Rumble in the Jungle is ‘drum and bass warfare.’ The annual NZ wide DJ competition brings out solid crew versus crew action- camouflage clad drum and bass soldiers sweating it out on the battlefield-holding their post sometimes for a solid 7 hours, keeping their eyes peeled and ears pricked to what’s ahead– that being their D&B loving sergeants who are vying to be hailed king of the NZ Drum and Bass jungle. However, in this war, only one person can emerge with full victory, and by the end of the 2006 battle, that was Wellington’s Mr Smith.
To coincide with this year’s Rumble in the Jungle DJ competition, bassdrop.co.nz and Empathy Records have released the live mix album of Mr Smith.
Rumble in the Jungle judges DJs’ mixing dexterity, so none of the tracks on this album are produced by Mr Smith, instead, the focus is on his winning skills. Smith mixes a wide range of drum and bass/ jungle subgenres- making a smooth flowing compilation featuring tracks from New Zealand heavyweight producers Trei, Concord Dawn, Bulletproof and Confucius D/Mysterious D to name a few.
The album opens with Auckland’s State of Mind’s eerie ‘Moneytrain’, which flows into local DJ/ producer Trei’s ‘Lost World.’ About half way through Smith brings in two consecutive tracks from Agent Alvin/Spiky Tee; their liquid/raga ‘On the Rise’ and ‘Rubadubble’. Another standout track is Dose’s ‘Lost Inside’ with its broken beats liquid flow, and ‘Dark Angel’ by Nanotech which is my favourite on the CD, and features aggressive dark, broken beats and a sparse hip hop beat breakdown. This is followed by ‘Tears of a Killer’ by Fanu, its subdued bass line complete with tripped out atmospheric sound effects brought on a flashback of sorts. This track is exactly the kind of music that comes on at the sun-up pre-comedown time of D&B parties, when it’s time to make that crucial decision- it’s either dirty stumble home time or dig them feet in, pull the hoodie tight and keep dancing.
Worth checking out if D&B warfare is your style, and it would work as a sweet pre-party soundtrack to the upcoming Rumble in the Jungle final which will be held at Wellington’s San Fran Bathhouse on October 17.