VARIOUS ARTISTS Artcore (React)
Subtitled "Ambient jungle", this compilation seems to be on an unofficial mission to reclaim jungle (or mad breakbeat music, as we used to call it when I were a lad) back from ten-year-olds in oversize trousers up and down the land, and it might be worth quoting the sleevenotes on the subject: "appreciate Artcore on a variety of levels - relax to the spacious, abstract, ambient, surround sounds and allow them to drift through your subconscious. At the same time focus on the jungle rhythms in the forefront for direct, immediate, stimulation". Which, apart from making it sound like the aural equivalent of those infuriating (i.e. I cant do them) 3D stereoscopic pictures, is fine as a theory. But in practise "Artcore" sounds, well, too smooth; its dinner party music for techno DJs, breakbeats aplenty, but the whole just slides along for an hour in an ambient haze, despite contributions from notables in the field such as Soundman & Don Lloydie Feat. Elizabeth Troy, whose "Greater Love" appears to be on every jungle compilation ever released ever, the Monty Python-sampling Link (a.k.a. Reload, E621, Global Communication and doubtless millions of other aliases) and DJ Crystl, recently signed to London and destined to be the first to take this kind of thing to the masses, hopefully more in the vein of his fantastic "Let It Roll" - everything thats great about jungle in four minutes - than the soporific "Sweet Dreams", included here. "Artcore" isnt the best place to jump onto this particular bandwagon (that accolade probably goes to the recent "Routes From The Jungle" compilation, criminally unavailable on vinyl), but as proof that the genre amounts to more than shouty blokes on childrens television it has value enough.