Anyone else miss the days when drum 'n' bass was called jungle?
Hotly tipped UK-based producer/DJ Breakage clearly does, and from the looks of it, so did most of the heads sweating their asses off Saturday night at the El Mocambo .
The event was cheekily named The Party Of The Summer, and while it may not have lived up to that billing, it was a fun, no-frills and down-to-earth night of clattering drums and booming sub-bass.
Breakage looks barely old enough to have experienced the golden era of jungle he references, which might explain why his tracks don't sound that out of place 10 years after the sound supposedly matured into drum 'n' bass. He might still be chopping up that same Amen break and scavenging vintage reggae for samples, but somehow it doesn't come across as retro.
Speaking of reggae, he surprised many in the room partway through his set by playing a bunch of vintage roots reggae and dub tunes. Regardless of jungle's roots in reggae, that's still a gutsy thing to try at the peak time of a D'n'B party. Thankfully, the crowd was into it, and when he brought the pace back up the energy was still there.
Does this mean a return to ragga jungle is coming? The success of many of Breakage's singles implies there's still a hunger for the rawness of that era, but a genre like drum 'n' bass should always be looking to the future as well.
Something had to replace the tedium of that sequenced minimalist 2-step beat that's dominated since the mid-90s, but it would be nice to hear someone using the traditional slice-and-dice technique on some less obvious drum loops.
Originally, Detroit's Mike "Agent X" Clark was slated to play at Nasa last Friday, but since the club went belly up the week before, the promoters came up with a last-minute substitute - the back room of Funhaus . The room has its own entrance, so they were able to use it as a separate venue from the alternative rock party in the main room.
Clark has had a long history in the Detroit scene and is respected among those in the know. Having said that, underground respect won't necessarily get the partiers out, so it was a small crowd of scenesters and DJs who made it. For this event, Clark concentrated on the early days of the underground, before house or techno were words. In other words, lots of weird Italian and German synth disco, new wave 12-inch singles and spacey disco.
This sound is somewhat fashionable right now, and most of the handful of people were glued to the dance floor until the lights came on.
ESG deserves second chance
The all-girl family band ESG accidentally played a huge role in the development of post-punk, hiphop and house, but until Friday night at Lee's Palace they'd never played Toronto in the 20-something years they've been a band.
You'd think that would have been enough to pack the Pride edition of Will Munro's monthly Vazaleen party to capacity, but instead it was just somewhat busy - full enough to feel like a party, but not the craziness that was anticipated. This may have come down to a few issues: the straight music nerds might have been wary of going to see the band at a queer party, and the queer-rock faithful are likely less familiar with this group's work and significance.
Regardless, the atmosphere in the room while they were onstage was electric, and the five women absolutely owned that room. Let's hope this isn't the last time they'll make it up here.
Film still rolling
The reports of Film Lounge 's demise last week were apparently greatly exaggerated. It's still unclear what started the rumour, and why it took so long for the club to correct the misconception, but it's officially still going (and still quite busy, according to several sources).