Pearsall – Atmospheric Jungle Selection | 7 Days of Summer Mix Drop
Download only at Soundcloud
Mixed in Berllin, July 2023
(62:45, 144 MB, 320 KBPS MP3)
01. The 2 G’s – Energy [Juice Box]
02. JLM Productions – Words Between Us [Reinforced]
03. Sub Sequence – I Want You [Too’z Up]
04. The Sentinel – Genesis [Basement]
05. DJ Krust – Accepted Meaning [OKBRON]
06. Q Project – Champion Sound (Doc Scott Remix) [Legendary]
07. Koda – Spacetek [Dee Jay Recordings]
08. Source Direct – Modem [Source Direct]
09. Babylon Timewarp – Changing [Keeping Vinyl Alive]
10. Zero B – Lock Up (DJ Crystl Counterforce Remix) [Internal]
11. Secrets – Time Travel [Street Beats]
12. Shogun – Slipstream [Renegade]
13. Lee & Gwange – 2 Deep [Legendary]
14. Skanna – Find Me (Classic Skanna Mix) [Skanna]
15. DJ Crystl – Paradise [Dee Jay Recordings]
16. Ruff with the Smooth – Twisted Girl [Basement]
17. Bruck Wild – Silent Voice [Soundman]
18. Just Jungle – Sky [Trouble on Vinyl]
19. Rude Bwoy Monty – Summer Sumting [Frontline]
20. Tek 9 – Summer Breeze [Reinforced]
When they approached me to participate, the only brief they gave me was to make it summery, so I decided to do a bit of a sequel to my Rolled in Sunshine mix from a few years back and focus on rolling, soulful, atmospheric jungle from 1994/1995, the sound that I’ve called ‘rugged soul’; I also decided to do the mix totally without Amen drums!
Here’s how I described this sound in the blog post I wrote to accompany Rolled in Sunshine:
What’s nice about this mix, for me at least, is that it points at a direction for jungle music that wasn’t so well explored in the end – jungle as a rugged form of soul music, with sweet melodies and vocals rubbing up against tough breaks – the sounds of rare groove and jazz funk reimagined in a rave context. In the endlessly bifurcating river of breakbeat music, the ‘deeper’ side of this music, as represented in this mix, ended up evolving by 1996 into a very smooth sound, with well-mannered beats matched to tasteful samples from jazz and funk. I like that stuff too (see here), but I still feel like something vital was missed in the transition, and making this mix (and listening to it over and over and over) has just reinforced that for me. I much prefer this tougher sound to what came later, which sometimes sounded a bit like it was designed to soundtrack shampoo commercials.
As drum n’ bass evolved from jungle in 1995/1996, it split into roughly three directions: populist jump-up party rave music with a big hip-hop flavor (example), the smoother / deeper tunes as played by Fabio and LTJ Bukem (example), and dark and menacing techstep (example). Along the way, music either went very musical and mellow or it went very hard, but the sound represented on this mix, of soulful melodies set to slamming beats, sort of went by the wayside. Which is a shame!
For me personally, I just love this combination of tough drums and soulful vibes; these particular tunes make it crystal clear just how indebted jungle was to American soul and funk music, and how crucial those sounds were to the producers. This is part of what made (and makes!) jungle music so powerful – this vibrant stew of influences, this interlocking of Jamaican, American, British and European sounds into one unbelievably propulsive and vital sound.
I hope you enjoy the mix!
To round things off, I’ve picked five tracks from the mix to discuss in more detail.
A veritable clash of the titans, this is a collaboration between Manchester’s A Guy Called Gerald and the Metalheadz main man Goldie, originally released on Gerald’s Juice Box label in 1995. It also featured on Gerald’s seminal 1995 album Black Secret Technology, which was one of the first proper jungle/drum n’ bass artist albums. I’m not 100% certain, but I think these two tracks were the only ones they ever released collaboratively, and this one is especially beautiful – synth washes, depth charge bass, an echoey female voice talking about energy, shuffling breakbeats … it’s awesome! I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard this on a club system, but I can imagine it sounding quite amazing.
This was released last year on Russia’s OKBRON label, which has been focused on reviving the classic atmospheric drum n’ bass sound, both via new tracks as well as releasing unreleased 90’s tracks like this. I think this was made in around 1995 and it’s really cool that stuff like this has finally made its way off dubplate into the hands of random dudes like me. Great drums, minimalistic bass, and expertly building tension before the melody swoops in. Top stuff.
Lock Up (Counterforce Remix By DJ Crystl)
Zero B’s ‘Lock Up‘ was a huge 1991 hardcore anthem, one of the original rave classics, and this remix, which only ever appeared on the Counterforce compilation, is a fascinating take on it. If the original was a perfect example of that original rave sound, all wide-eyed euphoria, this version illustrates how rapidly the world of rave music was evolving in the early 90’s. It’s a much more subtle, mature, and technically adept sound, but with maybe some of the original innocence lost; it’s a perfect mirror of the transition from breakbeat hardcore to drum n’ bass.
This is the epitome of what I call ‘rugged soul’, an incredible jungle version of the British r&b artist Innocence’s song ‘Silent Voice‘; soulful vocals layered over explosive breakbeats and powerful bass, huge swathes of synths stretched over the whole mixture. I’ve always thought it was a big shame that as the mellower / more atmospheric side of jungle / drum n’ bass developed that it moved away from these kind of tough beats in favor of simpler, more stripped down vibes.
Just an absolute killer of a tune!
I don’t think it would be possible to do a mix of soulful, atmospheric jungle and not include something from the Reinforced Records camp! To close out the mix I’ve selected ‘Summer Breeze’ by Tek 9, aka the solo alias of Dennis ‘Dego’ McFarlane, Reinforced co-founder and one half of UK music pioneers 4 Hero. Released on his double EP ‘Jus a Likkle Sumtin’, which combined jungle and downtempo tracks, this is a perfect send-off to the mix, combining soulful vibes, tough beats, and a punchy bass. Weirdly, it just ends unexpectedly, without the usual outro, so if you’re surprised when it just stops, well, that’s not me screwing up, that’s really how it ends!