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Oldschool jungle

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Oldschool jungle

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Oldschool jungle
Stylistic origins: Breakbeat hardcore, Techno, Rare groove, Reggae, Darkcore
Cultural origins: Early 1990s, United Kingdom
Typical instruments: Synthesizer - Drum machine - Sequencer - Sampler
Mainstream popularity: Low
Derivative forms: Drum and bass
Ragga jungle, Darkside jungle, Intelligent jungle

Oldschool jungle is the name given to a style of electronic music that incorporates influences from genres including breakbeat hardcore, techno, rare groove and reggae/dub/dancehall. There is significant debate as to whether Jungle is a separate genre from drum and bass as some use the terms interchangeably.



Subgenres of oldschool jungle include:

  • ragga jungle; more Jamaican-Ragga influenced styles and lyrics (circa 1992-6),
  • darkside jungle; instrumental jungle with a more minimal focus (1994-today),
  • intelligent jungle; a more ambient sound, focusing on mood, synthesis and production methods (1996-today).

The fast tempos (150 to 170 bpm), breakbeats, other heavily syncopated percussive loops, samples and simple synthesized effects makes up the easily recognizable form of Jungle. Producers create the tell-tale drum patterns; sometimes completely off-beat, by cutting apart breakbeats such as the Amen break. Jungle producers incorporated classic Jamaican/Caribbean sound-system culture production-methods. The slower, deep basslines and simple melodies (which are directly descended from dub, reggae and dancehall) accentuated the overall production and hence gave Jungle its 'rolling' quality.


The term Jungle

While the use of the word to describe what is now known as 'Jungle' music is debatable, the emergence of the term in musical circles can be roughly traced to Jamaican/Caribbean toasting (a pre-cursor to modern MCs), circa 1970. References to 'Jungle', 'Junglists' and 'Jungle music' can be found throughout dub, reggae and dancehall genres from that era up until today.

It has been suggested that the term 'Junglist' was a reference to a person either from a section of Kingston known as 'The Concrete Jungle' or from a different area, 'The Gardens', which was a leafy area colloquially referred to as 'The Jungle'.

The first documented use of the term is within a song featuring Jungle producer and lyricist Rebel MC. In which a sample was taken from a much older dancehall tune containing the lyrics "Rebel got this chant - "'alla the junglists"[1].

At one time there was even some confusion and debate as to whether the use of the word "Jungle" was a racist referral to its apparently blacker, reggae-influenced sound and fans. This seems unlikely as whilst it has been suggested that it was the black youth of Britain who fueled the early Jungle and drum and bass scenes [1]. This was only the reality very early on and is now a racially diverse mix of fans and producers alike.

Some early proponents preferred to define the "Jungle" element as representing the deeper and darker sound of the heavy beats and bass lines, while others saw a connection with tribal drumming, percussion and simplicity.

Producers and DJs of the early 90's; MC 5ive '0, Groove Connection and Kingsley Roast, place the origin of the word in the scene with pioneers like Moose and Danny Jungle.

"a guy called Danny Jungle - he is the first person I always quote. ... As soon as the breakbeat started he was calling it that." [2]

The emergence of the Jungle sound

In the summer of 1992, a Thursday night club in London called "Rage" was changing in response to the commercialization of the rave scene (see breakbeat hardcore). Resident DJs Fabio and Grooverider; amongst others, began to take the Hardcore sound of to a new level. The speed of the music increased from 120bpm to 145bpm, whilst more ragga and dancehall elements were brought in and Techno, Disco and House influences were decreased.

Eventually the music became too fast and different to be mixed with more traditional rave music, creating a division with the other popular electronic genres. When it lost the four-on-the-floor beat, and created percussive elements solely from raw, 'chopped up' breakbeats, the old-school ravers would complain that it had "gone all jungle-techno".

The club 'Rage' finally shut its doors in 1993, but the new legion of "Junglists" had evolved, changing dancing styles for the faster music, enjoying the off-beat rhythms and with less reliance on the chemical stimulation of the rave era.

Jungle's decline

Jungle reached the peak of its popularity between 1994 and 1995. It was toward the end of this period that the genre diversified into drum and bass as most producers started to incorporate new sounds and rhythms into their music. The co-produced "Timeless" by Goldie and Rob Playford (released on Playford's Moving Shadow record label) is the clearest example of a track from this time period which is not considered Jungle. Showcasing the new wave of high-tech music production tools being created and computer and audio-software possibilities, 1995 ushered in many of the biggest names in drum and bass today. The term 'Jungle' was then used to describe a large range of electronic dance music and so has become too vague to be useful.

Jungle today

Today jungle can be used as a synonym for drum and bass. Some may use the term 'Jungle' to denote a more ragga, "old skool" or mid-90s sound, although some feel drum and bass and Jungle are in fact completely separate genres. Very fast, almost undanceable beats ragged are sometimes referred to as Jungle by this group, which has formed an underground scene throwing free parties and other underground raves. In this underground scene, popular drum and bass is frowned upon by some as it is seen to be too mainstream.


  1. ^ a b >Reynolds, Simon (1998). “Roots 'n Future”, Energy Flash. Picador. ISBN 0-330-35056-0.
  2. ^ See All Crews: Journeys Through Jungle / Drum and Bass Culture by Brian Belle-Fortune ISBN 0954889703

Reference tracks

  • A-Zone - Calling The People (Jungle)
  • Conquering Lion - Code Red (Ragga-Jungle)
  • DJ Dextrous & rude Boy keith - The Kings of the Jungle Part One A.Wicked AA.Charge (SUBBASE 36)
  • DJ Dextrous & rude Boy keith - The Kings of the Jungle Part Two A. Bad Boy Tune B1. Jungle Theme B2. Wicked remix (SUBBASE 36R)

Notable artists

Andy C
DJ Hype
DJ Krust
DJ Zinc
Ed Rush
Johnny Jungle (aka Pascal)
Krome + Mr Time
L Double
LTJ Bukem
M Beat
Mickey Finn
Omni Trio
Ray Keith
Shy FX
Tom + Jerry
The Prodigy

Home | Up | Amen break | Clownstep | Darkcore | Darkstep | Drumfunk | Hardstep | Intelligent drum and bass | Jump-Up | Junglist | Liquid funk | Neurofunk | Oldschool jungle | Trancestep

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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