Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
The ultimate underground UK dance style of the mid-'90s, multi-racial and urban in social background, sustained by a subterranean network of pirate radio stations and records with plain covers, unusual in recent UK musical history in originating in the South (esp. London) rather than Manchester or Liverpool. Initially an outgrowth of critically overlooked but massively popular 'ardkore techno and roughneck ragga reggae styles, characterized by the sonic distortion of shrill treble and subterranean bass and a shuffling biscuit- tin-clatter drumbeat which seemed to overlay rather than underlie sampled or (occasionally) sung vocals. It was directly influenced by Chicago's house and was well-suited to disturbing the foundations of city streets via overloaded car stereos (the UK equivalent of Dr Dre's auto-minded gangsta-rap productions). Among the pioneers were enigmatic North London outfit Shut Up and Dance (album Death Is Not The End '92), who objected to the 'jungle' tag (preferring the spreading term 'drum and bass') on grounds of implicit racism. 'Incredible' by M-Beat featuring General Levy (UK top 40 '94) was an unconvincing first of numerous attempts at chart breakthrough, finally achieved (ironically) by the gentle white vocal duo Everything but the Girl '96 (see their entry), with the assistance of experimental remixers Springheel Jack. Jungle innovators like the enigmatic Mancunian A Guy Called Gerald (Gerald Simp- son, who also recorded top ten house/techno crossover anthem 'Voodoo Ray' '89) and veteran Wolverhampton graffiti artist Goldie made imposingly musical albums Black Secret Technology '95 on Juicebox and Timeless '95 on Metalheadz/FFRR (top 20), the latter incorporating UK jazzmen Cleveland Watkiss and Steve Williamson with no detriment to the futuristic clout. See also entries for House and Techno.