Reviewed by anil 'bad bwoy' bawa (absorb.org)
the nineties saw an unprecedented phase in the evolution of rhythm, brought on by the hedonistic pairing of technology and drugs. jungle was the death of rave; the intensification of snare/kick/hi-hat to levels that threatened to override synaptic pathways, erupt into cataclysmic chaos. rhythmn taken to a place unimaginable before personal computing. in an unlikely marriage of amphetamine rush and skunk paranoia, its anxious, restless sound both bruised and shook the dance-floor.
it's a fitting time for a re-issue. this stuff is so evidently influential, given the current trend for 'drill & bass', as evinced by the planet mu back-catalogue and the kind of patronising musical punnery oft handed out by squarepusher/venetian snares and their clones. what the contemporary stuff lacks, however, is the ability to invoke the kind of sponatenous bodily reaction that had remarc's tunes filling dance-floors through the mid-nineties. the radical dimension of the body. of the current batch, the only people to have used jungle in an inspirational way, treating it with an appropriate mixture of respect and innovation, are kid606 (namely 'down with the scene'), dj rupture ('minesweeper suite') and perhaps mu-ziq. it's obvious they see this not simply as dance-floor filla (which it is), but as radical black music too; as powerful body music, a smart counter to idm's mind games.
fact is remarc's astounding rhythmic craftsmanship is antidote to the percussive excesses of idm (prog jizz anyone?) and all associated with it. the production nuance here is simply astounding, competing bar for bar with the all-pervasive 21st century electro penchant for randomness/chaos, whilst the body is still inculcated, implied, the sub-zero bass rumblings and tonal inflections arranged masterfully into a body with motion. it really hasn't aged, signposting a mastery of rhythmn few contemporaries can claim. liner notes come courtesy of the prime documenter of the uk rave scene - simon reynolds - coupling characteristic sociological insight with fandom in a manner quite his own.
experiencing the wave of commercial jungle at the age of 15 meant white estate kids slinging 'junglist massive' slogans in faux-ragga voices at me during lunchbreak. it meant roni size remixes. linking that mediated suburban 'jungle' presence with something as artful, unique and socially insightful as this is quite some step, but one i'm compelled to take. impressive.
- Eskmo - Let Them Sing
- Ikonika - Smuck
- Geiom & Shortstuff - No Hand Signals
- Starkey - OK Luv
- Raffertie - 7th Dimension
- Ceephax Acid Crew - United Acid Emirates
- Kuedo - Dream Sequence E.P.
- Starkey - Ephemeral Exhibits
- Neil Landstrumm - Lord For £39
- Distance - Repercussions
- Last Step - 1961
- Mrs Jynx - The Standoffish Cat
- Venetian Snares - My Downfall (Original Soundtrack)
- Meat Beat Manifesto - Autoimmune
- iTAL tEK - Cyclical
- Mary Anne Hobbs - Evangeline
- Venetian Snares - Miss Balaton
- Various Production & Virus Syndicate - Apollo/Neva Argue
- Sunken Foal - Fermented Condiments
- Sunken Foal - Fallen Arches
- Venetian Snares - Detrimentalist
- The Gasman - Superlife
- Eero Johannes - Eero Johannes
- Virus Syndicate - Sick Pay