Sound System Culture and the Emergence of Jungle Music
Jungle music, often known as the don dadda of Drum & Bass, is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the UK in the early 1990s. Its roots can be traced back to the UK’s sound system culture, which emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. Sound systems were groups of DJs, MCs, and sound engineers who would set up massive, mobile sound systems in public spaces and play music for crowds of people.
The Birth of Jungle Music
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a new wave of dance music began to emerge in the UK. One of the most influential scenes was the rave scene, which saw thousands of young people gathering in underground venues to dance to fast, electronic music. Out of this scene emerged jungle music, which was initially known as hardcore or rave music.
Jungle Music Characteristics
Jungle music was characterized by its fast, frenetic rhythms, heavy basslines, and use of breakbeats, which were chopped up and re-arranged into complex, polyrhythmic patterns. Jungle music also drew on the sound system culture, with MCs shouting out over the music, and DJs playing dubplates and exclusive tracks.
Incorporating Reggae and Dancehall Influences
As jungle music evolved, it began to incorporate more elements of reggae and dancehall music. This was particularly true of the so-called “ragga jungle” style, which featured MCs singing in a Jamaican patois over fast, bass-heavy beats. Ragga jungle became hugely popular in the mid-1990s, and helped to bring jungle music to a wider audience.
The Transformation into Drum and Bass
Jungle music continued to evolve throughout the 1990s, with artists experimenting with new sounds and styles. By the end of the decade, jungle had transformed into drum and bass, which was characterized by its faster, more frenetic rhythms and futuristic soundscapes.
The Legacy of Jungle Music
Today, drum and bass remains a popular genre of electronic music, with artists and fans all over the world. While jungle music has evolved over the years, it remains an important part of the electronic music landscape, and continues to inspire new generations of artists and fans.
In conclusion, jungle music is a genre that emerged from the UK’s vibrant dance music scene in the early 1990s. It drew on influences from reggae, dancehall, and sound system culture, and was characterized by its fast, complex rhythms and heavy basslines. While jungle music has transformed into drum and bass, it remains an important part of the electronic music landscape, and continues to inspire new generations of artists and fans.
Notable Artists and Releases
Jungle music has produced several notable artists and releases over the years, including:
- LTJ Bukem – “Logical Progression” (1991) LTJ Bukem is a DJ, producer, and founder of the Good Looking Records label. His mixtape “Logical Progression” is considered a classic of the genre, and helped to popularize the atmospheric, melodic side of jungle music.
- Goldie – “Timeless” (1995) Goldie is a producer and DJ who is known for his fusion of jungle music with other genres, such as jazz and classical music. His debut album “Timeless” is considered a masterpiece of the genre, and features collaborations with several notable musicians, including Diane Charlemagne and Noel Gallagher.
- Roni Size & Reprazent – “New Forms” (1997) Roni Size is a DJ and producer who is credited with helping to popularize drum and bass music in the UK. His group Reprazent’s debut album “New Forms” won the Mercury Prize in 1997, and is considered a landmark of the genre.
- Shy FX – “Original Nuttah” (1994) Shy FX is a DJ and producer who is known for his fusion of jungle music with reggae and dancehall. His track “Original Nuttah,” which features MC UK Apache, is considered a classic of the genre, and helped to popularize the use of reggae samples in jungle music.
- Aphrodite – “Aphrodite” (1999) Aphrodite is a DJ and producer who is known for his high-energy, dancefloor-focused jungle music. His self-titled album, released in 1999, features collaborations with several notable MCs and is considered a classic of the genre.