Tuesday Time Machine

Tuesday Time Machine: Jungle Fever Edition

Hohenzollerndamm, Berlin
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.

Tuesday Time Machine

Tuesday (OK, Wednesday) Time Machine: Fat Stacks Edition

A Berlin classic: Currywurst from Zur Bratpfanne on Schloss Strasse

Ok, this should have been posted yesterday, but such is life!

If you saw Mondayday’s post you’ll know that I’m currently sorting through my records in our new Berlin flat. So, for today’s edition of the (very occasional) Tuesday Time Machine, here’s a look at all nine of the tunes that are nestled (somewhat precariously) on top of the stacks in the picture. I have a big collection, so there are even more tunes out of view!

First up, let’s jog your memory with the pic again:

Tuesday Time Machine

Tuesday Time Machine: Eternal Bass – Infinity

Goddamn, wasn’t 1994 jungle amazing?

What a fucking tune!

Also available at Discogs at a non-outrageous price. Awesomeness cubed.

Eternal Bass also did Way of the Future, one of the better homages/rip-offs to Origin Unknown’s anthem-of-anthems, Valley of Shadows.

Tuesday Time Machine

Tuesday Time Machine: Mood II Swing – All Night Long

Mood II Swing - All Night Long

Quite simply my favorite house tune ever. A true moment of magic from two of the 90’s New York house scene’s finest producers.

More: Back in the House trailer.

Tuesday Time Machine

Tuesday Time Machine: Optical – The Shining

Today the Tuesday Time Machine is headed back to 1997 with The Shining, a vintage slice of techstep from the legendary Optical!

Optical - The ShiningBest known for his long-running partnership with Ed Rush, Optical (known to his mom as Matt Quinn) was originally a solo producer, responsible for many excellent releases like this one, which appeared in 1997 on Metro Recordings, a label owned by his brother, Matrix. It’s not a particularly complicated tune, but a highly effective one. For the first minute and twenty seconds there are no beats, just deep, atmospheric chords, with the first hints of percussion percolating through at about the one minute mark. When the beat finally drops, it is a crisp two-stepper undergirded by a grimily distorted bassline, the legendary Reece bass tortured into a new shape. And that’s … about it. A simple and hypnotic tune – if you’re listening to this on headphones you can’t help but move, and if you are on the dancefloor you find yourself swept away without being really conscious of it.

This is hardly one of his most famous tunes, but it is one that I have always really liked. If you like this, you should definitely make a point to check out the Ed Rush and Optical albums Wormhole and The Creeps, which are both fantastically produced slabs of that minimal neurofunk sound (which they, of course, pioneered).

Tuesday Time Machine

Tuesday Time Machine: Alex Reece – Basic Principles (Dillinja Step 1)

Alex Reece - Basic Principles (Dillinja Step 1)

An occasional feature where I grab a record from my collection … and write about it

On today’s edition of the Tuesday Time Machine, we are going to look back at a vintage, yet relatively unknown, Dillinja remix – his 1995 remake of Alex Reece’s Basic Principles on Metalheadz. Unlike a lot of Dillinja’s most famous tunes from that era, this is not a tear-your-face-off Amen smasher designed to completely annihilate the dancefloor. Something like that wouldn’t really make sense, given the fact that the original, in true Alex Reece style, was a mellow, jazzy roller designed for the dreamier floors (and for top-down summer driving). So, instead of going completely berserk, the Dilli-man reaches a nice compromise, draping Reece’s summery chords and vocal vamps over some properly iron-plated drums and stomach-punching bass that hint at the total madness that Dillinja so often unleashed. However, by practicing some restraint, this tune retains a versatility that it might not have if it really went balls to the wall. As such, it can work either as a tougher moment in a mellower set, or as a lighter moment in a harder set, or just as a nice vibing tune in the midst of a rollers selection.

Plus, because it is not one of his better known tunes, it is available really cheap on Discogs.

Want more Dillinja? Check out the History of Dillinja mixes by The Law.

If you want more drum n’ bass/jungle, here are my three most recent mixes:

King of the Rollerz – My DJ Zinc tribute
Dark Side of the Nuum – Vintage ragga jungle
Urban Takedown – Classic mid-90’s jump-up