In 1994, the government introduced a bill to tackle what it perceived as the menace of rave music. Against a backdrop of widespread protest, The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act was eventually passed into law – Part 5 of which concerns ‘collective trespass and nuisance’ where it characterises rave music as: “…sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats.” The Act empowers authorities to stop a rave in the open air with a hundred or more people attending, or where two or more people are making preparations for a rave. In other words, police now had the power to shut down anything from the size of Castle Morton to this poor guy’s bbq.
You have to feel sorry for M-Beat… When General Levy, an MC with his roots in the dancehall claimed that he was “runnin’ jungle” the fallout that followed passed into drum & bass legend. The story goes that after being annoyed by this careless boast, a committee of top DJ’s and producers calling themselves the ‘Jungle Council’ boycotted Levy and anyone playing his records. Unfortunately for M-Beat, Levy was the MC responsible for the infamous vocals on his biggest hit (and only jungle record to ever break the top 10), ‘Incredible’. This effectively ended M-Beat’s career which was a great shame, as up until this point he had a near flawless back-catalogue of ragga-flavoured jungle anthems including Rumble, Shuffle and Surrender. Nevertheless, tarnished through association, M-Beat was persona non grata within the junglist fraternity, and subsequently shunned by the scene’s top players.
Up until late 1993, the terms Hardcore and Jungle had been used interchangeably to mean one and the same, but there was a divide growing. Just as darkside Hardcore came about as a reaction to the commercial side of rave, some DJ’s felt the scene had gone too dark.
Rave is dead!! Declared Mixmag as it pictured The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett holding a gun to his head. The truth was that Rave wasn’t dead – it was just that after a summer of drug-fuelled hedonistic high spirits, the scene was suffering a collective comedown. What many saw as a reaction against the over commercialisation of the scene, rave had gone dark… very dark.
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.
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?…