At the risk of dating myself, and in particular, my involvement in the music, one of the first handful of jungle albums I bought was Jungle Sky Volume 6. This was 1999 and jungle, at least in the sounds that most of us apply to that term, was pretty far gone to the grave by then. (It maintained some semblance of a pulse throughout the drum n bass wasteland of the later 90s and early 2000s, and has since rearisen with a vengeance, but that's a topic for another discussion). This is a starting point that I'm thankful for, because while it wasn't strictly jungle in the oldskool 94/95 sense of the word, it did incorporate oldskool elements along with a heavy dose of hip-hop and funk, and coming from a predominately hip-hop background, that's one of the hooks that drew me in the most.
Now that I think of it, a friend had lent me Jungle Sky Volume 5 in 1998 to play in my dorm room, so that would've been my true introduction to the label.
I then moved back to New York in the fall of 2000 (I had been here earlier, but again, another story). Not long after, I began to frequent various vinyl shops in the area, including the last location of the infamous Liquid Sky store on St. Mark's Place. The warmth with which the workers in that store and, come to find out, the man behind the myth, treated me, is one of oustanding acts of human friendliness that I've had the good fortune to encounter. On my 2nd or 3rd visit to the store, one of the employees invited me and my girlfriend to join them as VIPs at their show that evening at the Limelight, where Soul Slinger and company, complete with a live band to accompany their dj/mc trickery, proceeded to put on one of the most memorable performances of my life.
From that point onward, I was hooked.
A month or so down the road, I picked up a tape at the store of Jungle Sky Volume 2. Upon first listen I knew this was the sound I was looking for. It resembled the one jungle CD I had that impressed me the most (DJ Hype's Drum & Bass Selection Vol 3), but had enough of an experimental tilt to it to intrigue me into considering alternate possibilities of the music.
A little over eight years later, jungle has become the foremost obsession in my life (literature, its only rival, I would qualify as my passion), and without intending conceit, I think I can reasonably say I've listened to more jungle than most junglists have in twice that time.
This remains one of my top 5 albums, and something I thought would be a great soundtrack to help usher in the new year, a year in which I plan to launch my second label and make more of my own contributions to many of the libraries of vinyl housed around the world.
I hope this also gives some insight into the development of jungle in the USA at the time it was reaching its peak across the pond.
Although, I must note here, I feel the label has as much of an international base as an American one, or an American one in the bi-continental sense of the word, not the country sense, its founder being Brazilian and its artists having varied backgrounds.
To give you a bit of history, from what I can gather Jungle Sky was formed somewhere between 1993/1994 (its parent company, Liquid Sky, having been formed a year earlier) in association with S.O.U.R., who toured the US and played a party in NYC hosted by Liquid Sky.
Its first release was in 1994,
and the majority of its most popular releases date to the years 1995/1996.
The store closed after the September 11th attacks and relocated to its homeland, Brasil.
A chapter of my life came to an end then, but the appreciation of the music continues to ripen with age.
I could say much more, but I figure I've taken up enough of your time with my ramblings already, and that you really just want the music, so with no further ado, here's a fresh 320 rip from CD.
01 The Inna Most - Now & Here
02 DJ Soul Slinger - Zulu Music
03 Time Line - Part of Life
04 Rock Stone Foundation - Dis Soun' (187 Jungle Dub)
05 Kingsize - Down In The Underground
06 DJ Soul Slinger - Africa
07 DJ Ani & Beau - Celestial Vibes
08 DJ Soul Slinger - Musical Selection (The River of Action Remix)
09 Marshall H - One Love (I Feel It)
10 DJ Odi - Anthem
11 DJ Wally - Mustard Plaster
(btw, an all Jungle Sky mix is in the works)