Shy FX – Sound Of The Beast

1st March 2024 · 1990s, 1994, Dance, Music

If acid house was the first truly underground music scene to come along since the early days of punk rock, then jungle was its natural successor.

Blending rave and techno with elements of dub and dancehall reggae, its skittering rhythms and swooping basslines were made for the sort of mad dancing you can only do when you’re young.

Sound Of The Beast is essentially a mash-up by a London DJ called Andre Williams, performing as Shy FX. It was the anthem of the 1994 Notting Hill Carnival, at least according to punk archivist Jon Savage, whom I once worked alongside on Sounds in 1977. And unlike me, he was there in ’94 while I was busy bringing up a baby.

Williams takes the previous year’s rap anthem Sound Of Da Police by KRS-1, with its inimitable police siren, throws in Junior Murvin’s reggae classic Police And Thieves – anthem of the 1976 Carnival – and welds them together with some drum & bass using the ‘Amen Break’ – the ubiquitous break beat sampled from Amen, Brother, an old ’60s tune by The Winstons.

So it’s old and new, reggae and soul, ragga and rave, hip hop and techno – all repackaged as jungle.

Shy FX first made a mark earlier in 1994 with his third single, the rude boy anthem Original Nuttah with rapper UK Apache, back when jungle had more in common with reggae’s hardcore sibling, ragga.

These were the days before jungle became more mainstream as drum’n’bass, went all proggy as so-called “intelligent” DnB – Goldie’s Timeless won the Mercury Music Prize in 1995 – and evolved into UK garage and grime.