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rollo jackson - Tape Crackers: An Oral History of Jungle Pirate Radio
*'Tape Crackers' is a vital documentary focussed on one guy, Michael Finch, and his amazing tape collection of pirate radio recordings made in the mid-late '90s. The premise is basic: place Michael and some of his most prized c90s in front of the camera and let the man talk. The result: a punters'-ear recollection of an amazing period in UK music culture, charting the shifts between Happy Hardcore/Jungle/D&B/Garage, or what has contentiously become known as the 'Hardcore Continuum' thanks to Simon Reynolds. Michael is a passionate and thoroughly endearing orator, spilling profuse knowledge on MCs, the variety and breadth of the junglist FM bandwidth, the raves, the clothes, and most importantly, the vibe. Although this era only occurred little over 15 years ago, the fact that it was all pre-internet (or at least widescale internet use) gives some sharp contrast to today's fingertip cultural reach and some context that many older heads will relate to, while youngers are recommended to watch for educational purposes. Although the period covered falls a little bit later than the golden era - 1990-1993 - the anecdotes and Finch's compelling delivery basically render that almost irrelevant . You can just see memories wash over him with each tape he puts on, and you're reminded of the absolute frustration and euphoria of hearing a track on pirate radio that you would never ever get to find out anything about, or know who it was by, or ever get to hear again - save for the worn out cassette copy you just made. Apart from all the anecdotes and recollections - including a really nice overview of London's Junglist pirate radio scene of the mid 90's (even touching on the birth of Rinse), what you really get from Tape Crackers is a snapshot of a bygone era and one man's obsession with it - and it just makes for utterly compelling viewing. Don't miss.