For a brief, wonderful period in the late '90s, the Jungle Sky label released a series of exquisite compilations and artist albums featuring the brightest lights in what was then an exploding American jungle and drum'n'bass scene. Then, like so many great indie labels, Jungle Sky went under around the turn of the century and DJ Soul Slinger
, the label's owner and flagship artist, went off to focus on his Ecosystem music festival and other business interests. Now the BHP label has compiled some of the best tracks from DJ Soul Slinger
's back catalog, creating a welcome if rather bittersweet program of classic American drum'n'bass that will be welcomed by fans and newcomers alike, while sadly reminding listeners what was lost with the demise of Jungle Sky. The album's sole misstep is the banal "Wild Chipitoulas (When Jungle Had a Soul)" (a song that suffers not only from dumb lyrics but also from an inexplicably muffled sound); everything else is pretty much solid aces. The blistering breakbeats and complex layered samples of "Juriti"; the Portuguese speed-rap of "Acelerar"; the dancehall-meets-contrapuntal flute freakout of "Wings"; the Flip Wilson
intro to "Ethiopia"; and, of course, the hilarious deconstruction of the B-52's
' "Rock Lobster" are all sheer genius. Maybe the rockish "Zulu Transform" gets a bit tedious by the end of its nearly seven-minute length. But it's not enough to bring down the album's consistently fun and exciting vibe. Highly recommended.