I have absolutely no opinion on 2004 Drum'n'Bass whatsoever. Why? 'Cause I haven't heard any. My interest in the genre peaked around '95-'96 when the whole Goldie/Photek/Dillinja axis was in full effect. It was that point where sophistication was still tempered by some tasty rave noise and the beats were still rinsing as opposed to just rollin'. The Roni Size era pretty much killed it for me (using real drummers and double bass players? - fuck off and Die!) and I haven't been back since.
I dunno if it's because people like Luke Vibert and the Planet Mu label have ignited my enthusiasm by excavating and reimagining the old Junglist stuff, but I find myself in total agreement with Drip Drap Drop's comments about a "great fondness for jungle" . I'm listening to this sort of shit now more than I ever did during it's heyday and, to coincide with my 'Cassette Pets' nostalgia trip, I was extremely pleased to find this little beauty lying at the bottom of a pile of my tapes recently:
It's a double cassette tracing the development of two of Hardcore Jungle's most central labels, Suburban Base and Moving Shadow, from 1991-95. I hadn't played it for years and, if I'm honest, there was a time when I probably would've scoffed at it. But playing it today is just a total fucking rush. Selected and mixed by DJ Kenny Ken and sequenced in a fairly chronological order, it really shows the development of the scene, featuring all the major playaz like Q Bass, Hyper On Experience, DJ Hype, Omni Trio, Foul Play and Remarc. Side 1 is mainly still anchored to the 4/4 House kick drum with ghost-traces of Happy Hardcore's E-rush oscillator riffs, side 2 is where the BPM's start getting excessive with the helium diva samples and the breaks start to fragment, side 3 is where the breaks start to really fragment and the sounds get sparser and more raggafied and side 4 is total Amen madness. How the hell anyone (me included) thought 'intelligent d'n'b' was progress after this shit is beyond understanding. Total genius - Reynolds was right all along!