Jungle Rhythms

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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

possibly a tiny bit too on the nose for tim's 'beats as storyteller' binary (ie. erm, ultradeluxe triphop and not dance music per se maybe) but everything coming after the intro setpiece here is just fantastically, captivatingly atmospheric and evocative, always keeping you in this prowling lull but constantly offguard in a unsettling state of paranoiac restlessness, nightmares in paradise

r|t|c, Thursday, 12 April 2012 11:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

I get the trepidation re 'fit' but nonetheless that's awesome!

Tim F, Thursday, 12 April 2012 12:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

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

In retrospect I was half-remembering what you'd said at the top of the thread:

garage i've always thought of as pop music, and when it comes to pop/r&b my platonic ideal is basically the janet/ciara style of rhythms that may be ridiculously fast or complex but are fundamentally steady enough to use in the regimented atmosphere of a street dance class. 2-step beats fit into that framework, loosely.

I know that doesn't really explain your love of house and techno except perhaps analogously - i.e. something (rhythms, synth tones etc.) takes the place of the "song" and more generally the place of rhythm is as something that can be distinct and impressive but always in the service of a broader structure which it underpins.

Tim F, Thursday, 12 April 2012 12:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

The Razors edge, posted up-thread, has to be one of the most undervalued example of rhythmic science in jungle. Skeleton on a whole were a killer label, its just a shame they didnt have a Pete Parsons on board as the production is invariably dodgy.

Some of the later adventures of Steve Gurley are great examples of stuff that straddles the line between experimentation and danceability:

D'Cruze is often accused of crossing that line, especially with 'control', but I reckon he mostly stays on the right side:

Always loved this one, weird off kilter beat, with the amen pushed tight down in the mix. Really come into its own in the mix:

droid, Friday, 20 April 2012 09:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Hi droid, never realized you posted here. Mercy Mercy is big big big, yes.
I'm not the biggest fan of his stuff generally but Cool Hand Flex did some to go through a real purple patch round about 94-95:

& of course

Mercy Mercy definitely the stand-out for me though.

Mr Andy M, Saturday, 21 April 2012 22:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

One for rtc and the juxtaposition/r&b/dancehall heads (maybe):

Mr Andy M, Saturday, 21 April 2012 22:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

Great track!

Tim F, Sunday, 22 April 2012 00:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

i don't actually think i ever loved a funky house tune for its rhythm.

THIS IS INSANE TO ME.

hologram ned raggett (The Reverend), Sunday, 22 April 2012 08:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

Haha I'm glad I'm not the only one who listens to funky for rhythm (inter alia) - was starting to feel like a pariah weirdo.

Tim F, Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, for me a huge part of funky's appeal was the fact that it seemed to be on a constant quest to find interesting new variations of rhythms i already liked

hologram ned raggett (The Reverend), Wednesday, 25 April 2012 03:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

I have a piece coming out in a french journal in a few months about funky's approach to rhythm and it's on exactly this point, the way in which funky seemed to slide between the rhythmically familiar and the unfamiliar, managing to be rhythmically comforting and confounding at the same time. This isn't a new trick in dance music but I tend to think funky's golden age took it an extreme (to the extent one can describe such a state of inbetweenness as "extreme").

Tim F, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 05:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

rhythmically comforting and confounding at the same time.

spot on. one of those central tensions.

hologram ned raggett (The Reverend), Wednesday, 25 April 2012 05:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

i don't think i ever heard funky as rhythmically confounding - insofar as i noticed the rhythms they provided a very comforting sweet spot

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Wednesday, 25 April 2012 09:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

Lex it's fair to say that little if any of the funky you seemed to like most could be described as rhythmically confounding, in particular stuff like "In The Air" and "Falling Again" are basically straight vocal house.

Tim F, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 09:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

I have a piece coming out in a french journal in a few months about funky's approach to rhythm

!!

etc, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 09:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

it'll be in french though.

Rev, did you ever hear Dubplate Wonder's Wonderland 09 set? It's all his own productions and it is basically all about that tension, 100%.

Tim F, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 11:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

Pretty much cosign what Rev & Tim are saying about funky.

Having another boring day where I'm trying to get myself writing, so thought I'd throw in some more thoughts on the whole is jungle danceable/how do you dance to jungle thing -
I guess there were aspects of it that I initially had problems with as a dance, but for me it wasn’t so much the full-on Amen rinse-out tunes that I had problems with – yeah it could be difficult, at times nearly impossible to follow every single beat on them but I could at least generally spasm about to them in the same way that I used to do with like Bad Brains or F-Minus or whatever. I guess in that respect it’s helpful that the Amen break has an inherent degree of energy and forward-motion in it that will come through no matter what way it’s chopped and reordered.

The kind of tunes I had more trouble with were the very strongly reggae-influenced tunes that mostly came out in 94 at the peak of jungle’s popularity. Trying to think of good examples here – Dem A Gwarn Like Dem Know Badness by Tek 9 would be one, or even Idiot Sound by New Blood. Both great tunes of course, and there were loads of others in that style that I loved and straight away wanted to dance to, i.e. I found the rhythmically compelling but wasn’t quite sure how to move my body to them.

I think part of this came from how the producers folded the breakbeats down into that skanking reggae groove – it would create an effect where the beat would seem to drop out at unexpected places, or else where the overall beat pattern of the tune would feel lop-sided or lurching until you got used to it. I think I’ve pretty much got there with dancing to these tunes – of course, like with almost all dance music I’m never sure that I’m dancing the right way to it. I’ve danced to jungle in clubs but not really for full sets and obv not with og jungle ravers so it’s hard to measure my moves against anything. But I can move to it without really thinking about it now which I think is a big part of it, like I’m not often standing around and hesitating.

Mr Andy M, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

As a dancer the first kind of jungle tunes that did hook me were along the lines of the M-Beat one I posted upthread, i.e. ones with a beat pattern that was immediately captivating but also concise and not too difficult to follow. Also more steady-rollin’ kind of tunes like The Burial, Helicopter Tune, Sovereign Melody etc. Those were the ones I found myself intuitively making moves to while listening.

Mr Andy M, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

Lol 'as a dancer' sounds so pompous, 'from a dancing pov' is maybe a better way to put it.

Mr Andy M, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'm with the lex on this thread. man, its hard for me to think of too many genres or sub-genres i never want to hear. but this would be one of them. and i try too. i just played portions of every youtube on this thread.

scott seward, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

Hey Andy - I used to post a bit on ILC, but I mainly lurk waiting for that rare beast - a good thread about jungle.

RE: Flex. He's a bit patchy fer sure , but I'll forgive him anything because of this:

And this sublime pulsating bass hot pants 4/4 kick combo:

droid, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 16:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

I have a piece coming out in a french journal in a few months about funky's approach to rhythm

#rare #based

J0rdan S., Wednesday, 25 April 2012 16:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

Hey Andy - I used to post a bit on ILC, but I mainly lurk waiting for that rare beast - a good thread about jungle.
Haha I feel you on this - don't post here all that much but when I first saw this thread my eyes totally lit up. Trying to get a bit more involved with things here at the moment though.
Had forgotten about Ya Buzzin Again actually, it's a good 'un yeah.
Have listened to that Steve Gurley FX In Dub Mix tune you posted 10+ times in the last few days btw, so good.

Mr Andy M, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 17:50 (2 years ago) Permalink


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