Back in '93, my ex-roommate Dania visited from London and was telling me about a new music that I would love that had "double speed James Brown breaks and reggae basslines".
A few years previous, when we were roommates, a big album around the house was The Ragga Twins "Reggae Owes Me Money" on the enigmatic Shut Up And Dance label. Both creative entities are central to this collection which captures some of the most incredible moments of a revolutionary movement.
I don't use the term revolutionary lightly. This was a multiracial music which was born from technology (sampled loops began in earnest by the mid 80s), not a live band interaction. It originated in England, not the Americas like most popular dance rhythms of the 20th century. Jungle was, in its ragga form, a logical offshoot of both dancehall and rave culture as the excellent liner notes detail. There are dark elements to this music, but nothing as comically bleak as would develop later in the decade. Most of all, there is an unstoppable energy and emphasis on polyrhythm which was utterly unlike most dance music since the 70s. This music remains exciting, each track more anthemic than the last. The mastering sounds better than it was back in the day - the Ragga Twins tracks sure sound better than my LP.
The notes also comment on the "rebranding" of jungle as drum and bass around '95, where the Ragga ends, only to slowly mutate into UK Garage and its successors. This would be an eye-opening and butt-shaking listen for anyone who dismisses the rave era as lightweight or is coming into it from a nu-rave perspective.
diabolyn - satanique samba trio (amplitude)
keys - yesterday's new quintet (stones throw)
barrio nuevo - louie ramirez (vampisoul)
descarga del bobo - willie bobo rmx by masters at work (verve)
oya - lekan babalola rmx by le pico (mr. bongo)
baila julia loiza - los pleneros de los 21 (smithsonian)
nakelavishe - fanfare ciocarlia (asphalt tango)
ya rayam - boban markovic orkestar rmx by shantel (essay)
sling shot pt. 2 - lefties soul connection (visions from the roof)
you got me - eddie ray (numero)
mi libertad - toni tornado (emi)
manu - mighty popo (tamba)
ilando gima onge - extra golden (thrill jockey)
turbulence - deadbeat (scape)
under mi sensi - barrington levy & beenie man (soul jazz)
kingdom rise & kingdom fall - wailing souls (greensleeves)
space age - wackies allstars (wackies)
scorpio - prince fatty (mr. bongo)
mad dub - gg allstars (heartbeat)
stop that train - clint eastwood & general saint (greensleeves)
equal rights - the heptones (heartbeat)
Labels: electronics, jungle/drum and bass, playlist, reggae/dub