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. Peak ambient jungle.


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.