In honor of Black History Month, this February we take a look at some of electronic music’s most legendary producers and DJs through a series of documentaries, interviews, and tracks that laid the foundation for today’s dance-music culture. Today we present the five best documentaries ever made on jungle and drum & bass, featuring the likes of Roni Size, DJ Krust, Goldie, and LTJ Bukem, whose Goodlooking Records catalog we recently secured at Beatport. Check ’em out and let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite.
5. When Saturn Returnz
One of jungle and D&B’s biggest stars, Goldie (aka Londoner Clifford Price) managed to cross those sounds over to the mainstream (or at least the European mainstream) with equal parts style and bombast. Prior to his turns in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, he starred in this 1998 documentary, When Saturn Returnz.
4. The Works: Roni Size
When Roni Size and Reprazent won the 1997 Mercury Prize for Album of the Year with New Forms, likely the most abstract album to ever win the award at the time, change was clearly afoot in the UK music scene. This two-parter charts their early career trajectory and the arrival of drum & bass into the mainstream.
3. A London Somet’ing
There’s no debating that jungle found its roots solely in London, and this incredible piece takes a look at that early convergence of high-BPM breakbeats, reggae-style chat, and deep basslines with folks like Rebel MC and Ragga Twins.
2. Jungle Fever
Ever the documentarians of musical subcultures, the BBC explored jungle’s black roots—and its early racial controversy—in Jungle Fever, via interviews with MC Lenny, Fabio, and LTJ Bukem, and Kickin Records’ Peter Harris. (In three parts.)
1. Modern Times: LTJ Bukem
A figure as central to jungle and drum & bass as LTJ Bukem most certainly deserves his own documentary, which he gets here. But funny enough, Bukem’s manager, Tony, who features heavily throughout, is maybe just as deserving of coverage for his tenacious, larger-than-life personality. (In two parts.)