One of Manchester’s leading Drum & Bass and Jungle promoters Formless are back at Rebellion for one last rinse out before they move venues, and they have a frankly ridiculous cast joining them for the ride.
The burgeoning promoters have been in operation since 2015, bringing a much-needed focus on Drum & Bass and Jungle to the city. In just over four years of existence the brand have already thrown some seriously weighty parties, with the likes of DJ Storm, Double O, and Mantra all being invited to Rebellion for a rinse out. Despite having quite a healthy scene, and an abundance of legendary figures residing in the city, Manchester isn’t always the best place to find a properly authentic Drum & Bass or Jungle rave. So Formless’ position gains even more importance, and with line-ups like their summer party coming on the 20th of July they are doing it more than justice.
It is absolutely steeped in Jungle and Drum & Bass royalty, a billing that is testimony to these artists’ incredible longevity, as each one began their careers in the early 90s. You can tell that Formless know exactly what they’re doing here, because this is a selection of producers that is massively appealing to the heads – a proper history lesson into two genres that genuinely changed the face of the UK underground dance scene. Many ravers in the current day won’t have much of a clue when it comes to the music’s often unsung past, so nights like this are incredibly important to keep that legacy going. Big props to Formless, line-ups like this don’t come around all the time these days, so let’s get into it shall we?
Headlining is an artist who has been around since pretty much the very start of Jungle, and was plying his trade even before. J-Majik has been one of the cornerstones of the scene since he began making music. A crucial part of the now legendary Metalheadz label, as well as being a resident at the formative Blue Note Sunday Sessions, the man has an incredibly rich history in the genre, one that can rarely be topped these days. Born James Spratling, J-Majik also runs his own label Infrared Records, however this has been laying mostly dormant for the majority of the 2000s. Indeed, the artist himself has been lying relatively low for the past two decades, treating us to his first album since 1997 in May of this year. It is a prime return to form, with tracks such as “Red Moon” perfectly summarising the unbeatable atmosphere of 90s Jungle and Drum & Bass. A truly special headliner, that’s for sure.
Up next are the critically acclaimed duo Total Sceince, performing a very special “Alliance 93-94 Set” that will feature music from the golden period of Jungle and Drum & Bass. Like J-Majik, these guys properly know their stuff, having been part of the original movement back in the early 90s. They first met in 1987, bonding over a mutual love of Hip-Hop, but it really wasn’t long until they were drawn to the sounds of Hardcore, a genre that soon developed into Jungle. One of their first properly received releases was the “Method / Rotation” single in 1996, and it wasn’t long before they had earnt themselves a release on Goldie’s iconic Metalheadz imprint. The duo also established the C.I.A record label around the same time, further helping the flourishing Drum & Bass scene reach evermore-exciting heights.
Elsewhere on this bill, that is increasingly looking to be one of the best history lessons one could have in the genres of Jungle and Drum & Bass, is Dead Man’s Chest. The DJ is not quite in the same age bracket as J-Majik and Total Science, however grew up in the mid-90s listening to these sounds, before making the plunge into production around the turn of the century. It didn’t take long for him to release records under the alias Eveson, finding himself a friendly home on the influential V Recordings label. After the release of his album in 2012, however, he began to crave a new direction, and that is where his original love of rave era tapes persuaded him to follow what he grew up with – Dead Man’s Chest was born as a result. You can really hear the enthusiasm in these productions, and especially his knack at catching the old-school vibe with updated production technology; not the easiest thing to do at all. Take one listen to “Acid Inna Dancehall” and you’ll know exactly what we mean.
Rounding off this line-up, hosted by Blackeye MC, are Response, Mecca, and Pheme, ensuring that the vibes stay on-point throughout the whole night. You would genuinely do well to find an event that marries the old and new schools of Jungle and Drum & Bass so effectively in Manchester. And at only £10 a ticket it is an absolute bargain, don’t miss out!
By Marko Marincic
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