Sunday, November 22, 2015

comps of legend

Epic list of  JUNGLE TEKNO comps from Man Like Woebot!

 + commentary with a polemical emphasis on techno  - and an anti-emphasis vis-a-vis Amentalism and Roots 'n 'Ragga, contesting their status  as cornerstones of Nuum

I think I have all of these, pretty much

On CD though - i could never see the point of the vinyl slabbage versions - surely the thing with comps is either A/ continuous through-play or B/ reprogramming your favorite bits into killer sequences,leaving off the filler and duff-ige crew that all but a few inevitably shove in there

These comps were so crucial for those of us stranded in the sticks - or in my case NYC, much of the 92-93 period - without access to the specialist stores with the vinyl 12 inches

As for M like W's  polemic

I knew from earlier snipes that Matt thought Amen was a calamity for jungle, or at least a severe restriction of possibility....  "all those other breaks out there that could be used" ...

I dunno, though, there's so MANY fantastic tunes that run on Amentalism, and such a wide range - from LTJ Bukem's "Atlantis (I Need You)" all the way across to Renegade "Terrorist" and mad topsy turvy tumbling-down-the-stairs Remarc  / Dred Bass et al  type full rinse jobs....  it is the privileged pulse of junglizm for a reason yunno...    

As for reggae as not crucial, just a flavour... and too often a bad idea

Three little words!

- rewind
- dubplate
- MC

(The way MCs function in nuum-genres is very little to do with how rappers work in hip hop, and a lot to do with the MC - or deejay as they confusingly call it - on a sound system.... improvising with an arsenal of catch phrases)

A fourth keyword - jungle itself - comes from junglist, as in "alla da junglists", as in Arnette Gardens in Kingston being the (concrete) jungle, yard tapes reaching the U.K, getting sampled...   Proof surely that Reggae Owed Credit ...

I'd agree that the only indispensable element is breaks  - and thus hip hop = the privileged cornerstone, the origin

There are important tracks, artists, labels in the broad stream of this music that barely connect to the Jamaican thing

But taking the continuum as a macro-entity - as music + scene + vibe + microeconomy + demographic.... taking into account all the worldview mood-tropes and concepts like Babylon and downpression and dread...  the reggae elements are crucial

(Could hardly fail to be given the parentage, the ancestry of so many of the participants)

But even just as a music-form, isolated from its subcultural matrix, its rituals...

Here's a fifth little word, or phrase -  "drum and bass" ... as in "strickly drum n bass come an wine up yah waist"

The bass is second in command, as it were

And for sure there are B-lines in hardcore / jungle that are fast 'n' bippy, or that detonate more like electro 808 boom.... but an awful lot of them involve simple bass-note patterns played slow and low, repetitive cycles .... an aesthetic that comes straight out of reggae...  even the more abstract oozy ones, the whole feel of the bass is dread

The counter-examples are legion, just a few that spring to mind -  "Bludclot Artattack"..."What's My Code" ... Bert & Dillinja's "Lionheart" .... DJ Nut Nut & Pure Science "The Rumble", the original or the "Boom Shaka Mix"

Matt brings up postpunk echoes but one of the reasons darkcore often sounds PiL-y is the sinister Wobble-y bassige

Now, thinking of  someone directly and consciously influenced by postpunk.... Goldie ... he was someone who did complain about the surfeit of ragga tracks in 94,  who was incensed by General Levy's outrageous putsch

But then Goldie in his pre-rave years had been through a Rastafarian phase...  did a track called "Jim Skreech" (surely not unconnected to Big Youth's "Jim Screechy")... did a track called "Jah"...  has basslines and echoey bits in "Menace"

Personally I love the Jamaican element....  the thunderbass in DJ Solo "Darkage"...  the ragga-techno of "Mixed Truth" by, well, now you mention it, The Ragga Twins.... "when i was a yout' i loved to smoke collie weed"...   the fast-skank of SL2 "On a Ragga Tip"

The fact that Jamaica is close second place to hip hop as foundation of the macro-genre is shown by the fact it's the rootical and raggamuffin aspects that carry through, or resurface, in UK garage and 2step....  and not the hip hop element at all really...  the dub-sway riddim, the dancehall raucousness, the lover's rock sweetness ...   New Horizons "Find The Path" and "Slam Down Ya Body Gal", Gant "Soundbwoy Burial", Double G "Special Request"....

(Reggae is also right there at the start with bleep - Unique 3's "Weight For the Bass (Original Soundyard Dubplate Mix)", Ability II's "Pressure (Dub)", Ital Rockers etc etc)

I think of jungle - and nuum generally - as this sort of terrain over which the different source-genres are contending to take the upper hand, as it were  - a three-way collision that then becomes  a battle zone - hip hop vs reggae vs techno (and perhaps house is in there as well)....  and naturally different participants (meaning both producers / DJs and listeners-opinionators) will have different allegiances...  and these allegiances / preferences shift also through time....

For sure, with all the fundamental structural bases and prime flavours of the nuum -  hip hop, techno, reggae, souljazz ....  each of these can get to be mixed blessings,  pass from thrill to tedium when overdone

All lead to bad things ultimately, or dead ends....

Amentalism led to breakcore, ultimately....

Techno led to neurofunk / Photekism

And the dread/ bass-meditational side of junglism led to the more placid 'n' ponderous side of dubstep

Stop Press; further interesting discussion on this Dissession, at, where else,  Dissensus -  involving Droid, Woebot and others.


Daze Of Reality said...

Great form from Woebot - my first reaction is that I agree too much emphasis is and was put on the ragga chat and vocal sample side of things, to the detriment of a

huge body of jungle which never used reggae related vocals. A lot of this was down to music journalists who seemed to latch onto jungle's 'blackness' as something exotic and just a bit dangerous.

I would never argue with the impact of regga and dub basslines, and Jamaican dancehall customs such as rewinding, MCs, dubplates, obviously major and the Caribbean

lineage of so many producers and DJs clearly influenced the sound. But most of them were ex-Bboys, as were my friends and I. SUAD said what they made was "fast hip hop", and the main factor right there is sampling the hell out of anything. That happened to include a lot of roots from dad's record collection, but also soul, hip-hop and very importantly, dystopian scifi and horror movies.

Ragga chat can be really fun and I acknowledge it as a big strand ... I just have never enjoyed hearing a whole set of non-stop ragga vocals in jungle. At the time it was an overused meme and got tired quickly. Even now if you go to an old school night plenty of young ravers think it's not 'real' jungle unless it's got patois, which is frustrating. Woebot seems to be saying that the more populist side of it overbalanced into that territory to the detriment of both the music and the scene, and I agree.

I feel a big difference between the samples in tunes like Bludclot Artattack, Darkage, Dubplate and The Rumble, and the more blatant stuff that came in 1994-95. The 1992/93/early 94 style reggae and roots samples were far more weird, evocative and dark than sampling some ragga singer over a mental amen. Actually looking at that list of examples, all are 93 except The Rumble. Also interesting that I'm not alone in not liking Original Nuttah, ever.

So maybe for me its just a feeling that 1993 was the year of ultimate creativity and the true melting pot of styles, whereas what jungle was seen as during the explosion of 94 sometimes veered close to parody, due to fetishisation by the media and lazy production. It ignored so much brilliant music like this, none of which has any obvious Caribbean references aside from deep bass.

I guess I prefer the 'roots' style, more 70s dread influence, short contorted samples, over dancehall/lovers rock styles which seemed to become more obnoxious and obvious, taken in larger chunks, and dropped in without any of the recontextualising which used to happen. Like this

As for the amen, I wouldn't go as far as saying it was the death of jungle ... but it was over-relied on at the expense of a lot of other breaks which could have expanded the palette and given the genre a longer life.

droid said...

Well said. Im still not sure he is entirely serious.

Took to Dissensus to air my grievances as he's got comments turned off on his blog.

Matthew Ingram said...

where to start honestly ;-)

i understand the impulse of fans to cling onto the illusion - its a bit like prising a teddy bear off a child - and also shouldn't get myself painted into a corner - i do say lots of appreciative things about "the flavour" - but really it's ok to let go! jungle was *largely* sped-up hip-hop - it doesn't hurt -in fact its quite liberating!

as to the "junglist" theory (i know the story about *sampled* shout out for "junglist" and "rema" that came from a reggae tune and was then stuck) but also there are many many many claims as to where the "jungle techno" name came from - the last one i heard was this:

"One of the things that set Basement apart from the rest was the distinctive sound of the early releases 3 - 35, courtesy of Jack Smooth's engineering and co-production. 'Jungle Techno' is a phrase drawn from the label, with the phrase credited to Mikee B (one third of Top Buzz) who once famously commented that a Basement Records tune he was listening too, had sounds that were actually similar to those in a jungle, mixed with Detroit influenced soundscapes. "


we'll have to agree to disagree

i will say though if you take the macro view - if you start the story with bleep and keep going into the 2000s.... the reggae looks like the persistent flava / structure element, and breakbeats look like a phase....

there are bleep tunes (like, nearly all of them!) that don't have breakbeats, and then UKG / 2step drops the breaks and restores the rootical / raggachat

droid said...

The best alternate naming story is surely Ibizia & Noise Factory's 'jungle techno'? That was '91 and afaik, the earliest use of the term to describe the music, and the Ibiza cru were big into their reggae. Almost the polar opposite of Basement actually.