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Jungle Music: UK's Own Brand of Dance

Updated on September 6, 2014

Jungle Guide

Faster, brassier, chopped up and spit back out. Jungle: The UK's own brand of dance music. Jungle music draws on the varying types of music that preceded it - Techno, Hardcore, Reggae, Dub and Jazz to name a few.

The Winstons certainly have much to answer for.

Jungle Origins

The predecessor to Jungle was Hardcore, a fast style based on the abrasive sound of Acid Techno but with sampled breakbeats underpinning the rhythm. One of the most well known Hardcore tracks Terminator helped spearhead the movement into Jungle.

The treatment of the breakbeats by producers became increasingly more complex. The influence of Jamaican music had a great impact on the style with elements such ragga style "toasting" being incorporated. As other darker and more ambient styles began to emerge throughout the decade Ragga-Jungle became a style of Jungle in it's own right.

By the time Jungle music was recognised by the mainstream media it had become more commonly labeled as Drum n Bass - where it competed with another style, Big-Beat, in the mid 1990s.


Metalheads - Knowledge

(Ragga) Jungle

Apache and Shy FX - Original Nuttah

Jungle Continued

The development of Jungle naturally broke the genre up into a variety of sub genres - still unified by the same break rhythms but differing in mood.

One notable producer LTJ Bukem (Danny Williams) aimed to introduce mellow tones to the then predominately hardcore sound. Influenced by the sound of Detroit Techno Williams incorporated elements of Detroit into Jungle, in the process helping define a new atmospheric aesthetic. Perhaps the clearest example of this is the track Atlantis which references Detroit Techno explicitly .

From Detroit Techno --->

Reel by Real - Surkit (1990)

--> To Atmospheric Jungle

LTJ Bukem - Atlantis


The Akai S series of samplers such as the early Akai S-900/950 and S-1000/1100, along with the samplers made by Akai's main rival in the sampler market EMU-Systems, were a key component to the creation of Jungle (and indeed the Hardcore style before it).

Vinyl records particularly those with break sections were prime candidates, with the break sections extracted and chopped up, reversed, timestretched, pitched up/down etc. The most widely used of these breaks was the Amen break - the most recognized and used break in Jungle.

Other synths may be used at the discretion of the producer, but the sampler is the key instrument. Samplers were nothing new in dance music up to this point, however the possibilities they opened up in conjunction with creative talent made this style possible in the first place.

Jungle vs Drum n Bass

- Is Jungle Drum n Bass?

- Is Drum n Bass Jungle?

- Are Jungle and Drum n Bass different versions of the same thing?

Depending on who you talk to you can get different answers. One point of view contends that Jungle and Drum n Bass are the same thing, with Drum n Bass being the newer evolved version of the former. In short, it is the same music it just had a name change after 1995. To further complicate the matter some use the terms interchangeably.

Another view maintains that Drum n Bass is a further progression of Jungle but they are both unique styles (quite similar to Detroit Techno being considered different to European style Techno).

Drum n Bass focuses more on polished programmed breaks whereas Jungle rhythms were produced with recorded and sliced breaks sampled from records.


Poison Change - Press the Trigger

Jungle on Amazon

Mostly Jungle.


Perhaps THE most famous album in the genre.

Logical Progression
Logical Progression

LTJ Bukem

Atmospheric Jungle.

Call to Mind
Call to Mind


Modern Drum n Bass sound.


Thoughts on Jungle?

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