16 December 2010

Radio Ponsonby Record Review: Walter Gibbons 'Jungle Music'

History is a funny thing.

Important periods of history are often condensed into bulletpoints or a handful of names designed to invoke an accepted wisdom.

A good example would be New York dance music legends like Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan & David Mancuso, whose names invoke images of decadent mid-‘70s parties with heaving crowds of largely black gay men dancing with abandon to early disco & proto-house anthems.

However, the DJ those famous names above (& more) flocked to watch when they’d finished their own sets each night was a slightly built white guy by the name of Walter Gibbons.

One of the most important & yet unheralded DJs & remixers in dance music history, Gibbons was a pioneer of both reel to reel edits & the remix, while also inadvertantly acting as a tangible link between early hip hop & disco – he was extending the “break” of a record by playing two copies back-to-back seamlessly at a similar time Kool Herc began his famed block parties across town in the Bronx.

Jungle Music is an archive collection of essential & unreleased edits & remixes assembled from 1976-1986, a period which spans the release of the first ever 12” single – Gibbons’ remix of Double Exposure’s ‘10 Percent’ – to his “discovering” God & stepping back entirely from the groundbreaking, heavily percussive & often deeply trippy remixes which are found here.

These excitingly raw & uninhibited tracks - many of which push the 10min mark - may not be to everyone’s slick, modern dance music tastes, but as an historical document ‘Jungle Music’ is nothing short of essential.

Radio Ponsonby Record Review with 90 every Wenerei around 8.30am on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show. Tune in! 107.7FM

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