Weekly Wire
NewCityNet Music Tip of the Week

By Dave Chamberlain

MARCH 23, 1998:  Believe the hype. Roni Size Reprazent really is worth seeing, whether you've allowed yourself to get into jungle and drum 'n' bass or not. And forgive the critics for hopping on this bandwagon, it's one of those rare occasions when something mass marketed is actually worth the time it takes to listen. The Reprazent record, "New Forms" (Mercury), a double-CD packed with all sorts of mutated jungle tracks, breaks new American ground (but simply practices the Bristol, England, style) by integrating dub and, more often, jazz and hip-hop into the music. Honestly, going on a base level gut reaction, it rocks even though it's not rock. It's not the fastest d 'n' b you can find (Plug and the Kultbox recordings have that distinction) and it's far from the most schizophrenic breakbeat nutty. In fact, as opposed to much of what you hear at the Empty Bottle on Sunday nights or the Dubshack's Brockout!, Size gives in to the dancing urges and keeps the time signatures at 4 (maybe because the white folk who make up the entire population of local jungle shows clearly can't dance to that 3-time reggae/dub beat). The criticism on the street is this: I love the record, until the vocals start. Hmmm, vocals in jungle, disliked by the purists. Sounds like the beginning of some new music fad, or something.

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