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If you were tormented by the question, what is the difference between jungle and drum and bass, then this article just shows the process of transition from one concept to another. Moreover, this process is illustrated by examples of the rapidly changing sound in the mid-1990s and supplemented by the most important releases for this transformation, which went down in history and the golden musical pantheon.
In addition, this time we will discuss how the so-called “intellectual” appeared and gained popularity. This movement is connected with a drop in interest in brutal ragga jungle, and the emergence of colorful soundscapes and a more intimate sound to the forefront of the scene, which was no longer suitable only for hot hacks on the dance floor.
Let's also touch on the fact that the intellectual broke with the MC tradition in many respects - this music was no longer so demanding to be accompanied by a quick-fire reading. The new genre could be listened to even at home, even in a glamorous bar, while drinking sparkling wine. And, looking ahead, it was on the intelligentsia that the label “drum and bass” was widely labeled for the first time (although not always fairly).
And, of course, when talking about this stage in the development of electronic music, one cannot do without mentioning LTJ Bukem, 4hero and Goldie, who designed the framework of drum and bass (which, however, immediately began to break Aphex Twin or Squarepusher).
About all this in a new article from the cycle about broken rhythms and drum and bass in particular. The author of the series is Ra Djan, the creator of the YouTube channel of the same name and the Telegram channel History of Rave Culture.
Traditionally, all the material in this series of articles can not only be read, but also watched.
• "Jungle Is Massive"! The history of the main conflict in the jungle that divided the genre in two
• History of the jungle: 1994, gangsta rave, racism, fashion and classic tracks
• How and where did the jungle come from
• How Jamaican dub changed music and where remixes came from
Prerequisites for the emergence of the intelligentsia
Until 1994, jungle raves could be described as spontaneous. The total number of people on this stage often could not guarantee the regularity of events (although those that did could easily draw a crowd of thousands). But already in 1994, the scene began to multiply dramatically. Events were both gloomy and cheerful, and even with outright crime, to be honest. Plus, the music itself by this point has turned into a rather wild and loose.
Jungle was also called gangsta rave. The cultural theorist Kodwo Eshun described why this was the case. In his opinion, the jungle marked a symbolic destruction of the ideals of a naive rave utopia, as ravers smiling with all their teeth were afraid that a conditional gopnik from the suburbs would come to the party and destroy the peaceful and fun vibe of the event. This is certainly a primitive racist myth, since the bully in their imagination was naturally of color.
The rave began as a festival of universal love on the dance floor, where all the brothers and sisters are. Ragga jungle, on the other hand, was paranoid. Where the junglers hung out, the atmosphere changed as well. State Of Bass author Martin James writes that, on a regular basis, Mixmag and Generator magazines published letters complaining that jungle was killing the vibe, that it was too dark. In the same place, James tells how some clubs even put up a "No Breakbeat Zone" sign at the entrance to convince junglers not to come (and at the same time reassure the house audience that "everything is okay here").
And now, for lovers of house and a more bourgeois pastime, much more suitable music appeared: not so aggressive, not so chaotic and gloomy. And this music had two directions: jazzy, like LTJ Bukem and 4hero, and with a nod towards hip-hop, like, for example, Danny Breaks.
Where and how a new genre was born
In 1993-94, something similar to an intelligent could only occasionally be heard on pirate radio stations. At events, LTJ Bukem and Fabio started to play such music. The new genre did not yet have its permanent home.
LTJ Bukem and Goldie
In October 1994, everything changed. LTJ Bukem, Fabio, Kemistry and Storm, along with a small party, have taken over Mars Bar in the West End, one of the most party and fashionable areas of London. They called their parties (which later became legendary) Speed and held them on Mondays. Of course, you can’t imagine a worse day for parties, but the parties have become for a while one of the most important club events in the country. This place cannot be called otherwise than as a creative center of drum and bass and a meeting place for producers, DJs and lovers of new sound. At the same time, Speed parties were very different from other events in jungle orbit. Jungle raves already easily drew 5,000 people, Speed only held a few hundred.
Listen to LTJ Bukem's 1995 track "Horizons". There is not a single gloomy note in it, not a single evil sound.
During 1994, LTJ Bukem gathered like-minded people around him: these were Photek (and his Sounds Of Life project), Peshay, Wax Doctor. The same LTJ Bukem promoted the idea of alternative venues in clubs, where at 4 in the morning he played lighter music for those who wanted to relax.
away from the gloomy and furious sound. Intelligent turned out to be a genre that shed its feigned hardcore, brutal aesthetic and focused on the music for a more thoughtful listening experience without sudden movements.
Important albums: 4hero - Parallel Universe
In parallel, the genre was developed by the 4hero project together with the Reinforced Records label. In 1994, 4hero released their second album, Parallel Universe, which showed what a new generation of jazz and fusion could be. 4hero cut the most unpredictable and unintended jungle music and strung it on their breakbeat. Even in our time, this record has a lot to learn.
Full album "Parallel Universe"
It seems that this longplay was sent to 1994 from the future. Some of the critics later noted that Parallel Universe took the jungle into outer space. 4hero already showed the full range of possible manipulations with breakbeat. While many producers worked with loops, 4hero cut each sound separately and programmed the most complex rhythms using one-shots (needless to say, DAWs were still in their infancy at that time).
Listen to, for example, "Wrinkles In Time" with its microscopic shifts and rhythm variations. What does "rhythmic psychedelia" mean?
Even though Parallel Universe is considered by many to be the first intelligent album, it seems to be a bit lost in the flow. There was not much money for its promotion, the release remained in the underground. But on the other hand, he anticipated the most popular epic Goldie, about which a little later.
Album A Guy Called Gerald — Black Secret Technology
In 1995, another extremely important album was released. It was released by A Guy Called Gerald, widely known since the late 1980s. Rave masses knew Gerald Simpson from one of the most influential British acid house tracks. Voodoo Ray is the biggest hit of the Second Summer of Love. However, in the spring of 1995, on his own label Juicebox Records, Simpson released Black Secret Technology, a euphoric and very soulful album.
Full album "Black Secret Technology"
The artist was loved by the press, but despite the positive reviews, the release was not sold in gigantic print runs. Simpson was inspired by a wide range of genres: techno, electro, dub, reggae, soul, hip-hop. And all this amalgam still sounds modern. The album also had a significant impact on Goldie, who co-produced on the track Energy.
A Guy Called Gerald & Goldie — Energy
The aura of jungle (as in classic reggae and dub) is very dependent on drums, this is its structural center. The album Black Secret Technology can be interpreted as a metaphor for the impact of African tribal drums in an urban environment. This is such a mix of ancient impulses and modern technologies.
Album Goldie — Timeless
4hero and A Guy Called Gerald raised the bar of drum and bass standards and showed that this kind of music can be listened to with the head, not with the feet. With their filing, the album format went into action. But Timeless remains the genre's most popular album, not only because of its content, but also because of its powerful marketing. More than a hundred thousand copies were sold, but it is not known whether the circulation paid off the budget of the advertising campaign. Timeless was impossible to ignore, ambitious to the core. The three-part epic track of the same name lasts over 20 minutes.
Full album "Timeless"
The album was released in mid-1995 and produced, as they say, the effect of an exploding bomb. Timeless was a real monster: so many ideas were put into each track that it would be enough for an entire album. The whole release is really coolly produced - it's fast, complex, inventive and absolutely timeless. And, of course, the tracks from this album were also played at the mentioned Speed events.
Despite the fact that Timeless was a breakthrough of the genre into the mainstream, Goldie remained "his" in the eyes of the underground. He was also a representative of the underground in the eyes of the general public. In the media, he was called the "first star of the jungle" and "national treasure"
He recorded the Goldie album with Rob Playford (famous producer and creator of Moving Shadow, one of the most important labels for the genre - approx.), who, not without snobbery, believed that there were no real talents left in ragga jungle. In his opinion, the producers are stuck in the sound of the 1992 sample and they have already got everyone. So together with Goldie they were trying to come up with a new sound. It is this sound that will be called drum and bass.
And what was going on around that time?
The popularity of jungle, of course, disrupted the underground ecosystem: as the mainstream began to broadcast jungle on its own channels, pirate radio stations, specialty music stores, or the same club flyers lost their meaning. People began to listen to the main BBC radio - they launched the program One In The Jungle. And compilations with this music could already be bought in supermarkets. Imagine how you buy a collection of "dramchik" in the conditional Pyaterochka ...
Where without the great and terrible ...
By the mid-1990s, the genre had become practically public property. Jungle tracks began to rivet all and sundry - even the most talented artists from other areas. Aphex Twin, for example, picked up the baton to rework the sound in their signature style. For example, the drums in Girl/Boy Song were both similar and very different from jungle. In general, Richard Dee James opened new horizons, using not only traditional breakbeats as drums, but also noises.
Squarepusher also participated in the creation of a separate micromovement - Drill and Bass. In general, it seemed that he was not so much interested in the jungle and its scene, as he brought the programming of the most complex rhythmic patterns to virtuosity.
Playlist: Full Squarepusher Feed Me Weird Things Album
What united these people was their indifference to whether DJs played their music. Their main goal was to explore new possibilities. This once again broke the feeling of unity in the underground community - the jungle sound no longer belonged to him. However, this was a slight digression from the topic. Let's go back to a few more albums.
Album T. Power — The Self Evident Truth Of An Intuitive Mind
At the same time as Timeless, the album The Self Evident Truth Of An Intuitive Mind was released. T. Power finally showed that the genre has sailed into unknown distances, mostly space. Like there was rock, and then there was progressive rock. There was jazz, fusion appeared. There was jungle and The Self Evident Truth Of An Intuitive Mind was supposed to be. If you want to hear an album that is as different as possible from everything else in the genre, then you are definitely here.
"The Self Evident Truth Of An Intuitive Mind" in full
Before that, by the way, T. Power released the popular track Mutant Jazz, which actually looks more like romantic lounge compositions, but just the jungle rhythm saves it from vulgarity.
Jungle Book - Intelligent Minds Of Jungle
In 1995, the compilation Intelligent Minds Of Jungle was released on Reinforced Records, which collected the best, according to the label, tracks of the genre. It seems that London has revived the style of Ibiza, somewhat forgotten since the Summer of Love.
One of the tracks in the collection
In fact, the word "intelligent" was not the most successful. It seemed to imply that there is also some stupid jungle for stupid people. This was directly mentioned by LTJ Bukem in one of his interviews. However, the term has stuck and is still found to this day, along with such concepts as "atmospheric drum and bass", "artcore" or "ambient jungle"
A few more revealing and important tracks There was a brief period in the mid-1990s when jungle producers were signing big companies en masse. One of these artists was DJ Crystl, several of whose tracks became mandatory numbers in the sets of the so-called ambient jungle. Of the most noteworthy - Let It Roll 1994 with a very interestingly designed acoustic space.
It is a pity that DJ Crystl quickly died out and after 1995 did not release anything particularly interesting. And now a great track by Alex Reese, whose name at some point, according to the press, became synonymous with a jazzy sound.
However, on today's topic, we should be more interested in his other composition. In 1995, Alexander Reese released the iconic Pulp Fiction, which quickly became the soundtrack for the entire scene. The peculiarity of the composition is that the rhythm is evened out in it. Instead of complex and feverishly chopped breakbeats, a simple uncomplicated two-step was left. There was nothing simpler in the jungle: a banal rhythm, and on top of it, jazz tunes on the trumpet. And this is another moment when you can talk about the transition from jungle to drum and bass.
The sound of Pulp Fiction appealed to both big labels and media - journalists were finally able to listen to this music without leaving their homes. For everyone who couldn't digest ragga jungle, it was a new round of development and a breath of fresh air. Yes, and those who went to the already mentioned and, as it were, opposed to jungle house parties, could now come and dance to this new minimalist beat without any hesitation.
Another significant release by Alex Reese was released in late 1995 under the name Feel The Sunshine on the Island Records Major. One critic called the track "ultra-soft, Björk-esque jazz-funk drum and bass."
One of those who transformed hardcore into already fully matured drum and bass was Danny Breaks. He launched the label Droppin' Science, which released the next track. Compare these orderly but still fast and grooved drums to those of ragga jungle and you'll quickly spot the difference in vibe. This is also one of the prerequisites for the beginning of drum and bass.
Now we summarize
So, in 1995, the intellectual, as they say, took off; gained deafening popularity and fans among the audience far from the jungle; became much more bourgeois; kicked MC off the stage; partly broke with the logic and ecosystem of the underground; and in some places even simplified and lightened the sound for the sake of accessibility.
Thanks to this - if we can talk about the differences between jungle and drum and bass - there was a transition from one concept to another. The popularity of drum and bass led to the fact that artists like Eric Clapton and David Bowie became interested in it. And we will definitely discuss this next time. In addition, in future releases we will touch on the dark side of the genre - let's talk about text-step. Until then, see you again!