17 June 2005


My latest find is this double CD called "The Best Of Desert Storm - Live Jungle", released by Desert Storm Rave Promotions in 1994 - the year that, in London at least, Jungle hit it's peak of popularity. At first I thought it might be some sort of promotional item, but then noticed that it had a barcode, so presumably it was a proper release, although I can't find any mention of it at Discogs. Can't be that rare though, cos the CDDB database recognised it when I ripped the discs in iTunes. Anyway, rarity/value isn't really the issue here, I'm more intrigued by the documentary evidence of the Jungle rave scene from a decade ago. What you have here is 34 different excerpts from live events that really give you a feel of what those heady days must've been like. I never attended a Jungle Rave nor, in those pre-internet streaming days, was I able to access any of the London pirate stations. Most of what I knew came from reading the odd piece in MM and a couple of mixtapes (and besides I was mainly into left-field techno and ambient at that time), so listening to these discs is the nearest thing I'll ever get to feeling that era. The MCs really draw you into the experience...I'm still wondering if the owner of the Escort Estate got it moved before the cops towed it. For the record, the MCs throughout were Moose, Five-O, Navigator and Det. Here's the blurb on the sleeve:

"Desert Storm Is A Jungle rave promotions company that is a subsidary to a major rave production company established since 1988. Our aim is to spread 'peace and love' over the world via music.

Jungle alongside Desert Storm has no colour, only a message; "Unity is the Key - Love Life" regardless of creed or class.

"The Best Of Desert Storm" is a live compilation of the music and atmosphere captured at our events, using the very best DJ's and MC's; featuring dub plates that cannot be heard anywhere else with the same vibes - music that is just not for sale!"

Interesting points: all that stuff about love and unity suggesting that Jungle was trying to break away from the 'surly vigilance/skrewface' mentality that had replaced the bonhomie of the original 'ardcore scene. Certainly the discernibly enthusiastic responses of the 'whistle massive' suggests that a party vibe was back on the agenda - sounds like everyone was having a thoroughly great time!

The borrowed patois, rewinds and focus on dubplate exclusives proves that Jungle was indeed borrowing heavily from Jamaican soundsystem culture, a trend that has carried through to today's dubstep scene. The riddims might've changed, but the mentality is still very much intact!

Unfortunately there is no tracklist as such. Each track is merely identified by the DJ who was spinning it. In an effort to share some of the flavours on offer, here's a track each from all the DJs featured, a couple of whom will be familiar to most and are still very active in the d'n'b community today. I think I recognise a couple of the tunes too, especially the one with the 'fire' scat (a clear ancestor of the new wave of stateside Ragga-Jungle production), but I'm not confident enough to ID them. Anyone else?

DJ Ron

DJ Randall

DJ Brockie

Darren Jay

Jumping Jack Frost

Mickey Finn


Fond memories for some? What we need now is someone with a huge collection of Jungle pirate tapes getting them digitized and online, in a similar way to the awesome work being done by this guy in relation to '80s Hip-Hop. Unless it's already being done?