Wednesday, October 21, 2009

jungle 12 inch reviews/ "Stone Free" column
Melody Maker, late 1994

by Simon Reynolds



METALHEADS--"Inner City Life"/"Timeless" (fffr/London)
Released as a taster 12 inch, "Inner City Life" could become jungle's "Back To Life" or "Unfinished Sympathy", thanks to the crossover appeal of Diane Charlemagne's gorgeous jazzy vocals and Goldie's angelic/demonic strings. But it's "Timeless", the 22 minute epic from which "Inner" is excerpted, that will really blow your mind, with its cobra-coiling swarm of breakbeats and maze-like/mirage-like production. A concept track about "inner city pressure", "Timeless" passes through different 'movements' (the most breathtaking being "Jah"'--cyber-juju, King Sunny Ade meets Derrick May). But "Timeless" really works as a whole, taking you on a hair-raising terror-ride through the city's heart of darkness. Not just a great 'dance record' but one of this decade's most astonishing pieces of popular art.

DA INTALEX---"What Ya Gonna Do" (Flex)
"What Ya Gonna Do" takes ambient jungle's paradoxes--savage sentimentality, punishing poignancy--to the extreme. It starts as a haze of synth-ripples and rapturous moans, then SUPERNOVAS with devastating bass-blasts and a skin-scalding soul-diva ultimatum: "whatcha gonna do?!". Da Intalex (a.k.a. L. Double) is a rising star.

DILLINJA---"Deep Love (Remix)" (Logic Productions), "Stomper's Delight/Southside" (Logic Productions)
With its softly glowing electric piano and flickers of lachrymose wah-wah guitar, 'Deep Love' exudes an exquisitely serene melancholy. Blue and beguiling, this is orchestral jungle at its finest. "Stompers" and "Southside" offer more Dillinja magic, unfurling cyber-jazz electronics over cranked-to-the-max clockwork drum & bass.

D'CRUZE--"Lonely/Chronic Breaks" (Suburban Base)
A brilliantly tentative intro--stabs of plangent strings, lump-in-throat lamentations--then "Lonely" rolls out an irresistible sashay of intricate snares and hi-hats. "Chronic Breaks" is gorgeously desolate, with eerie vocal samples like The Clangers yodelling the Appalachian blues.

E-Z ROLLERS--"Remixes" (Moving Shadow)
Droppin' Science's revamp of the sublime "Rolled Into One" is cool, but you can't really improve on perfection. So it's Foul Play's dramatic reconstruction of "Believe" that's killer, cutting between minimal (ultra-crisp drum tattoo and chiming bass) and maximal (rhapsodic wafts of strings 'n' synths) to superb effect.

RONI SIZE & KRUST/JMJ & RICHIE---"2 on 1, Issue 7" (Moving Shadow)
JMJ & Richie's "Deep Bass 9" is a pleasant enough confection of vocoderized ragga, blissed diva and two-step shuffle. But it's Size & Krust's "Witchcraft"--a dreamswirl of s(h)immering percussion, spangly wah-wah and hall-of-mirrors vocals-- that really substantiates the experimental intentions of the '2 On 1' series.

DJ PESHAY--"Psychosis/Represent" (Metalheads)
Both tracks have elegant arrangements featuring piano-tinkles and wah-wah tingles, but jungle's new smooth-side/soft-core direction worries me--this is a tad too tasteful for my taste. Enough soul-diva ululations already!

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Really love "Believe", thanks for mentioning that, it seemed conspicuosly absent from GE when I read it. Big ups on your latest post too. I was in Portland last night and heard some of the "post dub/whatever" that you're talkin about. As for names, is SmoovE or Le Pussycat taken yet?