rails, punishing icy cold synth stabs amongst a plethora of weird atmospheric samples from unknown sources make this one hell of an illusive tune. A brain melting darkside masterpiece. 


4HERO - Journey From The Light (1993)
Spiralling concussive synth and percussion, luscious strings, bleeps, chipmunk vocals, acid squelches like bubbling cauldrons, otherworldly contorted drummage, noisey jolts and soul divas wailing into the future bring this sonic jigsaw to life. 4HERO's innovative quantum leaps in a period of less than 2 years is astonishing. Marc Mac & Dego, 4HEROs masterminds, covered so much territory by pushing into new zones it's amazing that they also had an slew of aliases creating an abundance of great music too. 

 

4HERO - The Power (1993)
Amazing. Some of the sounds here are so abstract it's hard to tell what their original source was. Putting your finger on swirly synths, mentastic stabs, skittering beats and an array bleeps is one thing but what the hell are these other elements that make up the rest of The Power's sonic collage. This shit was so visionary. That I'm saying this 30 years later is a testament to 4HERO's inspiring innovation.


In the midst of a purple patch that really began in 1991 4HERO seemed to hit another creative pinnacle on 1993's JOURNEY FROM THE LIGHT EP. The duo's ingenuity smashed through into another dimension. In the context of today these tunes are overwhelming in their stature. The amount of good ideas, inventiveness and the fact these ideas coalesce crabwise into masterpieces is still fucking thrilling.


4HERO - The Element (High Noon) (1993)
Still just freakily exhilarating in 2022. Really strange. Odd musical structures. Undeniably accessible though.

They do a thing here that's like the opposite of time-stretching, where it feels they they've squished too much sonic information into a space where it doesn't quite fit because there's not enough time/room but it does end up fitting somehow. This outcome is something akin to jump-cut edits in Nouvelle Vague. That in turn creates a weird discombobulating affect - compressed/folding into itself/disappearing spiral staircase/dream logic sort of thing. Maybe Simon Reynolds or Kodwo Eshun had a word for it, I can't remember.

It's hard to believe that 4HERO were, if I remember correctly, pretty straight edge. These insanely bedazzled trax with elation & paranoia smeared all over them seem designed to take maximum affect whilst under the influence of psychoactive substances. You would think inside knowledge of ecstasy, acid, speed, marijuana & coke's mind altering properties would have to be a requirement to make such successful psychedelic music but....
 

4HERO - In The Shadow (Sundown) (1993)
All backwards drumz, psychedelic mentasm scratches and an esoteric sequence of brutal abstract sci-fi keys that just seem to hang in the murky air make this a disorientating excursion into darkness like no other in hardcore jungle. A necromantic black hole of a tune.

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Friday, 4 March 2022

Blood Incantation - Timewave Zero

Death Metal Goes Cosmic Synth in 2022


An exact replica of a 70s cosmic synth record in the vein of Tangerine Dream & Klaus Schulze made by current death metal band Blood Incantation. In 1975 it would have been futuristic. In 2022 it's nostalgia for past visions of futurism. I'm not sure what the point is but it's a strange unorthodox trajectory for a death metal band to take. 

Is it so strange though? 

It may not seem so when you consider a track such as Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte by black metal act Burzum from their 1996 LP Filosfem (rec. 1993). So this tune was an ambient electronic tune not dissimilar to that of contemporaneous tracks by Aphex Twin.

There is however quite a large difference when you consider that this Burzum track was at least made in the innovative era for both ambient techno & black metal whereas Timewave Zero is a throwback to a genre that was innovative 45+ years ago. 

Many would argue death metal hasn't really pushed the envelope since the mid to late 90s when Death, Cryptopsy & Suffocation were making sonic transformations in the genre.

So Burzum were doubling up on their boundary expansion in the mid-90s while Blood Incantation are doubling down on their regression in 2022.