Monday, July 27, 2009

Week 9: Ambient Jungle

Imagine yourself in 1994. The whole jungle thing is kicking off big time, and you love it, but you happen to have this other side—maybe it's an artsy-fartsy ambient "let's smoke a bowl and talk about the universe" side, or perhaps it's a getting-in-touch-with-your-black-roots wannabe-jazz-musician "one of these days I'm gonna learn to play vibes just like Roy Ayers" side, or maybe you're just one of those pretentious types who thinks ragga is for dummies and this whole jungle thing would be a delight if only there were some intellectuals like you to make it inscrutable to the unwashed masses.
Back in the day all three of those somewhat unseemly forces united and churned out a sound referred to as "ambient jungle", "atmospheric jungle", "jazz jungle", "intelligent drum & bass", "artcore", and a few dozen other names that the press tried to push out there but that never really stuck.
This stuff was adored by the critics back in the day (I remember reviews from the jungle section in Urb saying "thank goodness this new Reinforced comp doesn't have any stinking AMENS in it"), but it's been pretty much forgotten today. I chalk it up to a combination of jungle's declining relevance in the current musical climate, the fact that the jungle tunes remembered as classics tend to be the dancefloor-smashing ragga anthems, and the reality that today's crop of jungle kids came up on said ragga anthems and don't actually know much about original jungle beyond those big tracks. On the rare occasions when people do bring up this genre, it's usually to malign it (my pal and sometimes collaborator DJ C hates the stuff, for instance).
Make no mistake, a bunch of ambient jungle was fucking awful. It sounds like an advertisement for body lotion that you might see on Lifetime, or like the music they play in Pottery Barn. But then again, a lot of it was really good, and due to prevailing tastes in jungle at large, I never ever get a chance to play this stuff. So here goes.

Chrissy Murderbot's Year of Mixtapes Week 9: Ambient Jungle

  1. Blame; Groove Research (Movin' Shadow)
  2. Cloud Nine; Blissful Ignorance (Tango Remix) (Movin' Shadow)
  3. D'Cruze; Heaven (Suburban Base)
  4. Eddie; Intelligent Drummer (One Touch Recordings)
  5. DJ Food; Fungle Junk (Ninja Tune)
  6. Essence of Aura; Let Love Shine Through (Movin' Shadow)
  7. Tek 9; Slow Down (Nookie Remix) (Reinforced)
  8. Jazz Juice; Jazz Juice (Precious Materials)
  9. DJ Krush feat. Black Thought & Malik B; Meiso (4Hero Remix) (Mo'Wax)
  10. Run Tings & Liftin' Spirits; Invincible (Suburban Base)
  11. The Noise of Art; Rollin' Deep (Smokey Joe Remix—Chrissy Murderbot Re-Edit) (Suburban Base)
  12. Omni Trio; Renegade Snares (Foul Play Remix) (Movin' Shadow)
  13. Red One; Alive & Kicking (Remix) (Liftin' Spirits)
  14. Flynn & Flora; Dream Of You (Independent Dealers)
  15. Boogie Times Tribe; My Soul (Roni Size & Krust Remix) (Suburban Base)
  16. SDS; Future Feelings (Echo Drop)
  17. The Art of Noise; Island (Seiji Remix) (China)
  18. Jason Mouse; Better World (Sm:)e)
  19. DJ Phantasy; Atmosphere (Alex Reece Remix) (Rogue Trooper)
  20. Tek 9; 74 Inches Above Sea Level (SSR)
  21. ILS & G-Force; Nocturnal (Echo Drop)
  22. Rogue Unit; Dance of the Sarooes (Labello Blanco)
  23. Tight Control; Sax Lick 1 (Chrissy Murderbot Edit) (Bear Necessities)
  24. Mikey James; The Rhys Project (Suburban Base)
  25. A Guy Called Gerald; Life Unfolds His Mystery (Juice Box)
NEXT WEEK: Steppas Reggae.

18 comments:

  1. UPDATE!

    Radiata (www.myspace.com/radiatachicago), a DJ who keeps up with current drum & bass a lot more than I do, was telling me last night that some of this stuff has been starting to see some exposure again in the mainstream d&b scene...who know!
    Through no fault of my own, I am apparently timely and relevant for once!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I dont know, when i think of classic jungle tracks, I always listen to this style. To each his own. I was excited to see/hear DJ Fantasy in your mix.

    ReplyDelete
  3. maybe it's just the scene that I run/ran in, but I find that a lot of kids these days just don't remember it...refreshing to know that it's still alive though!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just discovered this blog through google..
    Cool stuff here, thanks alot for all the nice mixtapes.
    Peace from Amsterdam!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Biggit up !!! Boom boom intelligent drummer! Im still in love with that choon!

    ReplyDelete
  6. wheres the LTJ and goodlooking records? hahaha j/k... gonna check the mix now =)

    ReplyDelete
  7. needs moar dolphin squeeks

    ReplyDelete
  8. It'a A Masterpiece! Great Stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  9. My fav so far! Thanks Chrissy!!!

    M

    ReplyDelete
  10. hey, this looks great (plus points especially for 'Life Unfolds His Mystery')! downloading now.

    I've also done an ambient/atmospheric jungle mix recently, which you might enjoy called That Dream Is Over.

    ReplyDelete
  11. man, you're right about that kind of jungle, many people didn't understand it and slept-on it.
    nice mix, keep atmospheric jungle alive, everyday allday!
    Luca

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hey Chrissy,

    FINALLY getting around to checkin' this mix. For the record, I certainly don't hate all this stuff. I used to listen to a lot of it back in the day. The stuff I do dislike is the LTJ, repetitive beats and insistent strings, as well as some of the cheesed out jazzy (lounge-y/"Brazilian") style elevator-dnb that was coming out.

    Great job on this mix series!

    ReplyDelete
  13. well, this sort of "jungle" killed raw jungle conpcet in the first place. no grit, just pure elevator music

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? I personally think what killed jungle was in the mid to late 90s all the machismo, hoovery distored basslines and the move from interesting breaks programming to boring two-step breaks.

      Delete
    2. you're both right in my opinion...so many different things conspired to make jungle seem irrelevant by 1998

      Delete
  14. you're right! but it was good when it started out...
    and the two sides weren't nearly as separate back then...

    ReplyDelete
  15. fucking bass is so introspective through the whole mix,it's like bass from another planet. and,oh,i both like raw hardstep jungle and this kind of tunage. junglist massive!

    ReplyDelete