Jungle Rhythms

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Not all messages are displayed: show all messages (191 of them)

Granted I've really just dipped my toes into it here and there, but one thing I've always found somewhat unsatisfying about jungle is how bifurcated it can feel, like, here's the busy drum part here and there are the elements floating on top of it. They relate to each other but don't really coalesce and interact, as if the drums just take up so much space in the track that the rest can't do much other than drift or poke at them a little here and there. It's as if rhythmic complexity has been reduced to drum complexity, which is a pretty simplistic reading of rhythm if you ask me, and I also don't really understand the idea of someone not being into jungle automatically being labeled "not a rhythm guy"--I love the way house and techno can involve all sorts of rhythms rubbing up against each other, rhythms that aren't just in the drums but are grounded by them. (My favorite jungle tracks, ironically, have been ones that do away with non-drum elements nearly entirely.)

Clarke B., Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Not really in keeping with the original spirit of the thread but here is the Global Communication Remix of "Gorecki" - only the finest in hypnotic linear d&b. Nb. not for juxtaposition folks:

not gonna lie, while i've loved a lot of funky since that initial wave, the failure of the genre to recapture what i loved about it has def been a source of annoyance.

I guess where I struggle with this a bit is that it's asking for funky to have basically stayed subservient to us vocal house mores forever. Which wouldn't have been a bad thing per se but there is a lot of us vocal house and it's not going anywhere. I'm not sure that the same thing but with British divas is enough really by itself to sustain an exciting long term genre.

I always loved that stuff within the context of all the rougher instrumental material (which was always there since the end of 2007 at the latest), but without that sense of dynamic I don't think I could ever have fallen so completely head over heels in love with the style to the point where it became a raison d'etre.

The only analogue I can think of offhand is if speed garage had basically settled into being Tuff Jam permanently.

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

They relate to each other but don't really coalesce and interact, as if the drums just take up so much space in the track that the rest can't do much other than drift or poke at them a little here and there. It's as if rhythmic complexity has been reduced to drum complexity, which is a pretty simplistic reading of rhythm if you ask me

By the way Clarke FYI this is very very very very very wrong.

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

i am maybe one more for "juxtaposition" personally, whatever it is i mean by that

this is an amazing sentence

(i will give that a listen later, i can listen to stuff in this office but i'm not quite sure which thing the headphones go in) (i haven't listened to everything on this thread though, i got dispirited quite early on, also bored)

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

xpost:

The best jungle really operates according to an entirely different logic to that I think (responding to yr post lex): this sounds naff or cliched but the beats become the storyteller, and the melodic and textural motifs become the supporting framework like the beat would be in a pop tune; it's like an inversion of the normal structure of popular rhythmic music.

― Tim F, Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:55 AM (5 months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

the beats become the storyteller, and the melodic and textural motifs become the supporting framework

sorry Tim but I now can't help hearing this as Nate Dogg singing "the rhythm is the bass and the bass is the treble"

coal, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

except the rhythm being the bass and the bass being the treble is a far more attractive proposition both conceptually and as it actually sounded

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

Tim, I did love that Radical Sound track you posted and said was the best jungle tune ever. I love the way you can focus / move to seemingly any beat division: half-note, quarter-note, eighth, sixteenth--there's an internal logic to the beats as they progress that is beyond my current pre-caffeinated ability to articulate.

x-post: Regarding your quote above about melodic and textural motifs becoming the supporting framework, I see that. I don't care much about melody in my dance music, but texture is a huge thing for me--individual sounds--and I feel like much of the jungle I've heard is a little feeble in the sonics department.

Clarke B., Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

i guess what i struggle with is, if the beats become the storyteller, why do jungle beats sound so thin and dissatisfying? i can think of many amazing drum sounds that i love but none of them are in jungle.

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

i guess what i struggle with is, if the beats become the storyteller, why do jungle beats sound so thin and dissatisfying? i can think of many amazing drum sounds that i love but none of them are in jungle.

Tim's talking about the rhythms themselves and not the drum sounds, I think. But I know what you mean, and I'm kind of the same way; if I don't dig the particular sound of the drums, I can't get into the track no matter how rhythmically dazzling or engaging it might be.

Clarke B., Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i dislike both though - the rhythms are just too messy for me and the drum sounds are not very thrilling. i don't find the rhythms dazzling at all, they just seem entirely and randomly pointless. they don't go anywhere or resolve, i can't use them for anything...

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think this whole thing is just about exposure, jungle beats are pretty radical, personally despite repeated efforts i can't get into them either, but i've never danced to jungle which definitely doesn't help. to me it seems like something that wasn't really present for me at any point.

for that reason i think it's a lot harder to just get into after the fact than say old house/techno which people just come to cos it's played alongside all the current stuff.

usually i think with a bit of effort you can get over this kind of thing but i've tried so many times, including on this thread.

(but i did genuinely enjoy some of the tunes in this btw: )

I'm going to allow this! (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

The best jungle really operates according to an entirely different logic to that I think (responding to yr post lex): this sounds naff or cliched but the beats become the storyteller, and the melodic and textural motifs become the supporting framework like the beat would be in a pop tune; it's like an inversion of the normal structure of popular rhythmic music.

― Tim F, Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:55 AM (5 months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Tim, the more I think about this, the more I wonder: how is this any different from, say, a really rugged Sandwell District track that's basically just one note (if that), thick, dark bass, and ping-ponging "drum"/rhythmic elements echoing off into infinity? Heck, maybe it's not that different (it sounds like a description of a Dillinja track), and I just like the way techno moves better than jungle.

Clarke B., Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

not joking there btw... some actually good tunes in it even if the video is a joke.

I'm going to allow this! (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

This is going to be like shouting at clouds but on a tune like Dillinja's "The Angels Fell" (to use a fairly obvious example) the different drum hits seem (to me) to be so exquisitely textured, for me there's really no division between rhythm and texture in this regard. And the bass as well, those huge, warm tidal flushes washing the lower half of your body out to sea.

Ironically, post-1997, d&b jettisoned rhythmic complexity and and chose to become the pre-eminent soundlab for bass and mid-range texturology in dance music for eternity, only in mostly a bad (or at least deflating) way, at least until brostep came along to do the same thing but slower. If you want a counter-argument for texture > rhythm it's right there.

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

Clarke I take your points to an extent - the drums are def the most foregrounded element in the majority of jungle tunes and the part that you'll notice the complexity/syncopation of most readily.
But I think in a lot of great jungle tunes the bassline plays a huge part in the groove as well, both in itself (jungle producers really grasped how to use sub-bass as a rhythmic element as well as a sonic one) and in how it interacts with the the drums. Think a couple of people near top of thread mentioned that half-time/double-time tension between as playing a big part in how they dance to jungle, and that's certainly something I've heard a lot.
This tune would be a classic example of what I'm talking about - thinking esp of the bassline that comes in around 1.35 (NB if you're on a laptop you may need headphones to get the full effect). Once it comes in I just can never stay still, like if I'm sitting down I start doing daft stuff like swaying my shoulders.

As far as textural and melodic elements go, obviously in a lot of jungle these are taken primarily from samples, and so may be a little sonically unsatisfying in that they don't fill up all that much of the sound-spectrum. Like I can sympathise with people saying jungle records sound thin at times. But at the same time the sample textures are a huge part of what determines the 'atmosphere' of a jungle tune for me. I know that's very vague, but I think the atmospheric specialness has in part to do with the producers taking samples from so many sources, including odd, seemingly non-musical ones at time.

Take this tune for example:

For most of the tunes other than the bass+drums there's only that spoken-word soundclash (?) extract plus the sliver of droning sample-noise, but the atmosphere of this tune feels very unique and engaging to me, it's like the first sunlight on the dawn of a long, epic day. Or something.

Mr Andy M, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

Tim, the more I think about this, the more I wonder: how is this any different from, say, a really rugged Sandwell District track that's basically just one note (if that), thick, dark bass, and ping-ponging "drum"/rhythmic elements echoing off into infinity? Heck, maybe it's not that different (it sounds like a description of a Dillinja track), and I just like the way techno moves better than jungle.

― Clarke B., Tuesday, April 10, 2012 1:05 PM (8 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Precisely because early jungle was not about minimalism in that way. Sandwell District's music is not really something you could describe as having a narrative except in the loosest sense, and then the rhythm, melody and texture are pretty much all on an even footing in that regard (that is to say, they're all operating according to a restrictive logic of changing-same). You can say you prefer that but to me it's like saying "I prefer the color red".

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

Another classic rollin bass-groove tune (2.00 onwards for when it really kicks into gear):

& another classic 'just a little bit of sample-texture creating an atmosphere' tune:

Bored and have time on my hands today in case you couldn't tell...

Mr Andy M, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

They relate to each other but don't really coalesce and interact, as if the drums just take up so much space in the track that the rest can't do much other than drift or poke at them a little here and there. It's as if rhythmic complexity has been reduced to drum complexity, which is a pretty simplistic reading of rhythm if you ask me

To harp on slightly, this feels to me like the opposite of what good d&b does - though sure, some of it does do precisely this (I guess a fair amount of sub-par Looking Good fell into this category).

Of course the space between good and bad is just the space between good and bad, as usual. On an otherwise very Looking Good-ish tune like Adam F's "Circles"

... it's like every element is there to play with or bounce off the drums and the bass, from the dreamy opening arpeggio to the guy saying "check check check check check check check" to the sampled diva vocals to the spiraling synth melodies but most of all the interplay between the drum and the bass itself. And then the beat switches up so masterfully with all these ripples and zephyrs and that arpeggio seems to ripple in simpatico, like everything's being stretched through a wormhole at warp speed.

Roni Size was a master of this kind of thing as well - I love "Trust Me" and "Ballet Dance" for this.

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

x-post, Tim (I'll delve into your comments separately)

Andy, I really like the roughness and stiched-together quality of the Danny Breaks and DJ Nut Nut tracks above. Maybe I like jungle better when it's less overtly cinematic/atmospheric. When it enters those areas, it sorta sets me up to want/expect an immersive experience (like the minimalism-informed stuff offers) but then the drums feel like they're "in the way" and prevent me from being totally washed over by the track. Whereas the rougher stuff makes me listen to it for rhythmic giddiness and exuberance. It's always good to have a lesson in expecting the wrong things from a genre...

Clarke B., Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

Tim, I had mixed feelings listening through that track. I do see exactly what you're saying about all the elements working to enhance and underline the drums and bass; the track really feels thoroughly composed, with lots of "narrative" development and complexity beyond just the drums. The non-drum elements are so intricate and foregrounded that the drums feel backgrounded even as they carry the track. On the other hand, the moist Angelo Badalamenti synth chord that overhangs the track for its entirety feels to me like a too-obvious signifier of atmosphere, and I found the emotional pitch of the song a bit much--lacking a little, I dunno, austerity.

Clarke B., Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

It's very mid-90s, to be sure.

Which is something to keep in mind about a lot of this stuff.

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

My point though was that that is a common structure for d&b.

Your line about everything other than the drums doing nothing just seems like a description of unsuccessful d&b. It would be like me saying "oh but so much dub-techno is just a kickdrum with some unintegrated echo effects and a two note bassline."

Although it might help if you identified an example of a problem track.

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

Andy, I really like the roughness and stiched-together quality of the Danny Breaks and DJ Nut Nut tracks above. Maybe I like jungle better when it's less overtly cinematic/atmospheric.

Yeah again this is something I can agree with up to a point. The only thing I'd say counter to it is that for me, there was a brief-ish period - basically through 1993 and then more sporadically in 94 - when jungle really hit the sweet-spot between sounding rough and stitched-together on the one hand and sounding cinematic/atmospheric on the other.
This is something I was banging on about on dissensus a while back but could never fully get my thoughts in order as to how and why this style really worked for me. I guess in part it's a simplicity thing - only using a few layers of texture in each tune, only changing the samples up a couple of times in a tune, etc. And also I think it's about the variety of different types of atmosphere and their combination in the one tune - particularly the at times slightly uneasy mixture of dark, sinister atmsopheres with more beatific/soothing/uplifting ones.
Some fave examples include Night Moves remix upthread and also -
Smith Inc - Palomino:

DJ Crystl - Warpdrive:

The Rood Project - Thunder:

& I don't want to kill people's browsers with too much yt in one post but you could also search The Invisble Man - The Bell Tune & DJ Mayhem - Inesse (though with that one I actually do find the drums too wacky/distracting in places).

Mr Andy M, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

Your line about everything other than the drums doing nothing just seems like a description of unsuccessful d&b. It would be like me saying "oh but so much dub-techno is just a kickdrum with some unintegrated echo effects and a two note bassline."

And you would be right! Ha. But your point is very well taken, and as I said in my first post I'm such a surface-scratcher of jungle that my statements are more me working through initial misgivings given limited samples rather than a thorough appraisal based on lots of experience.

Clarke B., Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

MikoMcha, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

MikoMcha, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 15:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm also a bit bored this afternoon, but will refrain from more YouTube posts. My browser is starting to grind as well...

MikoMcha, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 15:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

ie the focus on undanceable rhythms that just code as "wacky" and purposeless to me

― lex pretend, Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:21 AM (12 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I think once you get it jungle and dnb is actually really easy to dance to, i find it easier than house tbh. But theres always that element of the unexpected that keeps you on your toes. Great fun to dance to. Can't say I care much for post 95 dnb but had plenty of good nights dancing to it just cause I know I'm gonna get a good workout.

I seen Shy FX play at a festival in Seville recently and it was hilarious watching the Spaniards trying (like reeeallly trying) to dance to tunes like Original Nuttah. Our little group of brits properly killed it!

Good thread btw

Benny B, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 20:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

rtc was right about that gorgeous urban jungle track. the double piano note just after she sings "after all" is the best thing - reminds me a bit of the trick "snooze 4 love" pulls! amazing vocal too. and the beat is terrific, just enough skittery tension & uncertainty but steady enough that i can get into the groove of it and stay there.

i like all the components of the adam f tune except the beats, i was enjoying it until they came in and then i had to turn it off within half a minute. i don't understand how tim sees everything playing off them, they seem at odds with everything else...

a lot of this stuff seems really really sexless and unsensual to me too.

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 21:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

ime europeans and americans have v different ideas of what it means to dance to something, dont want to get into a north atlantic clusterfuck but i remember wondering how you dance to jungle and then when i saw people dancing to it i was like "oh"

i think the basic trick to dancing to jungle is ignore everything but the bass

the late great, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 21:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

i've never seen anyone look good dancing to jungle

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 21:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

what abt missy at the end of the get ur freak on video?

the late great, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 21:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

That Urban Jungle track rtc posted. Where have you been all my life?

Benny B, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 21:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

re Urban Jungle's "Back In The Days": the (non-jungle) track the vocal was sampled from is The Luv U Wanted by Lil' Louis.

breastcrawl, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 22:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

Re "Back In The Days", love this thread that r|t|c started a while back:

jungle/drum and bass with lovers/r&b on top

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 23:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think the basic trick to dancing to jungle is ignore everything but the bass

This seems to be true for most people, but actually I dance to the beats in jungle. In some ways jungle really framed how I dance to music generally, even with house music I tend not to dance to the 4X4 so much as all the bits around it, the snare patterns and off-beat hi-hats and the like, to the extent that it has that stuff going on (anything post-Classic really).

All of which makes dancing a much more rigorous exercise.

But the least energising dance music for me is stuff which is too straight rhythm-wise and nothing to build in the friction. I'm not against poundingly 4X4 stuff per se but it the beats need to be rubbing up against something else in the music (something Clarke was referring to upthread). Just dancing to the kickdrum feels a bit too much like being on a stepper machine.

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 23:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

see i know what lex wants. now, for my next trick would you be so kind as to have a bang on this?

there will perhaps be a small, briefly disappointing lull of boredom at 3 mins, a perking up and onset of involuntary strutting at 3:40 metastisizing into full-on headbanging as ze untz untz kicks in at 3:52, and finally at 4:04 an opening of the heavens and total overwhelming of electrified e-motion as every skin cell on your body comes alive and is helplessly led every which way by the skittering tattoo, slowmo amen swells and gliding, swooping synth thermals all at once

r|t|c, Wednesday, 11 April 2012 14:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

well you were right about the boredom at the three-minute mark, i liked it a lot before that - the house diva peal obv

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Wednesday, 11 April 2012 20:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

good jungle beats are very intrinsicslly pleasurable to me. The sped up amen break is just a tremendous sound that hits me on a very basic visceral level

neutral sequence for flute (blank), Wednesday, 11 April 2012 23:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

one thing I've always found somewhat unsatisfying about jungle is how bifurcated it can feel, like, here's the busy drum part here and there are the elements floating on top of it. They relate to each other but don't really coalesce and interact, as if the drums just take up so much space in the track that the rest can't do much other than drift or poke at them a little here and there.

This is part of what I love about jungle, this dense blinding fury of sounds tearing each other apart as they rise to the heavens.

neutral sequence for flute (blank), Wednesday, 11 April 2012 23:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

xxp what, and no love after 3 mins? man truly you are a disgusting cartoon savage

r|t|c, Wednesday, 11 April 2012 23:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

I wonder how much adjusting to different rhythm logics is a bit like learning a new language - i.e. it's much much easier and more intuitive the younger you are when you start.

I got into jungle at the same time as really properly getting into house and techno (at about 16/17). Hardcore rave and 2-step garage as well. So house and/or techno were never at the center of my notion of danceable beats, and instead I think even my approach to house/techno was vaguely "junglist" (or perhaps garage-ist).

Tim F, Thursday, 12 April 2012 00:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

idk, jungle was some of the first dance music i heard in the 90s. obv not in a clubbing context though. but it's not like house/techno is the only rhythm logic i can get into (going to street dance class really gave me a new insight into a lot of hip-hop rhythms, albeit ones i already liked, but in terms of how to hear them and move to them). the prob w/jungle is that i can't actually discern any rhythm logic at all - i assume the beats aren't random but they may as well be for me.

xxp what, and no love after 3 mins? man truly you are a disgusting cartoon savage

i think what happened at 3mins infected everything that happened after it and the house diva never came back. the 3mins mark inspired me to finally start going through some invoices and then i forgot to pay attention :/

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Thursday, 12 April 2012 07:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

i listened to "inner city life" yesterday and really enjoyed it though

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Thursday, 12 April 2012 07:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

idk, jungle was some of the first dance music i heard in the 90s. obv not in a clubbing context though.

I think this is kind of key though. I listened to a reasonable amount of erm "album dance" music in the mid-late 90s (Orbital, Aphex Twin, Goldie, The Chemical Bros, The Prodigy, Moby, BT, Deep Dish, Roni Size, Plaid, Lo-Fidelity Allstars... basically any dance music likely to get a big album review in Spin) and also stuff that I guess you could call jungle-pop (EBTG, Lamb) but I don't think I really cared about rhythm, or not in the same way, until I started dancing a lot.

Once I did, it was like the moment in The Wizard of Oz where the image switches from black & white to colour. Within a very short space of time I started to hear lots of things I hadn't heard both in music I wouldn't have liked previously and music that I already had liked. And it was really in that period that a lot of my unthinking musical prejudices (not so much convictions, more the way what I instinctively listen for in the music).

but it's not like house/techno is the only rhythm logic i can get into (going to street dance class really gave me a new insight into a lot of hip-hop rhythms, albeit ones i already liked, but in terms of how to hear them and move to them).

Exactly. Learning how you move to rhythms is a huge thing which i think can be entirely separate from simply enjoying them as a listener (esp. when they can be enjoyed in the context of songs).

I would hazard a guess that your approach to rhythm in dance music generally is less house/techno-ist than it is R&B-ist.

Tim F, Thursday, 12 April 2012 09:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

Jungle is at the pointy end of this issue because it's difficult to background it, you either get it or it's a problem. Whereas it's a bit easier to simply tolerate or passively enjoy a lot of other beats.

Tim F, Thursday, 12 April 2012 09:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

idk what an r&bist approach to rhythm would even be!

the other thing that was kind of life-changing in how i heard hip-hop rhythms was the first time i was driven around in atlanta. it was like, ohhhhh so this is what this music is made for. hard to explain but the rhythm of travelling in a car and the rhythm of the music was a completely natural fit. (cf london where no one ever has cause to get in a car that isn't a taxi, i think i've been in maybe one car a year since i've lived here)

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Thursday, 12 April 2012 09:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

enjoyable to read though that lunatic theory was, i would suggest that "no one ever" type generalisations may just perhaps be somewhat beyond you

r|t|c, Thursday, 12 April 2012 11:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oooft there's some proper beauties on that lovers/r & b jungle thread.

Mr Andy M, Thursday, 12 April 2012 11:27 (2 years ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.