Various Rumble In The Jungle

This definitive compilation profiles the revolutionary sound of early jungle, circa the dawn of the ’90s. I don't use the term "revolutionary” lightly. This was a multiracial dance music born from technology (sampled loops began in earnest by the mid-’80s), not a live band interaction. It originated in England, not the Americas like most popular dance rhythms of the 20th century. Jungle was, in this ragga form, a logical offshoot of both dancehall and rave culture, as the excellent liner notes detail. There are dark elements to this music but nothing as comically bleak as would develop later in the decade. Most of all, there is an unstoppable energy and emphasis on polyrhythms, which made it utterly unlike most dance music since the ’70s. This music remains exciting, each track more anthemic than the last. The X Factor remix of Barrington Levy’s "Under Mi Sensi” and the rave-y keys of the chartbusting "Incredible” by M-Beat and General Levy are pinnacles in late night enjoyment, bad boy style. Best of all, the mastering sounds better than it was back in the day — the Ragga Twins tracks sure sound better. The outstanding notes poignantly comment on the "rebranding” of jungle as drum & bass around ’95, where the ragga era ends, only to slowly mutate into UK garage and its successors. This is an essential document of some serious jump-up choons. (Soul Jazz)