Who’d have thought that the music industry would turn out to be a fickle place!? 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’ records that sampled kids TV shows including Sesame Street and Trumpton were hitting the charts. Some were becoming worried that Hardcore was becoming gimmicky and watered down. One such critic of this babyfication was Strictly Underground Records founder Mark Ryder, who used his releases and makeshift adverts to take a clear swipe at such cheese.
Personally, I don’t mind ‘Sesame’s Treet’ or ‘Trip To Trumpton’. They were 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 parody of crusty-rocker Rod Stewart’s ‘We Are Raving’, or this gaudy rave version of Tetris written by none other than Andrew cunty Lloyd Webber.
Ultimately though, it didn’t really matter. None of these tunes made it into the raves where the music was 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.
- 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.