Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Phuture Soundz

Phuture Assassins - Future Sound (2 Bad Mice Remix)

It’s always exciting to hear music at the point of transition and to be able to pinpoint the exact moment when a genre transforms itself into something fresh, exciting and new. In 1992, breakbeat and hardcore music began evolving into jungle, which in turn mutated into drum‘n’bass, and one of the labels at the forefront of this evolution was Romford’s Suburban Base. The label itself grew from the Boogie Times record shop, opened in 1989 by 18-year-old dance music obsessive Dan Donnelly. Suburban Base released its first 12” in April 1991, Kromozone’s ‘The Rush’, and had its first Top 40 hit with Sonz Of A Loop Da Loop Era’s timeless rave classic ‘Far Out’ the following year. The label would go on to have twelve Top 75 records, including the novelty smash ‘Sesame’s Treet’ by Smart E’s which reached # 2 during the height of rave mania – a staggering success for a label still being run by one person from a room above a record shop.

When you listen to the 2 Bad Mice remix of Phuture Assassin’s ‘Future Sound’ you are listening to a prototype jungle track. While incorporating many key elements of hardcore rave music of the time, the breakbeats are starting to be mangled into what would become the irregular drum patterns of jungle. It also features reggae influences, with heavy dub basslines and ragga vocal samples. The music is abrasive and aggressive, lacking the cartoony vibe prevalent in a lot of the hardcore rave music of the time, and this darker style would become a prerequisite of the majority of jungle music. I can remember my friend recording his DJ set from a rave on a traveller’s site in Dorset, just at the time jungle was properly breaking. He played an entire set of hardcore rave and jungle, mixed up with reggae, dub and ragga and ‘Future Sound (2 Bad Mice Remix)’ formed the backbone of that set. Every time it drops in, you can hear the ecstatic whoops and whistles of the ravers. This is a pioneering track - a stone cold classic TUNE, with a musical history lesson attached.

Suburban Base discography
Information archive for Suburban Base here, featuring audio samples and a picture gallery
Search eBay for Suburban Base catalogue