George of the Jungle

hqdefaultJungle emerged out of hardcore in the early ’90s, pioneered by London DJs like Fabio and Grooverider and labels like Reinforced, Metalheadz and Moving Shadow. With a much higher tempo (typically around 160 bpm) than house, it’s based around complex drum patterns that are essentially chopped up and reassembled 33 rpm hip hop breakbeats played at 45 rpm. The most common of these are the classic break from Amen Brother, which of course previously appeared slowed down in hip hop tracks like King of the Beats and Straight Outta Compton (heard here), and The Incredible Bongo Band’s Apache (heard here).

I first heard jungle courtesy of our friend Ram. Sole exponent of the ‘broken robot’ form of body popping, Ram played tapes of early Reinforced records down in our basement, winding us up by joking that it was the ‘new jazz’. Ironically as jungle later evolved to become drum’n’bass, losing the screeches, sirens and ragga MCs, it indeed became jazzier and began to appear on the playlists of DJs like Gilles Peterson and Norman Jay not just Goldie, Peshay and 4hero. Meanwhile, the incorporation of samples of artists from Bob James to A Man Called Adam began to make the music appeal to me too. By the late ’90s, drum’n’bass had become ubiquitous: all records had a drum’n’base remix and it was the soundtrack for everything from car to shampoo commercials. Sadly for Saulo, the more erotic bum’n’bass never made the same impact.

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The only time I really played any drum’n’bass out was at Flava 2 Sava. A regular at Back On The Streets, Jankster had created the night with a similar recipe, drafting me in as replacement for Mukatsuku Nick, but he needed someone who really knew jungle. Enter Cretan radio’s most famous DJ, Mr George. George played a few funk records too but really he was there to provide the drum’n’bass, which he did in dark style. The first time he went on (after me), he killed all the lights on the dance floor and began to play a long Pink Floyd intro. Unnerved by the dark and irritated that the bump’n’hustle of the earlier records had gone, the crowd below turned and began booing. This prompted the Turk to drop his dungarees and flash the crowd, and I vaguely recall someone spitting and Neil giving them the finger. Jankster begin to look worried. Then it dawned on him what George was doing. A few seconds later a massive jungle drum break kicked in, George upped the lights, and the crowd went wild. Funk first, jungle later became the formula for the night.

The mixes below capture the sound of that era to me. First is a brand new mix. Darker than the others, it starts with a sound from the Asian underground, an off-shoot of drum’n’bass pioneered by Talvin Singh. Next is a Metalheadz classic from Alex Reece, and then one from an old friend from Glasgow who I used to swap mix tapes with, who contributes an appropriate We Live In Brooklyn sample, reminding me of fun times in Byres Road (What up, Crawford – I’m still looking for that Silhouettes LP!). Crawford’s Memento Mori is followed by a bunch of Metalheadz tracks interspersed with an unusual track from Wall of Sound’s Dirty Beatnick’s, broken beats from old-school junglist Omni Trio and broken beat from Waiwan.

  1. Flight IC408 – State of Bengal
  2. Pulp Fiction – Alex Reece
  3. Memento Mori – Cinema
  4. Freefall – J. Malik
  5. Unknown W/L – Dirty Beatnicks
  6. Down Under – Digital
  7. Made Up Sound – Source Direct
  8. Swing Time – Hidden Agenda
  9. Trippin’ on Broken Beats – Omni Trio
  10. Goddess – Waiwan
  11. One And Only – Pfm

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images 2Next is one I’ve posted before. It starts with Alex Reece remixing UFO, amusingly once referred to by King Rob’s nemesis Anil as “an obscure little Japanese outfit” (not obscure in the slightest to anyone who’d been following the scene for the previous five years). Then there’s more Alex Reece, funky d’n’b from the Bel Air project, a few things on Metalheadz and Moving Shadow, and some tracks from the Bukem stable. Revival is from Bukem’s first Earth box set, which combined material from the Good Looking, Looking Good and Cookin’ labels, while Music is a classic that marked the turning point in Holding On, a BBC TV mini-series featuring Phil Daniels and David Morrisey that’s a great portrait of London in the ’90s.

  1. Loud Minority (Alex Reece remix) – United Future Organization
  2. Jazz Master – Alex Reece
  3. Bongo Club – Bel Air Project
  4. 19.5 – Bukem & The Peshay
  5. Subtropic – E-Z Rollers
  6. Music – L.T.J. Bukem
  7. Feverish – Tony Justice
  8. Destiny (DJ Pulse) – DJ Pulse
  9. Revival – Blame
  10. Trippin’ On Broken Beats – Omni Trio

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MOVING+SHADOWThe last mix is another old one, featuring some brilliant records. It starts with my favorite drum’n’bass track, Blackberry Jam, which sounds like it samples a soundtrack and unlike most manages to sound funky even at 160 bpm. Next on my list would probably be the EZ Rollers track, which has an amazing vocal sample and a sax that reminds me of Eddie Harris (the even better Guardians of Dalliance remix is featured in this mix). Adam F, son of Gary Numan, adds the intro from the Bob James classic Westchester Lady, Wax Doctor chops up A Man Called Adam’s Earthly Powers, and the mix ends with Subject 13 playing like an electronic version of Tom Scott’s Sneakin’ In The Back.

  1. Blackberry Jam- Makato
  2. Magik – Bel Air Project
  3. Chill Pill – Alex Reece
  4. Retro – EZ Rollers
  5. Glide – Free Hand
  6. 5 Miles High – TMF
  7. Rare Tear Part 1 – Flytronix
  8. Circles – Adam F
  9. Kid Caprice (Funk Mix) – Wax Doctor
  10. Faith – Subject 13

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~ by ricardosevere on 06/20/2015.

2 Responses to “George of the Jungle”

  1. […] number one latin combo, Boca Loca (El Grito on Wurlitzer and vocals, the Turk on drums, and Mr George on cuica), drew bigger crowds and covered some of these tracks, as well as playing self-penned gems […]

  2. […] my favorite eclectic night was upstairs at Apple Crumble, Mr George and (Don’t Hold Back, Because It Feels Good To) Ed’s night at Herbal. They played […]

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