North Carolina-born, Berlin-based Travis Stewart’s musical output over the last decade averages out as an album a year, and that’s just the releases under his Machinedrum name. There’s also his early Syndrone alias (another two albums) and the couple of 12“s he’s released as one half of Sepalcure, the Hotflush Recordings signed duo. The latest addition to this formidable collection is ‘Room(s)’, his new album out on Planet Mu at the end of this month. It trips, whirls and blurs through electronic music’s archives, cartwheeling through jungle, rave and drum & bass, coating the lot in a silky energy that slips down and round in a seductive daze. Curious about his taste, we asked him to tell us about his favourite jungle tracks.
Shy FX Original Gangsta
This is based on a true story, real to the streets. Apparently the intro is Shy FX and his cousin. The “Pussyhole, COME HERE” part cracks me up every time.
X Project Jah Set It
This one goes many places. The chords at the start grab you, then you go for a journey through Rasta screams and random R&B samples.
Return of Macka Brown Dub Heaven
This is tends to be one of the first jungle tracks I will drop in a set. Angry, rude but deep and dubby, constantly moving. Jungle at first, for a while, was divided mainly into either samples of reggae artists or soul music. At the end of the day, jungle originated as music for British African culture which is a big reason it exploded.
Origination Shine On ’94
Photek was one of the first jungle producers I really started to follow heavily. I found out about Origination, an earlier side project of his, after first discovering him. This is a ’94 remix of a tune that came out in ’92. I prefer this one to the original honestly, the structure builds so nicely. It never gets old.
DJ Red Alert & Mike Slammer Ganja Man
Ganja Man is a perfect blend of hardcore rave vibes and ragga style jungle. This one goes many places, my particular favorite part is the first piano drop that comes out of nowhere. Chilly. Big up the spliff.
The House Crew Euphoria (Nino’s Dream)
This track is also a good example of what I love about hardcore rave and jungle fused together. The low rumble bass and cut up breaks with ecstasy chords and diva vocals are a perfect combo. The vox that drop at 1:04 fill me with joy. Thanks to Jacques Greene for pointing me to this one.
Squarepusher Vic Acid
Ok, this one is kinda cheating, but it has so many qualities that remind me of classic jungle that make this one essential in the most face-melting part of your jungle set. When I first heard Squarepusher I couldn’t even listen to jungle anymore without it being insanely programmed to Tom’s standards.
µ-ziq Brace Yourself Jason
‘Lunatic Harness’ changed the way I thought about jungle as well. Mike P has always had a jungle-meets-hip-hop flare to his tunes that I loved. The songs on that record hit you hard and softened the blow with beautiful melodic moments of bliss.
Goldie Inner City Life
Don’t hate me for this, but honestly it’s one of the first Goldie tunes I ever really connected with, and also one of the very few cool crossover successes for jungle IMHO. A nice Detroity, sexy, jazzy addition to all the angry jungle that was out at the time.
Plug Drum ‘n’ Bass For Papa
Luke Vibert’s jungle moniker from the 90s. I originally picked this one up used on 2xCD that was scratched with no artwork at a Selecter Records in Hickory, North Carolina. I had just bought a dual bandpass sub woofer for my ’84 Mercedes Turbo Diesel and would blast this in the parking lot at high school.