Turns out that the music industry is a fickle place. Who would have thought it? Within a few months from the end of ’91 to mid ’92, rave (or hardcore as it was now more commonly known) had gone from being the musical bogeyman peeking through the window and luring our youth away with the promise of ecstasy and LSD, to being invited to sit round the mainstream’s dinner table.
With the rise of popular Rave acts such as The Prodigy, Altern 8, and SL2 all making big dents in the UK music charts (at a time when they actually mattered), hardcore had become a big deal – and when something becomes a big deal, big business is never far away. Rave was the new buzzword all over the commercial airwaves, CD racks were packed with compilations, and licensed events were on the increase with events such as Fantazia and Universe attracting crowds of up to 25,000 – 30,000 people.
Rave’s new found popularity was not pleasing everyone however. ‘Plastic ravers’ (tourists riding the zeitgeist of popular culture) had jumped-on the bandwagon, and a string of so called ‘toytown’ tunes that sampled kids TV shows including Sesame’s Treet and Trumpton were hitting the charts. Some were becoming worried that Hardcore’s image was becoming gimmicky and watered down. One of the most vocal critics of this babyfication of the music was Strictly Underground Records founder Mark Ryder, who used his releases and makeshift adverts to take a clear swipe at such tomfoolery.
Personally, I don’t mind either of those tracks. They are at least well-produced Rave tunes by genuine artists with honest intentions. What was far worse, were the opportunists looking for a slice of rave-pie with no roots or knowledge of the rave scene whatsoever… a case in point being this cringe-ridden parody of crusty-rocker Rod Stewart’s ‘We Are Raving’, or this gaudy rave version of Tetris written by none other than Andrew cunting Lloyd Webber!
Ultimately though, it didn’t really matter. None of these tunes made it into the raves where the music was actually growing steadily harder and faster. Hardcore was becoming more sub-bass heavy, and the beats were moving away from the influence of European 4×4 techno towards the breaks of Funk and Hip Hop. Ibiza Records who were notorious for their Ragga and Dancehall influences, are the label credited with coining the term ‘Jungle Techno’ and clubs such as ‘Rage’, whose residents included Fabio and Grooverider began to cater solely for this rougher, more homegrown style of music.
The mixes I’ve put together to represent late ’92 are a nod to the rougher, more ‘junglist’ end of the Hardcore spectrum. This is Hardcore Junglism for those who were seeking refuge from the more friendly, happier, and commercial side of rave.
Alien – Ruff House (Alien & Monster)
B.R.O.T.H.E.R. Movement – Concrete Jungle Dub (Tribal Bass)
J Higgs, J Emery, I Clifton – Sellout (Critical Rhythm)
Oaysis – Incredible Bass (Formation)
Underground Software – Different Ting (Reinforced)
Bad Girl – Bad Girl (Jungle Mix) (Ibiza)
Clarkee – I Get Hype (Paradox)
DJ B & EZM – Shockin To The Break Of Dawn (Industrial Noize)
Bass Ballistics – Smoke Dis One (Remix) (J4M)
Satin Storm – Think Im Goin Out Of My Head (Satin Storm)
Quality Dope Tracks – Dream World (Kingsize Productions)
Darkman – Planet Of The Zombie Droids (Sapho)
Utomica – Rok A Bye (Pro One)
LTJ Bukem – A Couple Of Beats (Good Looking)
Mastersafe – Monster Sound (Formation)
Subway – Launch Pad (Rising High)
Cosmic Brian – Far From A River (Ruff Quality)
Metal Heads – Kemistry (Synthetic Hardcore Phonography)
Tone Def – Projection (Moving Shadow)
Syko & Mak – Murda (Parliament)
Bass Ballistics – Smoke Dis One (J4M)
Impact Crew – Feels Good (U No Dat)
Sudden Def – Give It To Me (Remix) (Reinforced)
150 Volts – Hi I’m Chucky (Shut Up & Dance Mix) (Ruff Quality)
Zero Zero – Zero Not Zero (Kickin)
Sound Corp – Regen Time (Tone Def)
Younghead – I Love Hardcore (Reinforced)
Nebula II – Flatliner (Remix) (J4M)
Manix – Try To Love Me (Remix) (Reinforced)
Desired State – Expansion (Remix) (Out Of Romford)
Dj Scoobie – King Basshead (Strictly Underground)
Secret Squirrel – Crazy (Dance Bass)
Mr E, Pressure, Stakker & Spindizzy – Palace Pier (Uridium)
Bizzy B – This One Is Computerised (Brain)
Bad Influence – Fubar EP Track A2 (Bad Influence)
Frontline – Rough Noise (Ibiza)
Boomtown Productions – All Rude Boys (786)
Raggahead – Give The People Junglis (Infrasonic)
M S Six – In The Jungle Remixes Track A2 (Absolute 2)
Secret Squirrel – Mu Venom (Dance Bass)
Mega Drive – Demon (Formation)
Cool Hand Flex – Lock Me Up (Ruff Groove)
Ellis Dee – Do You Want Me (Ellis Dee Project)
A Sides – Brothers In Arms (Reel 2 Reel)
Nino – The Gun (Production House)
- After their 15 minutes of fame, Luna-C who was one third of the group responsible for the ‘Sesame’s Treet’ tune used his proceeds to start up his own record label. Kniteforce Records went on to become one of the most respected breakbeat Hardcore labels of the early 90’s. He’s also written a book called ‘How to Squander your potential’ which is all about the early 90’s rave scene, and is probably the most funny, honest and down to earth account I have read on the subject. It’s great, go and buy it.