Though most people have difficulty drawing the distinction between contemporary Jungle and Drum and Bass, Old School Jungle is without question one of the defining genres of British dance music.
Hot off the refinement of style and genre in the 1980s, Old School Jungle was a vital and exciting time in British rave culture as the freedom to experiment and evolve was stronger than ever.
These are 10 of the best Old School tracks that would go on to shape both the culture know as Jungle.
The Best Of Old School Jungle
1. OMNI TRIO – ‘RENEGADE SNARES’ – (MOVING SHADOW, 1993)
As one of the first acts for the widely influential early EDM label Moving Shadow, Omni Trio, or Robert Haigh, showed that Jungle could have layers with a lush, ambient sound noted for nuance and breadth.
Renegade Snares would also go one to be one of the most popular tracks on his first released LP, The Deepest Cut Vol 1.
2. SUBNATION – ‘SCOTTIE’ – (1992 )(FUTURE VINYL, 1993)
An early track that had a huge impact on the genre’s development, Subnation’s Scottie came to define the use of heavily chopped Amen Breaks in numerous and layered manners.
While not the first to do so, the track’s relative popularity put the technique on full display which would become a veritable standard soon after.
3. Wots My Code – Dubplate (Original mix)
This track is definitely not on here because the act was so prolific or influential but because it was arguably one of the most popular tracks to mix in the early days of British Jungle and would be used in a variety of early careers for a ludicrous amount of the most popular and successful British Jungle musicians thereafter.
4. Metalheads – Terminator (1992)
While certainly not the “technical” start, Metalhead’s Terminator could arguably be called its “spiritual origin” due to the inclusion of Rob Playford who would also go on to start the Moving Shadow record label and ultimately define a huge chunk of the early and mid-90s British Jungle scene.
5. Photek – Rings Around Saturn (1995)
Photek or Rupert Parkes is arguably the most successful and experimental of the early British Junglists with a pan-generic style that eschewed theoretical boundaries.
Even in his early work, the amalgamation of different styles showed other artists exactly how far the genre could be pushed and led to the creation of numerous subgenres as well.
6. UK Apachi & Shy FX – Original Nuttah
More than any other early British Jungle act, UK Apachi & Shy FX came to define what Ragga Jungle would become with a number of techniques which eventually became mainstays of the subgenre.
While not the first track released, Original Nuttah was one of the most popular early Ragga Jungle hits.
7. Roni Size – It’s Jazzy
Technically one of the later artists for the “Old School” Jungle Era, Roni Size took Jungle and showed what you can do when you treat it as a “band” genre–though Roni Size has since broadened the scope of his music produced that, while his Old School credentials are well established, they are debatably canon beyond prestige association.
8. DJ Zinc – On Fire Tonight
DJ Zinc, or Benjamin Pettit, is another British Junglist who is responsible for pushing the genre and helping develop new genres altogether–especially Hardstep.
The inclusion of traditional hip-hop elements also marks DJ Zinc’s music and his use of those techniques would further influence the evolution of British EDM in general.
9. T.Power – Horny Mutant Jazz
Another late-comer to the “Old School” Jungle Era, T Power, or Marc Royal, is definitely noted for his heavy Jungle influences, but his music–and this track in particular–showed more how he would influence both the short-lived Big Beat explosion of the late-90s as well as the more enduring rise of Drum and Bass.
10. Ganja Crew – Tiger Style
What could eventually be seen as something of a “Super Group” for late Old School Jungle, The Ganja Kru is composed of DJ Hype, DJ Zinc, and Pascal.
As opposed to many of their individual projects, the Ganja Kru made Jungle with a designed broader appeal, especially in clubs, signaling yet another trend–for better or worse–which would come to dominate the scene.