ABC History Sessions: A Rave New World (Late 1991 – Early 1992)

When I was asked to write an account of DnB’s history, it turned out that the hardest decision to make was, where to begin?…

1996 was probably the year it was generally recognised as a genre of music in its own right, but clearly it didn’t just ‘happen’… so where did it come from? What influenced it? Should I start with the jungle which preceded DnB in the mid-90’s? or the Hardcore which preceded jungle? What about the house and techno of the late 80’s which preceded Hardcore? Maybe I should I start with We Are IE by Lenny D Ice which many consider to be the first DnB/Jungle record? Or maybe I should go back to 1969 when the Winston’s first drummed out their most famous 6 second loop on Amen Brother?…

Nailing down DnB’s defining moment of birth is probably an impossible task, and is largely subjective. On that basis I decided the most sensible place to start would be the early 90’s where it all began for me.  Many consider the early 90’s to be the ‘golden age’ of rave. I like to believe the reason for this, and the reason why so many old skool events hark back to that era is because it was the last scene along with the likes of Rock, Punk, and Hip-Hop that really connected with the younger generation. Throughout the 80’s society had been told that “Greed was good”, and materialism was something to be celebrated. Rave culture was the antithesis to that ideology and served to tear down barriers between race, creed, and class to replace them with principles of peace love and unity.

Rave culture’s anarchic sense of fun caught the mainstream off-guard, and as a result Rave music received little or no support from commercial radio or TV. Events where the music was being played were mostly illegal, and it was demonised in the press where red-tops like The Sun ramped-up the hyperbole with stories about the “evils of rave music” and its association with ecstasy and LSD. There was an excellent BBC documentary shown in 1992 which perfectly captured the essence of raves and the anxieties of middle England at this time which can be seen here.

Of course for a young kid making their first musical discoveries the anarchic sense of it all simply added to the mystique and excitement. Back in the days of yore, without the help of the internet, the only way for the music to spread was through word of mouth. Finding other groups of people who were also into the same music was like being part of some secret underground club. At school we would swap the few tapes we had between us like football stickers, with names like Top Buzz, Grooverider, and Carl Cox generating much excitement.

On the face of it, this first mix I have posted may appear to have little to do with modern day DnB. But I think as we become older and our musical tastes develop we tend to forget what it was that attracted us to music in the first place. It’s all part of the great rave tradition that we initially get hooked on the obvious catchy tunes before some beats wizard comes along and gets us into the deeper stuff. For me it was no different. My first interests weren’t the intricacies of beat manipulation or little nuances of sound. It was about wanting something that was unadulterated energy and excitement; this mix is a tribute to that. These are tunes which I consider to be just straight up rave, with all the typical stabs and sounds people associated with it at that time. There’s nothing subtle about any of these tunes, they were all aimed squarely at the dancefloor to enhance the pill-rush of ravers in a care-free time before people started to take it all a bit too seriously.

Download “Late 91 - Early 92 Rave Mix” Eazyflow - Late 91 - Early 92 Rave Mix.mp3 – Downloaded 209 times – 151 MB

M-D-Emm – Get Down (Strictly Underground)
The End – Rebel Song (Flying)
Mysteria – Who Killed JFK (ZYX)
Urban Hype & Mikey B – Relapsed (Essential)
Sonz Of A Loop Da Loop Era – Higher (Suburban Base)
The Enigmatist – UFO (Bizarre)
Njoi – Mindflux (Deconstruction)
Pleasure Game – Le Seigneur Des Tenebras (Music Man)
3.V. – Kollision (The One After D)
A.W.O.L. – 5.4.3.2.1 (Elicit)
After Dark – Come With Me Tonight (Remix) (Orbital)
Circa 91 – Can You Feel Me (Debut)
The Energizer – Volume 1 (B Side) (White)
Engineers Revenge – Sounds Of Euro (Detroit House)
Heavyweight – The Way Of The Future (The One After D)
Sonic Solution – Music (R&S)
Rhythm Section – Emotion (Rhythm Section)
Jimmy Crash – Crash Course (After Dark Remix) (Hardcore)
Terrorize – Clap Your Hands (Hardcore Noise)
Dream Frequency – Take Me To The Top (Prodigy Remix) (City Beat)
M15 – Money Go Round (Strategy)
Cold Sensation – Control The Universe (Dance Opara)
Njoi – Adrenalin (Deconstruction)
Intellect – Throw Your Hands Up (Music Man)
Outrageous – Feel Like Dancin (Kinetix)
Air of Gloom – Meditation (Beat Box)
About the Author

Alasdair Watson

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Obsessive record collector and old skool enthusiast who still spends most of his time living in the 80's and 90's.