Switched On – Back To Mine: Jungle (DMC)

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

The rejuvenated Back To Mine series – now into its third decade – moves on to Jungle. Two albums down, the figureheads of the seven-strong group, Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland, have put together a collection of the music making them tick behind the scenes. As with a good number in the series so far, that means selections from the tour bus, the after party and almost certainly the morning after. It provides an insight to fans from behind the scenes on what makes them tick, and illustrates their policy of going for music they like, whatever the genre.

What’s the music like?

Predictably varied. After a nice bit of hot weather soul from Barbara Moore, it’s not long before the temp rises with No Fear, a lovely bit of affirmative Afro-funk from Jungle’s own producer Inflo, and the funk-fuelled disco house of Merle’s Fannie Likes 2 Dance. Having switched tack with four to the floor we go deeper with newer house from Manuel Darquart’s Birds Of Paradise and the lush heat soaked Red Haze from DrumTalk.

Gradually the tempo slows with the bumpy Space Cadet from Admin, a lovely deep bit of funk, and the even more lush sounds of The MariasCariño. All the while we are heading for Sly5thAve and a superb cover of Frank Ocean’s Super Rich Kids, a typical example of Jungle’s light hearted and party fuelled approach.

The small hours having arrived, it’s an ideal opportunity for Kamaal Williams’ woozy High Roller, Sam Evian’s soft hearted Next To You and an off kilter Lavender from BADBADNOTGOOD and KAYTRANADA. As is traditional the host should add a track of their own, and Jungle’s is a typically heady Come Back A Different Day, over a stumbling rhythm, which pans out even further to Mansur Brown’s Shiroi.

For the home straight it’s slower and sultry funk from The Flying Stars Of Brooklyn NY’s Live On, then SAULT’s catchy torch song Masterpiece. Paul Cherry’s Like Yesterday is a rueful song of modern relationship ills, before the sleepy cinematic closer, HNNY’s Sunday. The house lights go up soon after!

Does it all work?

Pretty much all. Jungle have nailed the brief of the Back To Mine series, which ideally keeps the listener entertained and guessing, while educating them on some new sounds and bringing a bit more perspective to the music the hosts make. Jungle tick all those boxes and add some humour, sauce and funk.

Is it recommended?

Yes – an easy recommendation for a really enjoyable set of tunes. A bit smoky, certainly a bit rhythmic, and uplifting too. What’s not to like?