Wednesday, March 1, 2000

U.S. Jungle Queen's Odes to NFL Franchise Cities

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2000 at 12:00 AM

The American take on jungle has always had trouble distinguishing itself from its English roots. U.S. DJs and producers either pay too much homage to their U.K. brethren (i.e. Dieselboy) or try to pass off the skittish beats as some kind of next-school hip hop (i.e. Ming & FS). Jordana – the artist formerly known as 1.8.7 – has, ironically, made the most American jungle album to date by giving the reigning U.K. sounds a city-by-city interpolation here. Trying her damnedest not to sound too unnaturally wrangling – like, say, the Zeppelin-ish clump-beat of "Chicago" (borrowed from current U.K. faves Bad Company) or the wriggling Sabbath "Sweetleaf" bass that drives "New York" – Jordana shows her range, geographically and emotionally. While "New York" is a chant-along good-time tune owing to that city’s "it’s-all-good" party scene, "Miami" seethes with a sort of trouble-in-paradise paranoia with its skittering "Amen" breakbeat after a breezy introduction, which makes it perhaps the most American track here. Still, anybody looking for a thoroughly Americanized effort will have to find it in the almost schizophrenic command of jungle’s queasy basses, hyper-speed funk drums and breakdowns. But just as (English major alert!) Melville turned a hodge-podge of European literary styles into Moby Dick, so too has Jordana pieced together Euro-styles to come up with an American amalgam as contradictory as it is scatteredly great.

Well, I’ll be Ishmael.

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