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Jungle Music - An introduction that's not "Welcome to the jungle"- 2

Updated on March 12, 2013

Netsky

DJ Netsky in the zone
DJ Netsky in the zone | Source

Preface

In this hub, I will give a short introduction to an awesome genre of motivating music which I will refer to as “jungle music” throughout. Today, it has splintered and may be called many things, most notably “drum and bass”. Wikipedia has close to 20 synonyms for it. I feel that these terms serve to pollute and confuse people early on so I will refer to the genre as jungle.

I would say that a short description to start would be: electronic dance music made of small samples or clips of non-electronic (sounding) music, without many vocals. The DJ/producer layers these different samples of different drum beats, different strings and horns, different vocal phrases and deep bass on top of each other in loops, and then speeds it up.

Why listen to jungle music?

Why indeed when there are plenty of radio stations out there!

High Contrast - energetic jungle album

Energy/action/etc...

Are you an American, caught up in the “Woe is our country, we'll never do anything, our country is just going to get worst” attitude? This is probably why I am an introvert, not talking to you. And listening to such energetic jungle tunes like, “I'm gunna stand until I can't stand no more” from Klute, “This soul is mine, get up, and get live!” by LTJ Bukem, “Natural High” by High Contrast and “Survival of the fittest” by Utah Jazz really does put me in the right attitude in the morning to get things done. They don't call it London Elektricity because it makes you feel dead.

DJ Rap - classic technical jungle album

Technical/drumming innovation

At work I have to do the same stuff all the time for the lowest common denominator of public approval by all. It is good to make things really simple so that everyone can do it without any personal effort at all. So, in my Walter Mitty side of my brain, I crave some technical complication and some risk-taking in the artists at least. “Free your mind” by Makoto, “Your Mind” by DJ Rap, and “Military Jazz” by Plug come to mind. I like to play the drums as a hobby, so I appreciate the drum ideas in these tracks.

DJ Marky - jungle music with soul

Music with soul

I don't mean music that is manufactured to make you feel a certain thing, whether it is buy brand X or I love you or let's party now with a really pre-defined path to like-dom. I mean music that might develop for a minute or five, and I'm OK with that. “Lk” by Dj Marky & XRS, “Snowblind” as mixed by Stéphane Pompougnac, “Kemistry” by Goldie and “Perfect Love” by Faith Massive are all danceable with amazing beats, but also human with emotional high and low points.

Where to look?

In my previous article about jungle, I warned that there is not much mainstream support and that you should be wary of big names. So where can someone find good jungle? Simply searching a search engine for the words jungle or drum and bass are not going to be very focused descriptors for you. Additionally, physical copies of jungle music is often sold on vinyl because that is how the music is often performed live. In fact, I've never seen a physical compact disc of this genre of music.

I believe the purest form of good drum'n'bass/jungle music are mix sessions, and since any kid with an internet connection and software can just mash up tunes to their hearts desire without filter, what do you do? The record labels plus the year are often the labels of the good mixes.
Record/producer labels that have been kind to me over the years with mixes have been Good Looking/Looking Good records, Moving Shadow records, Hospital records, and DJ Fabio on the BBC1.

Live?

Experiencing this genre of music live is very difficult in the United States outside of New York City and possibly LA. It is more prevalent in the UK and Europe through the DJ format.

Recently, people have been practicing their live musical instruments to emulate this, which uses electronic equipment to emulate live instrumentation. This is often a very difficult task, for the music often incorporates musical/technical complexity and speed/endurance that only electronic equipment can handle (sorry humans)....but back on topic. Drummers such as Johnny Rabb, Jojo Mayer, and even female drummers such as Emmanuelle Caplette and Hannah Ford have shown interest and ability in teaming up with other jazz musicians to put on shows of live jungle music. These are not cover bands, but more along the lines of jazz bands that improvise in the style of jungle (sometimes, even having one drummer and one bassist for a literal drum and bass show). It's an exciting field to watch though, as humans and technology imitate each other closer all the time, and the passion and ability is sometimes breathtaking!

Ordinarily though, I prefer other genres of music live and this to help me focus on school work or studying.

Experimental jungle live song with Jojo Mayer

Who is your favourite artist of this genre? What do you feel with their music?

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