Label Spotlight: Northern Front

Even in the 2004 edition of All Crews, we barely scratched the surface of Jungle Drum & Bass’s journey up north. For the updated issue I’ve enlisted the words of Rupture’s Double O, who hails from Doncaster, to avoid making the same mistake again. Until you can read Dubz’ chapter about northern Jungle, on our blog we thought we’d shine a spotlight on some of the northern lights leading contemporary Jungle Drum & Bass forward.

While Jungle Drum & Bass may have originated in London there are a rich network of current labels ‘oop Norf keeping the UK sound alive. One of these is Manchester-based Northern Front who roll out moody Jungle Drum & Bass steppers and unsettling Jungle Techno.

Northern Front is run by Response and Pilskin, two DJ/Producers who have an extensive string of releases on other labels like Western Lore, and Fresh like ’86 to their name. their collaborative releases on Northern Front however stand apart with their air of militant drama and sinister atmosphere. Their track ‘M16 Jungle’ perfectly encapsulates this, with it’s crashing pads, 4/4 kick, clattering breaks and heritage Jungle vocal samples.

Manchester’s Techno sensibility can be heard stamping it’s way into the menacing soundscapes of many of the label’s releases, with 4/4 kicks and industrial textures often featuring, but Northern front are a Jungle Drum & Bass label through and through. You’re just as likely to hear Ragga vocal samples and rattling amens in their releases as you are seething Reeses and rolling 2-step rhythms. One thing’s for sure, Northern Front releases weave dystopian soundscapes through ruff and rolling Jungle Drum & Bass.

The label can occasionally be found doing showcases at Manc spots like Eastern Bloc records and you can also catch Pilskin, Response and most of their roster playing out at events across the UK and Europe.