Boomkat Product Review:
Titans of UK rave culture, Fabio & Grooverider look back on ’30 Years of Rage’, their seminal London club night, with the four volumes charting the ultra-classic and hard-to-find foundations of hardcore, jungle and D&B - the UK’s greatest gift to the world of the past generation.
It’s impossible to overstate the influence of Fabio & Grooverider on UK music and rave culture since they began DJing in the late ‘80s acid house phase. For a generation of UK yoof they are practically household names, and we very fondly remember tuning in to their (now defunct) BBC Radio 1 show to catch D&B before we could legally get into clubs. It’s also probably fair to say they’ve done more for race and cultural relations in the UK than any politician ever has, with their earliest, unprecedented fusions of Belgian techno with UK fast rap, Yorkshire bleep, US house, Caribbean soundsystem culture and London rare groove hustle laying a template that frankly revolutionised dancefloors across the country, bringing people together in the same space who were, to a much greater extent than today, largely, mutually exclusive. We could bang on about their importance all day, but suffice it to say they are the OG’s of UK rave.
As the label explain, their RAGE night was arguably the ground zero for Jungle. "The party was started at London's cavernous Heaven club by Fabio & Grooverider in 1988, at the height of Acid House fever that was making it's way up and down the motorways, slip-roads, fields and warehouses of the M25 and further beyond every weekend, troubling the nation, the police, your parents and the press as it went. RAGE was a different beast, it certainly channelled some of that Acid energy but pitted it against the new and exciting sounds emanating from Belgium, Amsterdam, Detroit, Sheffield, Essex and Hackney and in turn created a new style, a new sonic attitude and energy in the process. Rumbling bass-lines, narcotic synth rushes and roughly chopped and sped-up breakbeats all merged into a style that we now know as Jungle."
This first volume is a tour de force of early rave pressure, charting a course from Leftfield’s deep 1990 bass massage ‘Not Forgotten’ thru Lennie De Ice’s all-time jungle cornerstone ‘We Are IE’, the London mash-up styles of ‘Dubplate’ by Wots My Code, Foul Play’s artful jungle masterpiece ‘Being With You’, and the bawl fwd hardcore of ‘The Future’ by Noise Factory, saving Fallout’s lip-smacking classic ‘The Morning After (Sunrise Mix)’ for dessert.
On volume 2 of 4, ravers are spoilt for choice with a selection running from Derrick May’s metallic Detroit funk in ‘Emanon’ to Q Project’s jungle foundation ‘Champion Sound’, taking in Richie Hawtin’s hoover techno classique ‘Technarchy’ as Cybersonik, Ecstasy Club’s acid house anphem ‘Jesus Loves The Acid’, Nightmares On Wax’s Yorkshire bleep ’n bass staple in ‘Aftermath’, and the deadly feminine pressure of ‘Just 4 U London (Kuff Mix)’ by Bodysnatch.
Part 3 starts with Landlord’s foundational anthem ’I Like It (Blow Out Dub)’ - responsible for the heavily-sampled “Landlord” riff - is locked and loaded next to the eccie-triggering Detroit classic ‘Straight Outta Hell (Hellhound Mix)’ by Tronikhouse, and the ruddy swagger of 33 1/3 Queen’s bugged-out killer ‘Searchin’’, which Fabio & Grooverider call “One of the best tunes of the ‘90s. Superb”
We head to a deeper flex with the tucked hustle of Richie Rich’s spooked ‘Salsa House’ and the crispy, breaks-driven rave soul of Debbie Malone’s ‘Rescue Me (Club Mix)’, before rounding off with Neon’s Belgian rave staple ‘Don’t Mess With This Beat (Instrumental Mix)’, which would come to serve ‘core elements to 2 Bad Mice, while FSOL’s ‘Papua New Guinea’ surely brings a tear to the eye.
There’s some outright all-time classics on the knockout one-two of Brainkillers’ deeeep jungle bullet ‘Screwface’ and an early appearance from Basement Jaxx’s Simon Ratcliffe as Tic Tac Toe with ‘Ephemerol’, while the final side leaves us a mess with Ability II’s seminal ‘Pressure Dub’ into the pie-eyed innocence of ‘Don’t Go’ by Awesome 3. Factor in the Detroit galvanic of the Mayday mix for De-Lite’s ‘Wild Times’, and the bolshy brass of ‘Living In Darkness’ by Top Buzz and you have a definitive taste of an unprecedented time and place in UK culture. To use an old Manc term, it’s the fucking lick.
Salute Fabio & Grooverider each and every.