- Celebrating the party that gave birth to jungle.
- Opening 30 Years Of Rage Part 1, the first of four compilations, with Leftfield's "Not Forgotten" is a stroke of genius. First, it's a beautiful track. A bit Mr. Fingers, a bit dub and a bit Balearic, blissed out but full of energy and mischief. Secondly, it helps illustrate the overlap among the UK's nascent dance music scenes. The Rage club in London's Charing Cross—and particularly Fabio and Grooverider's upstairs room—had emerged from acid house, and it was one of the key crucibles for a much harder, darker, blacker sound and scene that would eventually become jungle and drum & bass. But in 1990, Leftfield's Balearic-into-prog, bongo-toting grooves fit right in. That it's followed by the similar-sounding "Instinctstrumental" of One Tribe's 1991 "Is This All" and Lennie De Ice's epochal "We Are IE," which uses a vocal snippet that resembles "Is This All"'s own, is even more significant. In this closely related sequence of tracks, each progressively rawer and more breakbeat driven, you can hear jungle being born from the inchoate energy of acid house. Indeed, there's a moment in "We Are IE" where the dub bassline modulates into an acid gurgle, just to remind you where it came from.
Compare the bleep melodies of Wots My Code's furious 1992 breakbeat hardcore "Dubplate" with the more intricately rolling "Being With You" by Foul Play and "The Future" by Noise Factory and you'll hear another snapshot of evolution in action. But it's not all about obvious similarities or chronological shifts. Sometimes the juxtapositions illuminate the tracks in more oblique ways. Part 2 begins with the Detroit machine groove of the underappreciated Rhythim Is Rhythim track "Emanon," followed by the industrial stomp of "Technarchy" by Cybersonik (Richie Hawtin, Dan Bell and John Acquaviva). Both gesture to the hi-tech sound palette of the drum & bass Fabio and Grooverider moved onto after Rage.
The breaks and bass from Nightmares On Wax and the faster tracks from Bodysnatch and Q Project aren't as obviously futurist. But next to the Detroit tunes, the bleep-and-bass of Juno's "Soul Thunder" and the flat-out mania of Ecstasy Club's "Jesus Loves The Acid," they all suddenly make sense as part of an electronic funk continuum. And that's the glory of these compilations. They span five years, tempos from 120 to 160 BPM, and a complete revolution of the UK underground, but the commonality between the tunes—one that only a DJ's ear could find—points to some fundamental dance floor truths.
Whether the tracks are Detroit funk, Yorkshire bleep and bass, proto jungle or off-its-tits sunrise house, there was something in Fabio and Grooverider's selections that always favoured the pure functionality of rhythm, riff and bass. These tracks remain just as functional now, even after a quarter century of technological and cultural shifts. You can hear their echoes in some of today's most vital musicians, too. DJs and producers with an ear for the foundations of rave—Violet, Special Request, Eris Drew—prove these principles still work every weekend. The tracks themselves still work, too. Just try them.
30 Years Of Rage Part 1
01. Leftfield - Not Forgotten (Dub Mix)
02. One Tribe - Is This All (Instinctstrumental)
03. Lennie De Ice - We Are IE (Original Mix)
04. Zero B - Lock Up (2012 Re Master)
05. Wots My Code - Dubplate
06. Foul Play - Being With You
07. Noise Factory - The Future
08. Fallout - The Morning After (Sunrise Mix)
30 Years Of Rage Part 2
01. Rhythim Is Rhythim - Emanon
02. Cybersonik - Technarchy
03. Looney Tunes - Just As Long As I Got You (Brooklyn Club Mix)
04. Ecstasy Club - Jesus Loves The Acid
05. Nightmares On Wax - Aftermath
06. Juno - Soul Thunder
07. Bodysnatch - Just 4 U London (Kuff Mix)
08. Q Project - Champion Sound (Alliance Remix)