With one foot firmly planted in his own forward-thinking spin on hardcore and the other toeing the edge of a nascent jungle sound in the 1993 track Worlds of Confusion, Eze-G is underrated in my book. Just one of multiple aliases under which Gareth Oxby produced a tightly focused range of electronic music, Eze-G’s style fittingly represents a main tenet of what drum & bass has always been about: fusion.
Worlds of Confusion is the standout tune on the EP bearing the same name released by label Unatural Light (the remix of this tune released the following year is also great with a sound even more within the domain of jungle).
Noteworthy in the design is how much depth is added to the song through simple yet effective pitch shifting on the vocal cuts. Original use of the amen break, wispy pads, and enlivening vocal samples all come together to form a unique experience smack dab in the middle of hardcore and jungle – don’t miss it!
The iconic and pivotal Valley of the Shadows…where do I start? Produced by none other than Origin Unknown, a duo consisting of Andy C and Ant Miles, this track played a significant role in shifting the paradigm of hardcore toward a darker motif. Heralded as one of the best songs in the Drum & Bass sphere, this iconic tune rolled onto the scene in 1993 (and re-released in 1996 as a stand-alone) from Andy C’s very own RAM Records.
The first edition of Future Music Magazine’s sample CD provided many of the track’s sounds, and likewise provided a bevy of other recognizable samples found across a broad spectrum of electronic and dance music during the same era. From the hypnotizing melody to the entrancing spoken samples, the hardy break to the bold bassline, Valley of the Shadows proves itself a time-tested masterpiece.
We’re hyped to present an exclusive free download today from Johnathan Thomas & Tokyo Noir! Blending hard-edged jungle badness in the first half with a rave-hardcore switcheroo in the second half, this one is a straight up banger from start to finish. Check it out below and hit up Soundcloud or Google Drive for a free download!
Tim Reaper joins the Blu Mar Ten Music family with two sublime jungle outings, taking us back to the sounds of the early 90s in superb style. A-side All Right is pure euphoria, with a soft, bleepy melody and pitched up vocal hook layered over chunky breaks and warm sub hits for a disarmingly simple yet utterly beautiful track. This one evokes memories of simpler times…
Over on the flip Reaper joins forces with Parallel for the deeper, darker Innerspace. Hard amens, gunshot FX and classic ragga samples get things off to a flying start in the first half, while shimmering pads in the back end of the tune progress the vibes into a more atmospheric, faintly psychedelic ebb. Nostalgia for sure, but difficult to argue with when it’s done so well!
All Right / Innerspace is out now on Blu Mar Ten Music. Hit up their Bandcamp Store to grab the digital direct or start scouring Discogs if you want a copy of the vinyl…
Eveson’s retro jungle alias Dead Man’s Chest returns to Ingredients with more crusty break chopping vibes, 90s style. The aptly named Trilogy is available as a double-sided cassette mix featuring material from his initial trilogy of EPs alongside six previously unheard dubs, which Ingredients have also dropped on three new limited edition 10″ singles.
Fans of the project will know exactly what to expect; crunchy jungle breaks, deliberately rough and ready mixdowns, psychedelic textures and more than a few nods to the iconic era of jungle and hardcore. As with previous releases, the new material on the Trilogy Dubs 12″s varies in tone. Fade Away and Fresh Nation draw on classic dub elements, Open Your Eyes and Rinsa feel darker and more break-focussed while Tears (Fantazia Version) is blissed-out rave euphoria at its finest.
Alex’s knack for capturing what made early rave music so special is definitely still present here, so if you’ve enjoyed the first three EPs as much as we have this is essential listening. What remains unclear is whether Trilogy marks the end of the Dead Man’s Chest project, or just the end of chapter one; time will tell. Check out the new Trilogy Dubs below and hit up Beatport to grab a digital copy of the mix. If you’re keen for a copy of the cassette or the 10″ singles, time to start scouring Discogs…
Soul Intent’s latest sublabel for Lossless Music, Dope Plates, keeps things retro with three new slices of old school-tinged breakbeat jungle goodness. To celebrate the label’s launch, we asked Alex to give us his Top 5 90s Jungle classics. Serious selections! Read on for Alex’s thoughts on each track…
Dexta returns to None60 with two cracking new beats. Minirave lives up to it’s name, harnessing the sounds of old school hardcore and jungle for a chopped up raved out banger.
The Bunker sees Dexta teaming up with Gaunt for another track with more than a nod to the old school. Shadow Boxing-style basslines and junglist break chops meld with Dexta’s signature production for a nice groove, and a perfect complement to the more up front A side.
As usual you’ll be able to find this on the None60 bandcamp and all the usual digital stores; watch for the release from June 22nd.
Ready to get ravey? The new EP from Fixate for Exit Records is certainly that, at least on appropriately named title track Throwback Therapy. Mining the sounds of old skool hardcore and jungle and throwing in a pinch of footwork and a hint of D&B, this one doesn’t seem to be taking itself too seriously and is all the better for it.
Digital bonus Sueno treads similar territory, chopping the jungle breaks with some some classic vocal “woo”s for another tidy little rave up. The other three tracks on the EP dial back the nonsense a little in favour of footwork inspired explorations of the halftime D&B pattern, all of which are worthy additions to this growing niche of the D&B community. For me though it’s really all about the less po-faced exuberance of the title track. Check out the clips below and grab this one from the Exit Store right now!
36 Hertz take us back to the old school once again with the appropriately titled Back To 92 EP. Featuring four top notch 90s style breakbeat hardcore cuts from DJ Vapour, SR & Digbee, ESP and Indigo Virus, this one does exactly what it says on the tin; amen cutups, hefty sub bass and rave stabs abound.
Grab your hat and whistle and check out the mini mix below! This one drops on Juno and the 36 Hertz website from Feb 3rd.