Taking the listener back to jungle's roots...
Special Request - Soul Music

It’s an answer record, in as much as it responds to Zomby’s wondering of everyone’s whereabouts two decades ago. Paul Woolford’s Special Request does jungle mania; proper bloodclart, gunshot-‘n’-rewind war in ’94, chopping up renegade snares and forging dubplate pressure made to shard tinted windows. On what is effectively a vacation for someone whose credentials lie in house and techno.

Initially sizing up jungle’s dimensions while touching base with electro to keep all bass massive sweet, Special Request dons a pristine, logoed Puffa jacket, taking you right back to hardcore’s emerging splinter group.

Jawbreaker riddims send hi-hats spin-dizzy on ‘Cold Blooded’ and elastic bottom ends play ping-pong when they’re not smashing into you from below. There’s also a slice of humour diced into the attitude, with ‘Soundboy Killer’ (below) featuring live emcee snippets unique to the scene in their faint ridiculousness.

Disc two’s remix overview is more a mishmash. The SR mix of Tessela is absolutely savage, and Lana Del Rey’s ‘Ride’ has never sounded grimier, though it redirects from disc one’s hoover-generated ‘Ride VIP’.

‘Mindwash’ is a twisting stingray moving the junglism along. However, contributions from Kassem Mosse, Anthony Shakir, Hieroglyphic Being and Woolford himself are like wandering into the arena’s token, non-hardcore backroom: quieter, and a bit stiffer.

Whether or not a rumoured jungle renaissance will reignite the enthusiasm of drum ‘n’ bass heads, it may just be old news to scene followers that have moved on, compared to hardcore’s immortality targeting soft spots – Woolford fends off critics of unoriginality by contributing to/completing bass music’s circle of life. Good tidings of Thunder and Joy.


Words: Matt Oliver

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Stream ‘Soul Music’ in full via Deezer, below…


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