Brian Whittle / View of Westminster and Central London from Canonbie Rd / CC BY-SA 2.0. The image has been digitally altered to show what this view looked like in 1997.

This post was delayed due to my tape player developing a major technical fault, which took quite some time to resolve. Now that I’m back in action, I decided that I should upload two Rude FM tapes I made in July 1997.

First, a few words about the recording location. I made these tapes while living near one of the most elevated spots in South-East London, which provided for fantastic pirate radio reception, and by walking several hundred metres I was able to get stunning views of the London skyline (see the images above and below). Coincidentally, Reprezent 107.3 – one of London’s most popular community-licensed stations – currently have their FM transmitter just a few streets away.

Rude FM is a legendary pirate that belongs in the same hall of fame as Kool FM and the Weekend Rush. Founded in 1992, the station was a constant presence on the FM dial, playing hardcore, jungle and drum & bass, and in fact has only recently left the airwaves. Brian Belle-Fortune’s excellent book on the history of jungle, All Crews, has an entire chapter dedicated to the station and its origins. Amongst the key characters affiliated with Rude FM the author mentions DJ Psychic, who held down a regular Sunday slot between 2 and 4pm, playing mellow drum & bass (which was also dubbed “intelligent” at the time). Surprisingly, very few recordings of his shows are available online, so this first upload is an exclusive!

Looking south from Canonbie Road. Original photo © 1997.

Amongst the interesting things mentioned by Psychic during the show are that he was interviewed on a Channel 5 programme featuring Rude FM (I have searched for it but so far can’t find any traces online), and that sending shouts to mobile phones via text messages was a novelty in 1997. The adverts feature Rhythm Section, the record shop that was affiliated with the station, and the Youth Awareness Programme, which provided verified information about drugs confidentially over the phone.

The next tape is on the darker side of drum & bass. The selection is emblematic of the corresponding period in 1997: still maintaining a healthy balance between tech-stepping beats and amen breaks. Side A features a set by Dylan while Side B has an excellent mix by a DJ whose voice is very familiar to me but whose handle I have unfortunately forgotten! There are a few lesser-known tunes on this side, such as Reminiscence by Mace, as well as one of my personal favourites, Warriors, at the very start.

Thanks for tuning in, and look out for more of my Rude FM uploads in the near future.

Update

Many thanks to DJextreme for the track listing of Dylan’s set.

01 Technical Itch – Conscious – Moving Shadow – Blueprint LP
02 Peshay – Phobia – Unreleased
03 Dom & Roland – Aliens – DRP
04 Optical – High Tek Dreams – Prototype
05 Swift – Analogue – Suburban Base
06 Danny Breaks & Dylan – Molecules (Dubplate Version) – Unreleased
07 Dom & Roland – Thunder – Moving Shadow – Industry LP
08 Dom – Drones – Moving Shadow
09 Dylan – Code Breaker – Droppin Science
10 Optical – Shape the Future (Remix) – Metalheadz
11 Dom & Optical – Quadrant Six (Fierce Remix) – Audio Couture
12 Future Forces – Synthesis – Unreleased

5 thoughts on “Pirate Tapes: Listening to Rude FM in the summer of 1997

  1. Joe - DJ Psychic says:

    Love this! You’re right, unfortunately most of these mixes are on tape (I’ve got a few stashed away!). Thank you for uploading.

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