Following on from my previous post, below are three more Rude FM tapes I recorded in the summer of 1997. First up is a heavy jump up selection by DJ Skills, who had a regular Sunday slot on the station. I have one other recording of his show from 1997 but so far I have not been able to find any information about him online, apart from a single mention in this Facebook post. One of my favourite tunes from this set is the amen tear-out Last Gasp by T.I.C., which still feels futuristic and wouldn’t sound out of place at Rupture today.
Next up is yet another jump-up set by Chopper D and MC Evil B (a.k.a. B Live), recorded in early August. The video below is one of my favourite moments on the tape where Evil B shows off his MCing skills.
When I tweeted the short clip above I got a reply from DJ Kryptonn, who used to buy vinyl from Chopper D at Bluebird Records in 1996:
The final tape is one of my favourite old school jungle sets that I managed to record off the radio. It was mixed by DJ Chillum, who was one of the key partners at the station and who sadly passed away at the end of last year. The selection dates back to 1993, and somehow it feels crazy that I was making these recordings only four years later and yet the music had already evolved so much during that period. I had to spend quite a bit of time on digitally restoring this tape, as it was thoroughly worn out from doing multiple rounds in my Sony Walkman.
Thanks for tuning in, and look out for more of my pirate tape uploads in the near future.
Many thanks to JJ for the track listing of the set by DJ Chillum.
01 Acen – Obsessed – Production House
02 Ellis Dee, DJ Krome & Mr Time – Drum Thunder – Production House
03 The Vice Squad – Give The Poor Man A Break – Pimp Plastic
04 Rufige Cru – Menace – Reinforced
05 The Brothers Grimm – Field Of Dreams – Production House
06 Rufige Cru – Darkrider – Reinforced
07 FBD Project – Terminate – Bang-In Tunes
08 Egyptian Empire – The Horn Track – Ffrreedom
09 Sacred – Do It Together (The Baggy’s Mix) – Not On Label – SACD001
10 Nookie – Shining In Da Darkness – Reinforced
This is the second tape I’m posting from my recovered archives. Nowadays, anyone who follows urban dance music will have heard of Rinse FM. However, newer listeners may not be aware of the station’s pirate origins prior to obtaining Ofcom’s community radio license in 2011:
Rinse FM is universally recognised as having played a key role in the emergence of grime and dubstep in the early 2000s and there are many recordings from this period of the station’s history available online. Although Rinse started out as a jungle and drum & bass station in back in 1994, there are relatively few recordings around from their pre-grime/garage days. I happened to tune in to one of their shows on one rainy Saturday afternoon in November 1997 and hit the record button. Note the regular shouts-outs going out to Wiley.
In the years between 1995 and 1999 I recorded a number of tapes of London’s pirate radio stations. Pirate radio was my gateway into the world of jungle music, as I was just shy of the minimum age limit to be (legally) admitted into raves. I remember countless nights when I would be sitting by my table-top FM radio and listening to the likes of Kool FM, Eruption, Rude FM and Don FM. Whenever I would hear something that I would really like, I’d throw in a blank audio cassette and start recording, although I had to make a careful decision each time as good quality tapes were not cheap!
Those years marked the evolution of jungle into drum & bass, and every few months a slightly different yet distinct sub-genere would emerge that is still possible to date with accuracy today. It was an exciting time to be listening to the pirates, as well as to legal stations like Kiss FM and the iconic One In The Jungle show on BBC Radio One. I was pleased with my growing tape collection and felt like I was documenting an important part of the UK’s music history. I also had quite a few pre-1995 tapes, which were copied for me by a friend to help me catch up on what I had missed out on in the early jungle days.
What happened next was heartbreaking: while I was away from home, a flooding accident damaged a lot of our possessions, and it appeared that all of my tapes had perished alongside. That’s what I carried on thinking for about 20 years and until last week, when we discovered that many of these tapes were in fact preserved and had been quietly sitting in a cardboard box in my brother’s garage ever since!
The tapes seem to have survived huge temperature and humidity variations, which simply amazes me. I’ll be gradually digitising and uploading them in the next few months. Rediscovering these tapes feels like entering a time capsule and brings up a mixture of emotions ranging from wistful nostalgia to happiness and gratitude. Below is a July 1997 recording of Life FM, a somewhat short-lived pirate station of which I couldn’t find any other recordings online.