Saturday, April 08, 2006

Naphta @ The Beat Suite 030306

Video clip - Naphta and MC Wuzza at The Beat Suite. Bit dark and grimey - but thats how we like it! MP3 is tagged and bagged for DL below. - Droid

Hi and welcome to another old skool Jungle mix from me :) this time from a recent old skool night featuring myself, Droid, Golden Maverick and MC Wuzza: Aerial cru’s ‘Beat Suite’ night in Dublin… I wanted to keep this one on a 94 tip, selecting some of my favourites from the more ruff and ready Junglistic style at the time… from Hype, L Double and Dillinja – three of my favourite producers back then - to Reinforced’s rude-but-flavoursome Jungle styles (interspersed with one or two more ambient cuts from the Deejay / Lucky Spin school)...

As was my way back then, the only real limitation that I imposed on myself here was to avoid taking the standard path of caning endless Amens… I mean, nobody can argue with that break and its enduring appeal, but there was so much more quality out there that was as much ‘Jungle’ - if not even more so - than the many standard Amen button-pushers that filled up the fringes of the scene back then… and which many people today seem to consider the sum total of the 'Jungle' sound.

Needless to say, I don’t. For me, Jungle was as much about the darkly sweet vibes created by mixing raw breaks with heavy sub-bass, and by pushing samples to the forefront instead of synthesis, than about using this break over that...

By explicity drawing from hiphop, reggae/ragga, soul, funk etc. – and by cutting from one reference point to another – rather than seeking to smoothly conceal its different sources of inspiration (which ‘musical’ drum n bass later sought to do), Jungle, as a style, still sounds fresh to me… indeed, a lot fresher than much 'drum n bass', with its self-conscious seriousness, and with its now-redundant sci-fi / futuristic associations.

Of course, not everyone will agree with me and with my definitions of terms like ‘Jungle’ and ‘drum n bass’ – for sure there was great music made that straddled both styles superbly (Dillinja’s ‘Still Waters’ on Hardleaders being one good example – it feels simultaneously cold and yet also ‘Jungle’ to me)…

However, when the change came, it seemed to come swiftly. I remember it seeming to occur somewhere around mid 95, about the time, if memory serves me correctly, that the early No-U-Turn techstep blueprint was allying with the emergent Metalheadz heavy ‘Blue Note’ sound to reclaim and re-energise the UK breakbeat scene. The way I read it then, the scene had run away from the Ragga interlopers with their boastful, competitiveness and their ambivalence/admiration for violence, and sought temporary safety in the arms of musical respectability – in the coffee-table lounge styles of Bukem, Justice, Peshay etc. – a style which of course had also been lauded in the wider music media as indicative of the UK Breakbeat’s emergence from its adolescence to a new stage of musical ‘maturity’.

But in doing so, the scene had drained itself of the necessary hardcore energy that the Ragga influence had provided for the music. Techstep thus re-energized the floors for a while, and brilliantly so, but its fine-honed formulism could only mean one thing – that if in the long term, the whole scene adopted this style’s limited rhythmic palette and ‘production-values first’ aesthetic, then the music overall would suffer - would lose its rawness, would lose its DIY accessibility, would lose much of its ability to surprise. In my opinion this is exactly what happened, so ultimately, the same mutant appeal that for me linked Hardcore and Jungle would later be lost to ‘drum n bass’.

So, by 96, reggae/ragga samples and references had all but disappeared (to be replaced by the US hiphop influence, which itself virtually disappeared over the course of the following year). Polyrhythms were out, sub-bass was out, samples used ‘as samples’ were out, humour was out, the cut-up aesthetic was out, the stop-start fragmentation of the track structure was out. Over the following years, all of these features and characteristics of Jungle have been touched upon again – and indeed occasionally revived – by drum n bass producers, but usually in isolation from one another, or simply as cheap easy-reference tools.

As to the racial mix that Jungle reflected – and that later drum n bass seemed to filter out again – I’ve found many in the UK seemingly unwilling to acknowledge the fact that the departure of much of Jungle’s black audience back to UK Garage obviously had an effect on the sound of UK breakbeat thereafter… it seemed obvious to me that when the raw material and influences from black music forms of the past were no longer there to draw upon as readily, the result would be that later drum n bass would sound ‘whiter’, more linear, more like techno as I knew it – or indeed like Stadium Rock these days… Then again, as someone who didn’t live in a multiracial environment at the time, it is of course easier for me to observe or comment upon such things – I don’t (or rather didn’t) have to consider their implications to the same extent.

Nonetheless, I cannot help but silently fume from time to time when I hear some plastic, soul-less, hyper-speed over-compressed shit cheaply and crassly claiming a Jungle ‘sound’ or allegiance these days. I just tend to think: do your fucking homework, and find out what Jungle was REALLY capable of – both as a genuinely multicultural and living/working urban realisation of much of what Rave sought to achieve - something that rejoiced in its roots as much as its future - and also as a style and sound that offered its adherents something that no other UK-born dance music has achieved to anything like the same extent in my opinion, an explosive mash-up of influences to create a form that rejoiced in both its intellect AND its instinct... in mixing the raw with the smooth, the hi-brow with the lo-brow, in challenging its audience while also giving them what they wanted - in seducing them rather than seeking to crush them.

Maybe the segregation of styles in the UK was always more strict than I ever knew. Thus, maybe my version of 'Jungle' is only an idealised one... But if so, it's not a bad place to start from in checking this music again, in delving deep, and in considering what its implications are for where we stand today. Personally, I think that there's a lot to be learned from Jungle, as a sound, and as a ruff set of guiding principles to live by (particularly at a time when we feel the absence of much else). But maybe that's just me.....

Anyway, enjoy the mix. The mixing's not too bad, and quite nice indeed at one or two points.. I couldn't hear shit when the MC got going unfortunately (the venue is pretty small and confined) but overall, I think it stands up OK; if nothing else, the selection might present one or two surprises to fresh ears. As ever, big up Droid for putting this up, and to the Beat Suite lads for pushing all things Junglistic!


Naphta@thebeatsuite030306 (

1. DJ Gunshot – Soundboy (No U-Turn)

2. Code Blue – Angels In Dub [DJ Crystl Rmx] (Deejay)
3. Orca – Liar (Lucky Spin)
4. Dj Hype – Tiger Style (Ganja)
5. Tek 9 – Pushing Back Rmx (Reinforced)
6. Dillinja – Perfect Match (Deadly Vinyl)
7. DJ Hype – Dreams (Suburban Base)
8. Underground Software – Find Yourself Another [Big] (Reinforced)
9. Mad Dog – Easy (Underdog)
10. Andy C – Roll On (Ram)
11. Cold Mission – For Da Ladies (Reinforced)
12. Shimon – Predator [L Double Rmx] (Ram)
13. Dopestyle – You Must Think First! (Ganja)
14. Chris Energy – Zalongo (Reinforced)
15. Sub Sequence – State Of Mind (Too’z Up)
16. Asylum – Steppin’ Hard (Metalheadz)
17. Skool Of Hard Knocks – Autorinse (Grand Larceny)
18. Da Intalex – What You Gonna Do (Flex)
19. Dillinja – Brutal Bass (Metalheadz)
20. L Double – Rock Dat Shit [Big Baggy Shorts Mix] (Flex)
21. Code 071 – A London Something [Tek 9 Rmx] (Reinforced)
22. Danny Breaks – Step Off [Splash Rmx] (Droppin Science)
23. Tom & Jerry – Dancer (Tom & Jerry)
24. Atlas – Drifting Thru The Galaxy (Deejay)
25. Badman – The Rising (IQ)
26. Missing – Known Around Da Hood (Tearin Vinyl)
27. L Double – Nah Ease Up (Flex)


Anonymous Don Rosco said...


5:43 AM  
Blogger droid said...

Big up the late night Junglists! Howd that gig go Rosco?

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SICK selection!!
big em up naphta!

6:16 PM  
Anonymous elektrovert said...



8:11 PM  
Anonymous RICKYFORCE said...


1:35 AM  
Anonymous Don Rosco said...

Ah, it was good in parts, patchy in others. Bit more of a side room buzz. Good fun all the same...

2:47 AM  
Anonymous esb said...

naphta is a don! one of my fave selectors

2:39 PM  
Blogger version111a said...

big up the one and only naphat !!!!!

love your mixes

7:27 PM  
Blogger Elmo said...

Had to be good :) big up Naphta t'was a fine mix.


1:55 PM  
Anonymous backpacker said...

your opinions about jungle/dnb are a good read

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool to see just what can be done with the amen break. Would love to hear the full set.

9:16 PM  

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