Mixmag April 1994 – Is Jungle Too Ruff?

Mixmag | APRIL 1994 – IS JUNGLE TOO RUFF?.

This article is now 20 years old. It’s an argument that wasn’t solved then, and hasn’t been since.


Words: Jane Headon
Photos from Jungle Fever: Donovan
Published in Mixmag April 1994

With the precision of a wire cutter, jungle music has divided the rave scene down the middle. People’s feelings are set down in two camps. Thereʼs those who claim that jungle is keeping dance music alive and that, without it, the entire rave scene would have collapsed. And there’s those who argue that jungle music is a nasty business, too mixed in with hard drugs, violence and bad vibes, killing the scene without mercy.

It has been around, like most dance music forms, since the beginning. After the ’88/’89 summers of love, when house started dividing itself up like an amoeba, one of the sub-genres was heavily reggae influenced tracks. Black kids stole back their tech and chucked deep baselines and frantic breakbeats under it. Shut Up And Dance started toasting over bass heavy hardcore.

Then in 1991 Rebel MC put out his ‘Black Meaning Goodʼ LP. Suddenly the unlikely bed fellows of ragga and techno became a respected marriage. It was described by many as ‘noise free’ music. Everyone got into it, from The Prodigy to SL2 whose poppy ʻOn A Ragga Tip’ sold 200,000 copies. Techno opened up the scene. Rave became legal, harder and less elitist.

So the pro-junglists are right. Without hardcore the scene wouldn’t be what it is today. Around ’91 and ’92 it was exhorted by ravers for being a truly multi-racial form of music. In 1994, says Gerald Bailey, promoter of Quest in Wolverhampton, a hardcore session that’s been pulling in 1,000 a week for two and a half years now, if you want to fill the club, you play jungle.


Mixmag December 1993 Why Don’t DJ’s Turn Up?


I bet they turn up now that the mega money has gone. Although this is almost 20 years ago


We see the flyers, we pay our money and all too often they never turn up.

Words: Jane Headon
Cartoon: Stuart Harrison
Published in Mixmag December 1993

It’s a familiar story. You’ve paid £15 to hear your favourite DJ and you couldn’t care less about the rest of the line-up. You’re well inside the door before you realise he’s not actually showing. And can you get your money back? You’d have more chance of being asked to DJ yourself. It wouldn’t and doesn’t happen with live bands so why should we have to put up with it? And why is it so hard to find someone to blame?

Promoters say it’s not their fault, that they book DJs who never show and how can they be held responsible for the flaky nature of the disc spinners? Recently however, DJs have been pointing their fingers at dodgy dealers who put their names on flyers fraudulently, knowing full well that the DJ isn’t even booked.

Mixmag June 1994 Trip Hop

We never really went for Trip Hop, wasn’t dancey enough, but it was pretty big in the mid-90’s. Love the DJ Shadow album Endtroducing that is mentioned though.

Mixmag | JUNE 1994: TRIP HOP.

Was it all crap? JUNE 1994: TRIP HOP

It’s insane, scary, trippy, very dope and the most exciting thing to happen to hip hop for years.

Words: Andy Pemberton
Photos: Mark McNulty
Published in Mixmag June 1994

“It’s so fucking excellent at the moment,” enthuses Mark, that guru of all things techno from Happy Daze Records on the Isle Of Wight. “That stuff is just wicked. La Funk Mob, RPM, itʼs excellent.”

He’s not talking about the latest ‘Technoid implosions Volume 12’ LP, or the new ‘Die Pantaloons Trancenfurher’ 10 inch cyberdisc. Heʼs talking about a new kind of hip hop record.

It would be unheard of for technoboffs to enthuse about hip hop just six months ago. The beats were far too slow, and the rhymes just got in the way for dance-floor fun or bed room appreciation. Hip hop was out there on its own, a whole culture and musical genre best left to low riding Americans obsessed with guns and girls with big bottoms. But now all that is changing. London’s bastion of techno Fat Cat Records is selling these new hip hop records like hot cross buns, sussed trance and techno-heads like Mark Daze and Andy Weatherall are sitting up and paying attention, and house producers like Slo Moshun, whose ʻBells Of New Yorkʼ slowed right down to a hip hop break, are realizing there’s more to life than four to the floor beat fascism.

Cut to Friday night at the London citadel of trance, Sabresonic and Bob Jones, erstwhile soul and Ian dude DJ, is on the decks. That in itself is surprising enough, but he’s playing some weird music. Slow and crunching hip hop beats, no vocals, just strange swirling noises over the top. The Sonic faithful look utterly confused. It’s like taking acid at a hip hop gig. Weird.

The Chemical Brothers in Mixmag December 1995



Words: Andy Pemberton
Originally published in Mixmag December 1995

Chicago. At least that was the view you glimpsed from the hotel window earlier this afternoon. Middle of a five-week tour and now you’re in post gig limbo. It’s something unspeakable in the AM, and you’re too wired from the gig to go to bed, but you’re shagged from days spent on the road. Your body clock is fucked – wound forward and then back again by transatlantic flights and cross continent jetting. Time has never felt so relative. Feeling this weird has begun to be a way of life. Better start drinking beer, and maybe enjoying the other recreational substances always made available to a visiting popular music band. Maybe that way you can inject some colour into the grey grind of touring.

A guy walks into the dressing room. Freaky looking geezer smoking Salem brand cigarettes. He starts talking to you in a deeply southern, flatbed truck drawl. The words creep out of his disgusting fucking mouth so slow, he’s obviously not used to being interrupted. He says he’s a Southern rock fan, whatever the hell that is, but he reeks of bad vibes – American, but evil fuckers smell the same anywhere. Has to be a drug dealer. This sonovabitch is mumbling away and fumbling in his pocket and, hey big surprise, he pulls out the biggest stash of cocaine. He cuts himself a line longer and wider than the Hudson river. And schniffs the whole lot in one go. Jesus H Christ.