Dusk at Hohenzollerndamm, Berlin
I’m sick. Which blows. So I can’t work for a week. Which also blows.
But at least I have my tunes, so that’s some compensation!
One bonus of living in Germany is super cheap domestic postage for packages (DHL, after all, is part of the state-run Deutsche Post). So, last week, I gorged myself on vintage jungle from the Discogs seller simplyfreshtunes, and I would like to share with you five of these tunes to brighten up your Tuesday.
Few things on this earth are as awesome as classic jungle!
Mensa – White Rock (Tearin Vinyl)
First up is one of the lesser known tunes from Krome & Time’s Tearin Vinyl label. Mostly this label is remembered for their own massive anthems ‘The License’ and ‘Ganja Man’, but they also released a bunch of other quality jungle tunes from some smaller names, like Mensa, a.k.a. Arif Salif, Matt Taylor & Steve Caddell – who? The only single they ever released, ‘White Rock’ is an absolutely blazing Amen tearout tune that sounds, frankly, quite like a lot of other blazing Amen tearout tunes from 1994/1995. And that’s no bad thing! ‘White Rock’ is also, of course, a reference to the infamous crack cocaine – weirdly enough, that was a bit of a theme on Tearin Vinyl, as they also had released a tune called ‘Glass Pipe Fury’ by DJ Exodus & Head Pressure.
Of course, at one point there were rumors that jungle music itself was linked to crack (which was bullshit, of course):
While Quest is pretty much trouble free, there are reports of jungle clubs that are much rougher. Where people get attacked and where crack is openly used. This happened to me at a jungle night: Two 15 year olds spotted my friend’s little hash pipe and asked it they could use it. A moment later there was an unpleasant sweetish smell. “What are you smoking?” he asked. “Snood,” they replied, giggling inanely. “Snood?” “Yeah, snood, you know, snood, crack. You want some?”
Anyways, I hope the crack reference is just because they wanted to be ‘dark’, not because they were actually crack addicts, since crack is, you know, whack. Right, Whitney?
Dillinja – Sovereign Melody (Deadly Vinyl)
Second up is the most expensive tune I’ve bought in a while (jungle prices have really gone through the roof over the last few years!) – this is Dillinja in an unusually mellow and restrained mood. No cascades of tearing Amens, just solid rolling beats and summery chords, with a firm bassline undergirding the whole thing. This is an extremely versatile tune, one that could work as well in an LTJ Bukem-style set of dreamy and deep drum n’ bass, or as a nice palate-cleanser in the midst of a much harder set. Dillinja really set the standards in the mid-90’s, and this, in my opinion, is one of his finest tunes.
Cutty Ranks – Dark Justice (Half Breed Remix) (24 Karat)
Here’s a confession: I wasn’t even aware of this tune until last week!
I only found out about it because I was looking through simplyfreshtunes’ sale catalogue and I found this, was curious, had a listen on YouTube, and, bang, added it to my cart. Sold!
Cutty Ranks, for those who are unaware, was one of the great Jamaican dancehall mc’s of the early 90’s, and the DJ SS remix of his ‘Limb By Limb’ (which also appeared on my Street Dreams mix) is perhaps the ragga jungle anthem.
Obviously, this is a much much much less well-known tune, but it is still a fine combination of ragga vocals, choppy drums, and rib-shaking bass. A keeper.
Dr S. Gachet – The Dreamer (Aphrodite Remix) (Labello Blanco)
Using the classic “behold, here cometh the dreamer” sample, this Aphrodite is just a perfect distillation of his sound circa ’95 – massive euphoric melodies leading to an incredible explosion of energy as the bassline drops. Simple but oh so effective!
This appeared on Labello Blanco’s The Babyface Ragga Tribute Vol 1 EP, which was a tribute they did to a friend of theirs who sadly passed away. Other tracks featured come from Bizzy B and D’Cruze – all in all an extremely solid purchase.
Simpleton – Unity (Remarc Remix) (Kemet)
Last but not least, here’s another vintage ragga jungle workout, as the lord of choppage himself, Remarc, gets to grips with Simpleton’s ‘Unity’, from Kemet’s Repatriation EP, which also featured tracks from the likes of Family of Intelligence, Dan Man, and Fusion. Remarc was the absolute master of drum edits, as you can hear from this tune, where the drums are constantly twisting and shifting in between the dubwise bassline and Simpleton’s vocals. A glorious tune on an amazing EP.
Hard to argue with this review from Discogs:
If you do not already own this I suggest that you buy it pronto.
Has to be the one of if not the best jungle EP out there.