Monday, April 13, 2009


...As in short for British 'ardcore Jungle Tekno not the arpeggiated cheese from Japan. At some point during the 90's the multi-racial urban London phenomenon of jungle transmogrified into a mostly-white, mostly-suburban niche scene known by the incredibly bald descriptor drum and bass.

What happened?

Well, it lost the funk. The joyous chaotic mash of 30 years worth of black music (funk, soul, dub reggae and hip hop) crossed with rave culture gave way to yet another strain of streamlined minimal techno, albeit with much higher BPMs. Gone were the intricately chopped breakbeats and rude bwoy attitude, the helium vocals, the rumbling sub bass, and with it the spirit of anything goes. The beats were now strictly 2 stepping- kick, snare; kick snare, a la Ed Rush and Alex Reese- and the out of control tempo was now cresting 180 BPMs. So fast that breakbeats (the very foundation of the music) didn't sound right.

Although there were several other contributing factors like the move away from ragga vocals and toward heavy guitar pedal distortion; many, including yours truly, think that the out of control speed is what put the final nail in the coffin.

Enter J-Tek Records; which aims to combine "the ideas of the past with the engineering of the future" thus "bringing it back to move forward". This apparently means slowing things down and putting the emphasis back on the breaks, but anchoring them with solid 808 1/4 beats.

I was a little skeptical at first, I mean "c'mon J-Tek? Isn't that arpeggiated cheese from Japan?" Despite sounding like somewhat of a regression, the names involved were intriguing. Among them, original dubplate don Randall, old school hardcore provocateurs Tango & Ratty and the mighty Digital.

This set by Outrage and Modular was recorded live in Dublin and should give you an idea. Download MP3

The mix is more or less what I guess should be expected- fairly straight forward (150 BPM) techno mixed with chopped up breaks and some other odds and ends (the Dubstep mash-up of Digital's Deadline and Q Projects classic Champion Sound @ 24 minutes in, however makes the whole download worthwhile. Trust!)

Though I don't a whole lot of progression here, the beats are solid. And the exciting thing about this to me is that the J-Tek seems to be part of a larger movement in which the walls between EDM genres are thankfully being torn down- purists be damned. Interestingly the Grime generation is overlapping with similar ideas (read Zomby). And of course there's the clusterfuck of shit going on in the electro scene as anyone who's not been living under a rock for the last five years can attest to. I for one, fully welcome this- as the late 90's diaspora in dance music has foisted unnecessary rules on people and in the process really stifled creativity.

Here's another mix, with better sound quality. This one's done by DJ Madcap. It's on more of a classic old school jungle tip. LINK

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