Yeah, many of you may have thought that sometimes. You’re in the middle of a night rave in an abandoned industrial area with stroboscopic lights pulsing in rhythmic conjunction with the basslines and you can feel where the name “jungle” comes from. However, the roots of this term are deeper than expected and involve a mixture of the jamaican culture with the underground electronic music scene of the late ’80s.
The jamaican region that spans from Kingston to Trenchtown is called the “concrete jungle” from the locals. In this area, the traditional reggae and dancehall sounds were tested with the fast basslines of the drum and bass music, that rised from the slums of the big UK cities like London, Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool in the early ’90s. The result was amazing: raggamuffin vocals over reggae melodies with a heavy and fast drum and bass skeleton. Basically, a puff-puffing Mecha-Robo-Marley with a voice tuned at 60 Hz. This music found its celebration in the remixing of the reggae traditional songs, that still are part of the DJ sets selectas of many drum & bass events.
Tell us about it, who wouldn’t dance to this:
In the early ’90s, Jungle music became one of the most diffused styles played at the raves, because Acid House was becoming part of the mainstream musical scene. Moreover, acid house raves ceased to be free-entry, leaving a lot of poor rave-aficionados outside the party. They didn’t like this.
During the mid-late ’90s this sound evolved and reached new horizons giving rise to the more known drum & bass sound. However, jungle music persisted in the scene because many listeners and DJs brought on the caraibic traditional sound of jungle while other ones turned into more futuristic and industrial directions. Nowadays, we know as Jungle that part of the drum & bass music that recalls reggae and dancehall elements together with the typical breakbeat drums and basslines.
Recalling an ancient jamaican saying: why did the Lion get lost? Because the jungle is massive.