Here’s a slept-on 94 track I meant to play for the past two radio shows, but didn’t get around to – might as well post it here!! I’m not sure if it really counts as “darkside” since it’s a bit late for that. Instead, it’s more gloriously gross, moody and odd choppy low-fi jungle. “Grave Digger” is packed to the brim with 8 bit sounding samples (soundtrack pads, movie vocals, dog barks, etc) all mashed together for 6 minutes of nonstop craziness.
I certainly can’t see this tune winning over any novices to the genre, but this is exactly the type of craziness I love finding hidden on the B2 side of some otherwise nondescript bargain bin jungle EP. One for the anoraks and those whose taste runs to the dark and moody side of jungle!!
Here’s a fun 92 tune I’ve been waiting to play in a mix, but since there hasn’t been a good opportunity and no tracks have been posted in a while, I’ll force myself to post it up in full.
I first came across this tune in a mix by the brilliant Chris DJ Sav (RIP). A lot of Chris’ later mixes focused in on super oddball, off kilter tunes with a strong “so wrong it’s right” feel (eg my personal favorite stuff). Plutone’s tunes highlights this well. Despite being released on some slightly more established labels, and seeming to be a relatively big german techno/rave act (I think they were on a big loveparade comp if my memory serves me right), a number of their tunes were super mental sounding, with buzzsaw synths and interesting change-ups. This one in particular goes from a more standard (but harsh) ravey melody, to a sort of brutal atonal pattern that sounds way harsher to me than most 92 stuff of the time… almost more in-line with some dark PCP type thing. Definitely NOT for everyone, but a cool track for those into darker more “out there” hardcore stuff.
Oh yeah, normally I try not to mess with the sound of posted tunes, but I’ve applied some compression to this one since the dynamics always felt a bit off to me…certain parts sounding way louder than others. Hope it doesn’t ruin it for anyone, but it definitely makes it a bit of a smoother listen for me. Plutone – The Damned II
OK, been a bit slack on the individual tune posts so here’s an absolute c-l-a-s-s-i-c to make up for it. This is a one-off EP made famous by Bukem playing it in one of his Best Yaman tapes Hardcore vol 11. The flipside was also in a previous Yaman tape (Hardcore Vol 9), but I think this is the track that most people know and prefer. On one hand, “Resurrection” has got all the trappings of a 93 darkside gem – moody synths, horror movie samples (the aforementioned “Demon Resurrection” line from Evil Dead), and rolling amens. At the same time though, the track moves back and forth from outright horror movie style orchestral music to a more vibey, uplifting, deep sort of “darkside” sound – the kind which doesn’t sound “dark” in the traditional sense of the word, but more just deep and proto-intelligent and in contrast to fun bouncy ravestab pianofest stuff which preceded it in 92.
The only minor downside to this tune is the somewhat strange low fi nature of the beats (maybe “overblown” is the right word?), but the nice rolling nature of the beats fits the melody perfectly, and it’s a perfect example of vibes easily winning out over technical prowess or clinical production. And if you can’t suspend disbelief about a minor production issue in light of an overall great tune, oldskool probably isn’t the music style for you 🙂 All in all, a big big tune I listen to and spin a lot, worth tracking down despite the moderately large price tag.
Here’s a SERIOUS personal fav dark hardcore gem which is somewhat overlooked in my view. The EP this tune is featured on is a bit hard to find, as is the Rhythm Rebel EP I posted on this label a while back. luckily this tune was also featured on a cheap and easy to find Kickin CD comp, Techno Nations (listed there under the EP name). The track itself is a 4/4 stomper with crunchy 8 bit breaks, ominous pads, choir vocals and that classic “power of darkness” sample – all elements which would fit comfortably in a 92 darkside tune, but supposedly this one was released one year earlier? (edit: a few people have corrected me on this and it seems like it did indeed come out in 92) It’s also at a nice tempo range (high 140’s) which means it’s good for mixing with faster harder techno as well. Actually, I kind of wish I had thought to put this in my Jungle/Techno mix a few months back. Either way, def one to track down!
Here’s one of two netradio sets I did this weekend. This first one was on Radio Frontline, and was the first darkside set I’ve played in a while. I tried to alternate between really obscure unknown tracks and well known classic stuff, so hopefully just when it’s getting too anorak a familiar tune pops in (if you’re familiar with darkside anyway). To be honest I haven’t even listened back yet, mixing was ropey at times but the tunes more than make up for it! Some serious “wtf is THAT?” type selections (at least to my taste), alongside big well known darkside tunes like Bloodclat Artattack, Liquid Aliens , etc. Continue reading… Radio Frontline Darkside set 10/4/2014
A year ago I posted a nice track by DJ Massive called “Fall Down”, which people sometimes mistake for another tune with the same sample.. well,this is that other tune. The Mad Ragga Jon version here is the more well known of those two and, dare, I say, a bit better (though the DJ Massive one is also nice for sure). Using the same Tramaine acapella as featured in plenty of other tracks like Force & Evolution “Fall Down on Me”, Mad Ragga Jon + Stetly “Fall Down On Me” also throws in some hammering amens, big sub bass, Sinnamon acapella bits (“let the freak..”), and a few twists and turns including some extended eerie timestretched breaks reminding me a bit of early Metalheads (the artist not the label). It’s definitely not a quick “get in, do one thing, get out” type track, but flows between a number of different parts, with the last section being extra stripped-down, moody, and ahead of its time.
Regarding the artists behind it: Mad Ragga Jon is best known for running the Mad House label as well as his wicked early Boogie Times releases. Supposedly he had a falling out with Sub Base early on, which possibly lead to the formation of his label or at least it pulling away from the Boogie Times family (I’m pretty confident this is documented somewhere and not just rumors, though I can’t remember where I read it now). The other artist on this track (Stetly) I only know for his wicked EP on Dance Bass with the Beat Mash Crew. It’s a shame these guys didn’t release many more tunes after this – M.R.J. did have a remix on a DJ Nut Nut EP, as well as engineering another record or two. There’s also a really choice unreleased track called “Crazy Daydreams” which may or may not be by him. I forget the latest in the search, but I think someone had reached out to him and he denied writing it, but other artists still claimed it was by him? Either way, there’s also an unreleased remix of “Fall Down On Me” supposedly (anyone got it? feel free to send it my way :)). Aside from those though, this EP is an serious must-have – not a bargain bin tune by any stretch, but not that expensive either and still cheaper than some new releases coming out on vinyl. Get to grabbing if you don’t have it!
I may be slacking on tune posts lately, but when I do post them I mean business… this tune is a personal favorite discovery of mine from recent time: totally underappreciated / unknown 91-92 style bleepy acidy breakbeat stuff. What makes this tune for me is the combination of aforementioned sounds with sinister pads, weird noises and creeping strings: I’m always a sucker for dark tracks like this. Absolutely no clue on who Ross Pehenallas is, I’ve never seen this tune in any mixes etc (though I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s an unknown ID request *somewhere*), no other releases from the artist or label. The other tracks are all pretty solid acid-y hardcore if I remember right, nothing too extreme and all a bit more 91 tempo, but good stuff. Perhaps that’s the issue, as this is dated in discogs as being released in 93. If it had been released then, it might have been a bit tougher to fit with other tunes. But regardless of that, this tune… wow. All glorious snaps crackles and pops left in as there’s NO reason not to nab it since it’s ridiculously cheap and easy to find. Frankly, I’ll be a little bit insulted if I check Discogs marketplace in a few days and don’t see at least one or two of these sub-2£ copies gone. Ross Phinellas – Aboriginal /blog/audio/Ross Phinellas - Aboriginal
It’s kind of dreary day today here, so here’s a tune to match…. as played in Sunday’s 94-95 radio show, it’s a 94 deep and dreary track by Mystical. I’ve got no idea who Mystical was. but I’ve got a bunch of records by him on Stooge Productions, so I assume he was an associate of DJ Stooge’s. As mentioned on discogs, the matrix #s on this record indicates that this might have been meant to be the 15th release on Stooge as well.
For me, this tune is all about the breaks and massive sub – there’s a few other samples thrown in (some ragga vocals, a dreary synth and “try so hard” vocal line), but in my opinion this tune is at its best when it’s just got the huge boomy sub and multiple layers of breaks (cold sweat plus some others) firing away. Pure 94 moodyness!! It’s also quite short for a jungle track at just under 4 minutes – so short, I accidentally let it play out to the end of the tune on Sunday, and had to rush and start the the next track without cueing. However, that makes it great for posting here since it’s a nice and to-the-point listen, and once you remember the fact that it’s short, it’s easy to mix and out of (just don’t blend slowly in for 2-3 minutes). On top of all that, it’s a nice and cheap tune to pick up, perhaps because the A side isn’t very strong in my opinion. Definitely one to nab if you like your 94 jungle dark n moody. Mystical – Try So Hard
Here’s a dark German jungle tune from 1995 I took a chance on recently. I’ll admit I hadn’t really heard much about this label before getting this – based on the producer’s site and info on discogs, it seems Outlaw Records were based near Mannheim, part of the Milk! Club scene and started around 94 (pretty early for a non-uk jungle label). This tune is quite sparse but solid: chopped amens and dark pads / leads and not much else save a decent breakdown halfway through. Maybe not the most involved track for listening to end-to-end, but I’ve definitely been having fun mixing it, and it’s quite cheap so a solid purchase for the obscurity seekers. Especially given how rinsed darkside and dark jungle is at the moment, it’s always nice to find those tunes which have flown under the radar and not been played as much (or at all). Based on this EP, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for other releases from the label. Abyss of Time – Deep Flowin
Here’s an exceptional underrated 94 banger from a small label called Quality Control. This EP is the first of just a couple releases on that label, and it’s definitely a strong start. On the A side (featured here) we get a deep-n-dark think & cold sweat breakbeat flex-out, drenched in delay with ominous synths and vocal snippets peppererd throughout… a bit reminiscent of DJ Buz “Slave” to my ears, mostly in terms of the sound palette, also because it nails the darker-side-of-jungle sounds at the time. The surface similarity to “slave” is no surprise given the fact that Nico from No U Turn produced and engineered this, and wrote the flip side himself under the alias NKC. Given how cheap this record is, if you like your 94 darkside then this is pretty much a must-buy in my view… check it yourself and see if you agree! Ride C – Jungle Pressure