Rumble in the Jungle: City, Place and Uncanny Bass
Keywords: Jungle, Drum 'n' bass, Cyberculture, Post-Indusrial Society, Simulation, Rave culture
AbstractWhile bass powerfully resonates among the cultural discourses, lexicology and commercial marketing of a range of electronic dance music (EDM) styles, little popular music scholarship has paid attention to the subjective, phenomenological and psycho-physiological significance of bass in its modulation of intense feelings of pleasure. This article examines the linking in jungle/drum 'n' bass culture of bass as a sonic space that produces a powerful sense of jouissance where identity can seem to unravel on the dance-floor and an articulation of contemporary urban space as a place of subjective loss and regression. Overlaying Freud's notion of the uncanny and Kristeva's signifying space of the chora, I discuss how this fetishisation of bass can be linked to the music's cultural formation from deindustrialised regions in London and the South-East of England during the early-1990s; its accelerated break-beats and 'dark' bass-lines can be seen to inscribe recent rapid social, cultural and environmental transformations in the urban metropolis.
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