Since the early '90s when it was called jungle, drum 'n' bass has reflected young marginalized peoples' desire to mutate audio culture through technology. Bored with safe reggae, R&B, and hip-hop heard on the radio, London's restless young inner-city producers injected it with double-speed digital beat patterns and fat bass lines. The futurist sound mutated and eventually caught on worldwide, most notably in Brazil, a country whose d&b scene is currently exploding. Brazilian-born New York DJ Soul Slinger's anthology, Ecosystem -- The Brazilian Joint, surveys both his home country's unsung players and the organic flavors his culture brings to drum 'n' bass. Mean Braz-jazz horn vamps and pan-Latino vocal samples abound on Dummagick's "Malandragem" and "Latino"; slick-yet-hyper remixes of jazz singer Leandro Bonfim's laidback "Malta" and rapper Pregador Luo's earnest "Mundo Bem Melhor" elsewhere on the disc make them Sao Paolo's pair to watch. Compatriot producer Ramilson Maia's three tunes show him skillfully placing soulful vocals into the rhythmic storm, most adeptly on "Madalena," a boppy 1970 bossa classic popularized by Brazil's Janis Joplin-like chanteuse Elis Regina. And Soul Slinger's collaboration with Ezra G. swirls turbulently around a vocal sample from a samba about a bird -- not your average d&b fare. By bringing jungle to the rain forest, Ecosystem puts a new, humanized face to drum 'n' bass.
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