Somewhere between to halcyon days of rave and the thick smoke of jungle, hardcore bridged the gap allowing formative characteristics to merge... Let's talk hardcore.
People who know me will already be aware that outside of Organic's remit for supporting new, forward thinking music, we are also obsessed with the history of our scene and especially the vinyl format... Much to the detriment of our bank accounts. With no outlet to express this openly I've decided that our retro interests will manifest themselves here in a semi regular feature exploring some of our favourite hardcore 12"s.
To save any confusion, it's probably important that we make a few ground rules and clarify any uncertainties. By hardcore I mean pre-jungle that shows the characteristics that led to jungle and drum & bass. I don't mean happy hardcore (although I do have a soft spot for some of it, and if you're honest so do you). I'm going to try to keeps things within the years between '91 and '93, otherwise I think we'll lose focus amongst the turbulent speed the music was changing at early on. I think that's it?
If we are talking about records that played a key role in influencing the evolution from breakbeat hardcore into jungle, then we have to acknowledge Paul Ibiza's Ibiza Records. Born out of Paul's own desire to create a UK sound we could call our own amongst the early european techno imports of the fledgling years of rave, Ibiza Records was the launch pad for the careers of Noise Factory and Potential Bad Boy via their various additional aliases.
As far as "important" records are concerned, Ibiza Records has delivered loads that could be attributed to introducing the reggae, dub and raggamuffin influences that would lend themselves to what would develop into jungle music. The tune I've decided to shout about is Urban Distress' "No Skank". An archetypal mix of raggamuffin vocals, solid breakbeats and rave stabs. Alot of Ibiza's output, especially through '91 and '92 has a very bedroom produced sound. Crunchy, sometimes rough around the edges, but always loaded with intent and genuine charm. "No Skank" feels alot more together than alot of what came before, with a structure not unlike alot of Reinforced output at the same time.
Sometimes I see what I would consider odd things written about the labels output online from people who can't really see why this label is important. To those people, first of all I would say get a grip... And then I'd continue to say that they need to look at the music in context of what else was going on at the time. This is pioneering work into combining reggae and ragga sounds with breakbeats and rave music. Jungle didn't just appear out of nowhere, it emerged out of the bedrooms of young producers combining the music they grew up to with the sounds they were hearing at the time. "No Skank" embodies this vision brilliantly and is a picture perfect snapshot of developments in 1992.