Sunday, December 14, 2008



1995 started with such exorbitant anticipation, but, for this listener, ends in slight disappointment. Some of the ideas that exploded in 1994, after several years build-up, appear to have already played themselves out. Trip hop, for instance, promised the ultimate in fucked up, anything-goes neo-B-boy abstraction, yet too often delivered a half-assed sequencing of borrowed bits and bobs, sluiced through a mood spectrum that ranges from cheesy affability to mildly blue. Exceptions to this perhaps overly harsh verdict: DJ Shadow, Wagon Christ, Howie B. (Tricky is another kettle of fish completely: a sonic wizard, a true star).

Jungle has not dramatically evolved since late '94. At the genre's ruff end, ragga-dalek effects and reversed-basslines are still being caned to death, 18 months after
Dead Dred's "Dread Bass" hit the scene; the "intelligent" sector has simply gotten slicker. The split in jungle is between those who reckon "progression" involves making drum & bass sound more like other genres (house, garage, Detroit techno, jazz-funk), and those who want jungle to advance by sounding ever more intensely like itself. The fusion approach, as exemplified by the cabal of Wax Doctor/Photek/Alex Reece, has produced one undisputed killa in "Pulp Fiction", but even this triumph seems more like the birth of a new, and possibly less interesting, genre. The
drum & bass essentialists, meanwhile, are trying to pursue a near-Paradoxical "always the same, always different" course, which payed off in a precious few instances: MA2's "Hearing Is Believing", Krust's "Set Speed", Roni Size & DJ Die's "11.55", Asend's "Take My Soul", Droppin' Science's "Step Off", stuff by Aphrodite/Amazon II and DJ Hype/Ganja Kru. Caught between intelligent's serenity and the ruff-stuff's gangsta paranoia, the idea of jungle as fun, as E'd up senti-
MENTAL chaos, has dropped away, upheld only by the poptastic Omni Trio and
88.3/Urban Shakedown's "Wishing On A Star".

Perhaps the most provocative impact of trip hop and jungle has been the kick up the arse it's given artists from other genres altogether: techno bods like Luke Vibert and Aphex Twin (the Plug EP's, AFX's "Hangable Auto Bulb"), post-rockers like Boymerang, Techno-Animal and Tortoise. Because they don't have to placate DJ's or dancers, because they don't belong, basically, these artists are free to exacerbate trip hop's sampladelic atmospheres and jungle's rhythmic convolutions. Other responses will surely follow; not knowing what form they'll take promises to make 1996 full of surprises.


1/ Tricky - Maxinquaye
2/ A Guy Called Gerald - Black Secret Technology
3/ Oval -- Diskont '94
4/ Omni Trio - The Deepest Cut
5/ Wagon Christ - Throbbing Pouch
6/ AFX -- Hangable Auto Bulb EP
7/ Plug - #1
8/ DJ Shadow --What Does Your Soul Look Like
9/ Techno-Animal- Re-Entry
10/ Pram - Sargasso Sea
11/ VA -Jungle Heat '95
12/ Microstoria -- Init Ding
13/ Mouse On Mars -- Iahora Tahiti
14/ Pulp -- Different Class
15/ Stereolab -- Amorphous Body Center
16/ VA-- Macro Dub Infection
17/ Tortoise -- Gamera/Cliff Dweller Society
18/ Scarface/4 Hero -I Seen A Man Die
19/ Plug 2 --Rebuilt Kev
20/ Labradford --A Stable Perspective

1/ Plug 1
2/ Asend -- Take Your Soul (Second Movement)
3/ Droppin' Science/Safari Sounds -- Vol 4: Long Time Comin'
(droppin science)
4/ Alex Reece -- Pulp Fiction (Metalheadz)
5/ Droppin' Science -- Vol 5: Step Off
6/ MA2 -- Hearing Is Believing (Remix) (Formation)
7/ AFX -- Hangable Auto Bulb EP
8/ DJ Die & Roni Size -- 11-55 (Full Cycle/V Recordings)
9/ Tek 9 -- Slow Down (Nookie Remix) (off 'Enforcers 8',
10/ DJ Krust -- Set Speed/Poison (Full cycle/V)

1/ Oval -- Diskont 94
2/ Mouse On Mars -- Iahora Tahiti
3/ Microstoria -- Init Ding
4/ AFX -- Hangable Auto Bulb EP
5/ VA -- Modulation and Transformation II (Mille Plateaux)
6/ VA -- Electric Ladyland (Mille P)
7/ Bedouin Ascent -- Music For Particles
8/ Aphex Twin -- I Care Because You Do
9/ Techno-Animal -- Re-Entry
10/ Muziq -- In Pine Effect

1/ Techno-Animal -- Re-Entry
2/ Pram -- Sargasso Sea
3/ Tortoise -- Gamera/Cliff Dweller Society (Duophonic 12)
4/ Labradford -- A Stable Perspective
5/ Flying Saucer Attack -- Further
6/ John Oswald -- Grayfolded
7/ Tortoise -- Rhythms, Clusters etc
8/ Jessamine (kranky)
9/ Sabalon Glitz - Ufonic (Trixie)
10/ Stars of the Lid -- Music For Nitrous Oxide (Sedimental)

1/ Plug 1
2/ AFX - Hangable Auto Bulb
3/ John Oswald -- Grayfolded
4/ Scarface/4 Hero -- I Seen A Man Die
5/ Oval - Diskont 94

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