Thursday, November 24, 2005

Sovereign Rhythms Vol.1 - A 1993-1995 Hardcore and Jungle Selection

OK, so here’s Part 1 of a mix that I did more than 2 years ago. I was particularly disillusioned with drum n bass at the time, and hadn’t really dug out my old skool much in recent years... Hence after a long stoned session of frantic re-discovery, I went back in and determined to put together a couple of mixes to showcase some of my favourite Jungle and early Drum n Bass tracks from that time. Many of these tunes have been largely unavailable since then, hence the emphasis was intended to be on letting the tunes breathe so that a new audience might get to hear what the music had been capable of back then. Some of the mixes were a bit of a nightmare to pull off (I wasn’t into the idea of ‘correcting’ any errors in the mix later), so a lot of work went into these babies. However, just to stress that this isn’t a ‘Best Of’, or a ‘History’, it’s merely a selection of personal favourites from 93 to 94 – roughly about the period that the music was morphing from hardcore breakbeat into Jungle, and from there into drum n bass.

As it happens, despite the subtitle, there’s not much in the way of strictly ‘hardcore’ on it, but the vibes of hardcore are still very much present in many of the tracks IMO… especially on ‘Open Your Mind’ and ‘Monarch Of The Glen’. I should add that Droid and Slug are much better versed in 92 / early 93 bizness than I, so they should be getting some prime moments of hardcore madness up here for y’all in the not-too-distant future…

Download Sovereign Rhythms Vol.1 - A 1993-1995 Hardcore and Jungle Selection (87.7mb)

00:00) 1.DJ Tamsin & Monk - A Better Place [DJ Crystl Rmx] (Whitehouse)
(06:01) 2.Deep Blue - Helicopter Tune (Moving Shadow)
(08:44) 3.Foul Play - The Stepper (Moving Shadow)
(11:47) 4.Urban Wax - Take Me Up Remix (Liquid Wax)
(17:24) 5.DJ Crystl - Let It Roll (Dee Jay)
(20:54) 6.Ruff With The Smooth - Twisted Girl (Basement)
(27:10) 7.Intense - The Quickening [DOPE Remix] (Rugged Vinyl)
(30:49) 8.Ed Rush - Bludclot Artattack (No-U-Turn)
(34:44) 9.Danny Breaks - Vol. 1 (Droppin Science)
(39:20) 10.Foul Play - Open Your Mind (Moving Shadow)
(43:00) 11.DJ Taktix - The Way VIP (Back2Basics)
(47:11) 12.Hyper-on-E - Lord Of The Null Lines [Foul Play Rmx] (Moving Shadow)
(50:40) 13.Sub Sequence - Everyday (Too‚z Up)
(54:17) 14.Omni Trio - Original Soundtrack (Moving Shadow)
(57:18) 15.D.O.P.E. - Travelling Part 2 (Rugged Vinyl)
(61:09) 16.Studio Pressure - The Water Margin (Photek Recordings)
(65:04) 17.Fokus - Trigger Happy (Lucky Spin)
(66:36) 18.Hyper-on-E - Monarch Of The Glen (Moving Shadow)

(00:00) 1.DJ Tamsin & Monk - A Better Place [DJ Crystl Rmx] (Whitehouse)

OK, so straight in and the lush opening chords of Crystl’s tuff take on Tamsin & Monk’s ‘A Better Place’… You might actually recall a short section of the first drop in this tune even if you’ve never heard it in its entirety before, as it used to pop up as one of those annoying ads-for-ourselves that MTV used to run... usually featuring short clips of tunes that they would never dream of playing in their entirety. So here Crystl (with more than a little help from engineering wiz Pete Parsons, I’ll wager) ruffs up the original with some trademark tuff-but smooth beat-work, and comes up with a stunning roller that still exudes freshness today. Incidentally, Whitehouse was yet another one of those labels that couldn’t be found in Ireland ten odd years ago; instead I got this on a superb compilation called ‘Counterforce’ on Internal, which featured a slew of Crystl tracks plus a bunch of other prime cuts. Curiously enough, the ‘mixed’ version of that LP was actually programmed/sequenced rather than DJ-mixed, and it also featured Orbital’s breakbeat number ‘Are We Here’ tacked on to the end...

(06:01) 2.Deep Blue - Helicopter Tune (Moving Shadow)
(08:44) 3.Foul Play - The Stepper (Moving Shadow)

Next up we have Deep Blue’s ‘Helicopter Tune’… a huge anthem in 93/94, but always worth re-checking – its thoroughly unique vibe still has the power to make one sit up and pay attention. Check the odd mix of drum machine-type exactitude (the automaton hi-hat and the stiff bongo-loop) juxtaposed with the looseness of the breaks and general Jungle ruffidge. A big smiley upbeat number, but it still somehow retains that martial junglistic quality. From there into Foul Play’s ‘The Stepper’... and how far removed from the latter-day concept of ‘stepping’ this tune is! Quite similar to a hiphop remix they did with Rob Playford (King Just’s ‘Warrior’s Drum’), with the “Hey-Hohh!” vocals. As ever, awesome rhythms that still flow with panache despite their intricacy: Foul Play were truly the Kings.

(11:47) 4.Urban Wax - Take Me Up Remix (Liquid Wax)

OK, on to Urban Wax i.e. Phantasy and Aphrodite… two old skool raver champions at the top of their game back then, and a world removed from ‘Drop Top Caddy’ et al. It’s stuff like this that makes me switch off when I hear nu skool steppers bang on about how the beats have to be braindead in order to be danceable… I mean, who in their right mind would favour a big clunking snare on twos and fours over this gorgeously sublime track as it skitters and slides with graceful athleticism all over the shop?

(17:24) 5.DJ Crystl - Let It Roll (Dee Jay)

And on: Crystl’s ‘Let It Roll’: seminal stuff from Crystl and Pete Parsons again. Parsons was undoubtedly the Rob Playford to Crystl’s Goldie i.e. a skilled mediator for Crystl’s ideas. Amazing rhythms, and a beautiful breakdown to boot. As for the 2003 remix…. Well, when you’ve heard this, you really gotta ask just one question: why?

(20:54) 6.Ruff With The Smooth - Twisted Girl (Basement)

From there we head onto the little-known Ruff With the Smooth on Basement Recordings, and ‘Twisted Girl’ – one of my favourite tunes form this period… although it took me about ten years to find some decent mixes for it! Simon ‘Bassline’ Smith was involved in this if I’m not mistaken… a really lovely dreamy vibe to it, yet no sign of it resting on its big fat lazy laurels a lá latter-day GLR; instead there’s a hint of poignancy – one that for me, always recalls the end of that naive period in the music, and the beginning of the industrialisation of drum n bass – the laying down of new laws regarding styles, titles and tempos… but here, in an Indian Summer of innocence, this track rolls on, blissfully free of the need to have a big build-up or drop. Sweet stuff.

(27:10) 7.Intense - The Quickening [DOPE Remix] (Rugged Vinyl)
(30:49) 8.Ed Rush - Bludclot Artattack (No-U-Turn)

Intense. 1993!!!!! Yes, so far ahead. Big Bukem tracks from back in the day (when he used to cane the best of the atmospheric breakbeat tracks), and some of the earliest ‘drum n bass’ tracks that I heard (i.e. neither ‘Hardcore’ nor ‘Jungle’ – something new). Intense were masters of cinematic samples, and seriously on form when it came to their beats too. So simple and yet so effective. OK, on we go, and enter… The Blackness. ‘Bludclot Artattack’ was Ed Rush’s first big tune, and it still provides a lesson in the power of rolling simplicity (Grand Master Nico over at No-U-Turn was at the controls, natch). Dubbed-out sub-heavy Jungle through and through. The same vocal sample – Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now – was recently unearthed again by Paradox for his ‘Dilettantes’ tune…

(34:44) 9.Danny Breaks - Vol. 1 (Droppin Science)

Danny Breaks… Volume 1. I tried to get this tune for about 10 years and had given up all hope when it arrived in the post out of the blue – much thanks and respect to the one and only Statto for passing on this awesome 12” to me… this one is dedicated to him. J As for the tune, what can I say? Chinese pianos rolling down the stairs passing a load of tumbling Amens on the way, the orgasmic vocals… this one is for the Jungle Ravers, no doubt, but it still oozes class and individuality all the way. Danny Breaks dropped the quality from the off, and has never let up since.

(39:20) 10.Foul Play - Open Your Mind (Moving Shadow)

More from the mighty Foul Play, thus time with possibly their biggest track – the anthemic ‘Open Your Mind’, and a real brain-bending journey into hardcore junglism. I reckon the title, while surely Ecstacy-inspired, also represented a plea by the virtuosos of hardcore breakbeat to have their style taken seriously by the cognoscenti of UK dance music… you gotta remember that as late as 1993, the likes of Oakenfold and Pete Tong were still queuing up to diss UK Hardcore Breakbeat. Such a shame they didn’t do their homework (and reserve their ire for d+b’s later misdemeanours), cos they missed the best period of the music altogether. Anyhow, former music journo (and former Jungle devotee) Simon Reynolds never stopped banging on about this track and it’s not hard to hear why: you’d have to have a heart of stone and feet of lead not to be moved by it. Foul Play got much more self-conscious about their aspirations to be ‘proper’ musicians after this point, and while they had yet to roll out more killer tracks, nothing that came after retained that nutty E-‘d-up quality so evident here.

(43:00) 11.DJ Taktix - The Way VIP (Back2Basics)

DJ Taktix... “It’s…. the Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy!” I can well remember having a laugh at just how many times this vocal sample had been rinsed by the Back2Basics cru back in the day… and then they went and dug it out AGAIN recently in order to drain the last few drops of vibe from it. I first heard a mix of this on the excellent ‘Renegade Selector 1’ compilation (a seminal LP purchase for me), and it still stands as one of my favourite Jungle tracks… I love the ruff/smooth combination with the RnB vocal running over some absolutely FILTHY breaks and the interjections of the MC… and when the half-speed dropout comes in second-time round with that sample stuck in a loop of suspended animation… it gets me every time.

(47:11) 12.Hyper-on-E - Lord Of The Null Lines [Foul Play Rmx] (Moving Shadow)

And so, yet more Foul Play, albeit on remix duties this time (where they generally excelled). For years, it was this – the first very slick Foul Play remix of Hyper-On-E’s biggest track that really got me… I only got properly converted to the madness of the original tune some time later. (The original is fucking MENTAL by the way). Under the guiding hand of Rob Playford, Moving Shadow was responsible for putting out some really creative remixes in 93/94, and between them, Foul Play, Omni Trio and Hyper-On-E pretty much defined Shadow at that point. Oh yeah – Hyper-On-E later changed their name to Hyper-On-‘Experience’ (like Foul Play, they’d lost their taste for the ardkore, and were seeking musical gentrification)….

(50:40) 13.Sub Sequence - Everyday (Too‚z Up)

Next up, Sub Sequence on Too’z Up… connected in some fashion to the Intense cru, many tracks by these chaps explored a similar atmospheric terrain. This one is composed mainly of samples taken from Sabres Of Paradise’s ‘Haunted Dancehall’ LP (which came out around 94 too if I’m not mistaken) and while chilled, is kinda anxious too…

(54:17) 14.Omni Trio - Original Soundtrack (Moving Shadow)

Omni Trio and a track off his Volume 4 EP on Moving Shadow. The godlike Rob Haigh could do no wrong for me back in 93/94. At the time, some appear to have found Omni Trio’s stuff too delicate or quaint to allocate it a place in the emerging ruff Jungle sound… but not me. I remember asking in renowned Jungle emporium Section 5 if I could hear the explosive 95 remix of ‘Feel Good’ (backed with the dynamite ‘London Step’) and whoever was behind the counter shook his head and advised me to ignore it… cos it was ‘shit’. Such a shame that this was never picked up on for the James Bond movie series; it certainly beats Bukem’s lame 1997 ‘James Bond Theme’ hands-down.

(57:18) 15.D.O.P.E. - Travelling Part 2 (Rugged Vinyl)

On to D.O.P.E… dunno much about these guys… I kinda always assumed that this was a Rugged Vinyl release, but it was in fact put out on GLR with a big Rugged logo on it… maybe a collaborative project? D.O.P.E also dropped a scorching remix of Kenny Ken’s full vocal ragga anthem ‘Everyman’ on Rugged Vinyl, which was re-released not so long ago, and is well worth picking up.

(61:09) 16.Studio Pressure - The Water Margin (Photek Recordings)

And now comes The Ninja! Photek’s early stuff (i.e. the first half dozen 12”s on his own label before he got signed to Virgin) definitely made me consider drum n bass in a new way… I think it was his tracks that first made me think of how each track might only play a part in the sum total of the mix, rather than having each one offer its own narrative, its own beginning, middle and end. Photek tracks like this remained perfectly unresolved, kinda frantic and uneasy, despite the smoothness.

(65:04) 17.Fokus - Trigger Happy (Lucky Spin)

From there into Fokus… another late-era purchase for me, this one is a prime slice of deep melodic Lucky Spin breakbeatism. This one is quite typical of the signature Lucky Spin sound back then, upbeat in vibe, all rolling beats and pounding subs. Don’t think Fokus ever recorded as anything else… Pete Parsons provided a remix of this tuner as Voyager, so I’m guessing he may have been on engineering duties too…?

(66:36) 18.Hyper-on-E - Monarch Of The Glen (Moving Shadow)

And finally, we close this chapter with Hyper-On-E, this time in full-on Raver mode. An absolute fucking nightmare to mix in from the start (producers didn’t make it easy for DJs back then, oh no!), but I had to drop this in somewhere for the sheer cheek of the vibe. True ardkore scavengers, Hyper-On-E had a unique ability to drop in a million samples from a million sources into their tunes, and yet could still roll them out with the energy undiminished.

So, concludes Volume 1. Big up to Droid again for badgering me to finally get this mix up online… Volume 2 picks up from where the first one leaves off, and should be up here very soon… in the meantime, I hope you find something in this set to enjoy… the mixing is of an altogether better quality than my ‘Fever’ mix too!


Blogger AAA said...

I cant beleive I'm the first to post a comment here, class. I lived with Naphta for years so I can safely say that I know where he's coming from. He's a stubborn aul fekker and that makes him the best judge of jungle I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Theres no airs or graces, No labels or attitudes just love of a music that stuck in his throat since the early 90s. I've had these mixes for a while now and still play them although I want more but I'll settle for these a while longer. Great tunes, remind me of a better day.

Triple A

3:28 PM  
Blogger droid said...

Bit of a SNAFU with the comments there triple A - sorry if youve had to re-post.

Its fixed now!

4:18 PM  
Anonymous nuffbonsai said...

Naphta has an amazing selection of jungle, never disappoints.
Can't wait for Part 2

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Stacks said...

yup. Some pin-sharp mixing combined with the absolute top quality selection makes for probably the best jungle mix I have ever had the pleasure of listening to.

Top stuff.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous dice said...

you know you are in for a quality ride when downloading this...if any one is up for it I can re-post a monster mammoth b2b between naphta and triple a aka 'dave' :hahaha:
seriously a ruff mix explaiing further that in all his eloquent anger this man has a borader taste than most might think!
would love to hook up with you all again soon as well...come over to the dam (or we might have to host another night with you two)

8:03 PM  
Anonymous dice said...

another goodie for y'all:

Naphta b2b Triple A LIVE @ Bambu III Antwerp Belgium

size = 194.81 MB
running time = 2h21
bitrate = 192 kbps

recorded August '03 @ Bambu III


10:51 AM  
Anonymous tetsu said...

am downloading now. really looking forward to listening to this as both your droid inna dancehall mixes were very good too.
now that no.2 is up already i am going to be stuck listening to these for a long time!
thanks for uploading these!

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great mix, got here via forum.
i was a kid listening to abba in 1993, so thanks for enlightening me with jUngle !

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lush. Listening now. I'd been looking for a mix like this! Feeling The Quickening especially.

5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea if anyone will see this, but I need help on figuring out which of the many versions of The Way is the one that I want. I am pretty sure the VIP is rubbish, and that leaves like 3 others to choose from.
You can reach me here


3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good tunes

check my mix for 93-95 jungle

including the final chapter vip mix:)

6:07 PM  
Blogger sam333 said...

PLEASE HELP! every time i download this mix it says 'compressed folder invalid or corrupted.'
im probably being a twat, but this mix looks wicked and any advice would be greatly appreciated. cheers!

2:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im havin same problem really lookin foreard to hearin this !

8:29 PM  
Blogger droid said...

Ok Fellas. I just Downloaded it and it unzipped perfectly.

If you can check your download and verify that nothing's gone wrong with it I will re-compress and re-up it. Your DL should be 87.7mb or 91,926,971 bytes. Anything less than that means its a problem with your downloading and not the file.

let me know and Ill sort it out as soon as possible. ;)

Did either of you have any problems with any of our other mixes btw?

2:28 PM  
Blogger rufian said...

Fantastic mix, loving the track selection.

Just a correction though, Ruff with the Smooth was Donovan 'Badboy' Smith not Simon.


7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that the currently hottest reggae singer who’s worked with the famous Sly n Robbie, Nick Manasseh, and future cut has free music you can download at ?go get it.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Rafa Gomes said...

Nice album. I was looking for a song The Way and found only here.


Rafael Gomes
Sao Paulo, Brazil

6:12 AM  
Blogger West Norwood Cassette Library said...

oh man, hyper on experience. what can you say? truly crackers...

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:18 PM  
Anonymous Paul G said...

Awesome, awesome mix... Ruff with the Smooth vol 1 was one of my favourite eps, picked up from Basement where I spent every spare penny I had - so glad to hear someone else gets the track's melancholic/uplifting vibe.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice sharing!! Thanks sooo match

12:09 AM  

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