Friday, October 23, 2009

An introduction to the jungle genre of music (by Brent Edwards)

by Brent Edwards

The term "Jungle" allegedly originated from a ghetto in Kingston known as the "Concrete Jungle." This was the birthplace of the music known today as Jungle, the precursor to the wildly popular Drum & Bass genre, and a powerful sound in its own right.
Jungle is characterized by sampled breakbeats, their speed increased from the original recordings and heavily edited to produce a "rolling rhythm" effect (most notably the "Amen Break," a sample also heavily used in mainstream Hip Hop), and deep synthesized sub bass notes. Popular styles of Jungle are Ragga, which features Jamaican Dancehall-style "Rap-singing," a reflection of the roots of the style, and Oldskool or Darkcore, which draws many influences from the British Breakbeat Hardcore scene of the early nineties. This style features a more synthesized sound, airy pad tones, and pitched up vocals sampled from Disco and R&B records of the 1970s.
Many of the most popular early Jungle DJs were successful Rave DJs and Producers, and easily converted to the emerging style as Hardcore dwindled in popularity. Micky Finn, Fabio, and Grooverider were among these ranks. Still others emerged as brand new artists on the scene, including DJ Dextrous, Omni Trio, and many others. Most of the MCs featured in jungle tunes traced their roots back to the Jamaican Dancehall movement. Notables include Barrington Levy, Demolition Man, and Topcat.
The popularity of Jungle reached its peak in the mid nineties, after Hardcore music had lost much of its popularity. At the same time, however, the new Jump Up style, which would later evolve into the more techno influenced Drum & Bass genre in the coming years, was diverging from the traditional "rolling breaks" style of drum arrangements. Instead, Jump Up producers pushed a "steps" style, which consisted of more standard 4/4 drum arrangements with the downbeats emphasized heavily. Eventually this simplified sound proved to be more accessable, and little by little the classic jungle sound began to die out.
In the present day the Oldskool Jungle style is all but dead. However, the early years of the new millennium saw a resurgence of the Ragga Jungle style in the USA and Canada, partially fueled by the popular rave "Konkrete Jungle" in New York City, and through on-line communities. This "New Style Ragga Jungle" is more aggressive than the original style, taking cues from Drum & Bass and the experimental Breakcore and Glitch styles. The more popular artists promoting this new underground style are General Malice, DJ Rhygin, The Archangel, Krinjah, Chopstick Dubplate, and a multitude of others.
The evolution of Jungle music, from Ragga to Oldskool to Drum & Bass and back to Ragga again, has created a fertile environment for brilliant artists and performers to display their craft. It is clear that no matter what direction Jungle takes in the future, it will continue to produce startlingly intricate, aggressive, and beautiful sounds.

No comments:

Post a Comment