The Best of Desert Storm

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

Plenty of CD compilations were released in celebration of all things jungle. The likes of Jungle Mania, Hardcore Junglistic Fever, Jungle Hits and more did a grand job of representing the production talent of the time however, it wasn't just the tunes of '94 that demanded attention, it was the actual live experience.

Many too young to get passed security or those who lived too far from London, or even the UK, had a tough job of really understanding what it felt like to experience jungle music live. This is where the Desert Storm compilation bridged the gap between compilation album and live tape pack recordings.

What really sets this compilation apart from others is the way the tracks have been presented. Rather than pushing out a CD with a few live sets, you are instead treated to snapshots of live DJ sets with accompanying MCs. These individual tracks are all so unique and if anything, incredibly heartwarming due to the passion conveyed from the MCs. Sure you could pick up countless tape packs in the 90's but this was an altogether new way of representing the music we all knew and loved.

Keep in mind is that this was at the peak of the UK jungle explosion where dubplates were fresh out of the cutting house, a certainly collective of DJs represented the whole of the scene and as an MC, hosting and lyrics went hand in hand.

'The Best of Desert Storm' is filled with amazing quotes from the MCs and of course, quite a few public service announcements from 5ive - O, something of which he was famous for. He's also not shy about pushing "25 a lick" Champagne to the massive!

"To all germs, measles and viruses, we are like Domestos, we kill all known germs dead!"

An obvious taunt to those notorious for bringing bad vibes to the jungle scene around the time and a blatant stand for positiveness.

This article certainly couldn't close without a short interview with MC Navigator. A true musical pioneer in ever sense who once again, really went in with his interview answers!

Jarvis, the guy who always gets the best tapes - who is he? What's the story behind this man?

"Jarvis is a colorful character who was about in the rave scene way before me. He did the legendary Biology parties from back in 88/89 when I was still doing my thing on reggae sound systems with The Ragga Twins on Unity Hi Power. I met him one day when I was at Kool FM doing a show, Jarvis turned up his friend Willie and two bottles of Champagne with a big grin on his face. Jungle was now the big thing and he wanted to promote a party, so he came to see some of the top man dem on the circuit. If my memory serves me right; DJ Ron, SL, Moose & Flinty among others were there and after we finished the show we had a chat with Jarvis and Willie who told us they were going to start a rave called VIP Champagne Bash.

I distinctly remember the flyer for the party was an invitation in an envelope which we were only allowed to give out to girls. When the guys in the parties seen the girls being given these ‘letters‘ they were all trying to find out what was in the envelopes.

The reasoning behind this strategy was that the dance was gonna be full of females which would then draw in the man dem and to be honest - it worked a treat! The first VIP party was in West London, Powis Terrace, (Notting Hill Carnival territory) in a warehouse venue with two floors and a real reggae sound system installed especially for the event. I got there at 10pm and it was already rammed, by 12am they opened upstairs as the overflow, by 1am it was a roadblock. I left at 3pm the next day on the Sunday and it was still going hard.

CHAMPAGNE??? Oh my days I have never seen so much! There was so much it couldn’t sell out and every time I tried to leave the party I got a next bottle shoved in my hand by my don Willie and told ”Come on Navi, drink up we got loads more to get through”. By this time I’d drunk so much champagne it was tasting like vinegar lol - I had to sneak out of that one trust me. This led to a succession of VIP Champagne Bash events throughout 1994 until Jarvis & Willie split in 1995 and that’s when Jarvis started Desert Storm alone in Roller Express Edmonton.

For the first party he raffled a massive magnum of Champagne in a wooden box and nobody bought raffle tickets, so he just popped it onstage for the artists and you can imagine the scenes with a bottle that size and the man dem with little plastic cups loooool! The stage was awash with Champagne for those of you who don’t know. Ask anyone who was there, those days were the good old days that will never be seen again so I’m glad I was there to be a part of it firsthand.

Ain’t seen Jarvis in years, but I’ve heard he is still floating about."

Desert Storm was always a really live and passionate event, do you think it was just the era as a whole or was their something unique about these events?

"The title Desert Storm was relevant to what was actually going on in the world at that time.. I suppose with this new jungle music being heralded as “UK Music” by the rest of the world but being seen as a threat by many of the acid house clientele, but then again; also being embraced as the new wave of rave music at the time by the new junglist ravers. This party theme resonated with so many people and was indicative of the mood in London in general at that point in time. Jarvis was an avid Saxon Studio fan so he had hired their sound for the event also expressing to the MCs in particular that he wanted that authentic sound system vibe on the mic that night and it really went down well. I think that the whole sound system approach fitted extremely well with the theme of the party and that is why in my opinion, the Desert Storm tapes have a different feel and edge to them, because Jarvis took it back to the future with an old school sound system backdrop, whilst bringing the new school jungle music to an audience encapsulating the elders and the youngsters at the same time."

In the recordings you can really hear the compassion between the MCs as if they were constantly paying respect to each other without having to say the words. Was this something to do with the chemistry between you all and your obvious love for the music?

"Moose, Deman Rockers, Flinty Badman, Navigator, DJ Ron etc all come from a staunch reggae sound system background. Moose was more of a house party sound man. Ron came through and got noticed more on the UK hip hop sound system circuit, whereas Ragga Twins and I found fame from the hardcore reggae dancehall and sound clash circuit back in the 80's. All these entities of the original sound system format are all intertwined and relevant to each other.

This is why it all seems to fit effortlessly together on those tapes and you can hear the mutual respect for each other in the mic rhetoric and the musical selection. The rest was a foregone conclusion by virtue of the fact that jungle is a modern day extension of that same reggae sound system culture."

Do you see the likes of Moose, The Ragga Twins and Det as much as you would like these days?

"I’m glad to say that I still see most of these guys on a regular and if I don’t see them with the naked eye, we are all still gracing these jungle line ups and are on the flyers just like 25 years ago. You know how it goes, life carry’s on doing what it does, some people stick the course and others drop off or literally drop out, RIP all my fallen junglist & sound system soldiers."

If you could take anything from these events into 2019, what would it be and why?

"I would love to take that 'original vibe' and transmute it into the current scene. By that I mean the way how the DJs would break a new tune to the audience, the great Grooverider teasing the audience with a piano riff mix that the crowd knew and responded to but he didn’t actually drop the tune. The mixture of old and new music, the mixture of tempos, the mixture of moods, the sets that felt like we were being taken on a journey transported into outer space, the crowd responding to a bassline and being given an appropriate rewind as opposed to the MC coercing the crowd into a call and answer scenario.

I would just love to bring back that organic, authentic vibe that was so refreshing as the burgeoning jungle scene reared it’s head on the underground UK dance music scene back in the early 90s.

Sometimes you go to a party nowadays and get a glimpse of that vibe and it makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. I know it will never be exactly the same as it was back then, but I would love to be able to take a couple of thousand youths and lead them into a giant Tardis and then transport them all back into those times, so that when they came back to 2020 they would fully get it and would participate accordingly. I’m sure it would make all of these new school youngsters appreciate the art and culture a lot more in real terms of what jungle music means to us coming from that era - and what it represents for many who rose through the ranks. Plus the influence it had on London, the rest of the UK and the world.

My jungle generation were dubbed the new wave of dance music artists."

Finally, any related respects to pay?

Liked this? Check Jamie's interview from 2016 with Navigator via Drum&BassArena.

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Disc 1

1) Underkut - Both Ends (The Junglites Remix 1)

2) Jo - R-Type

3) DJ Nut Nut & Pure Science - The Rumble (Boom Shaka Mix)

4) Boogie Times Tribe - The Dark Stranger (Q Bass Remix)

5) Engineers Without Fears - Spiritual Aura

6) Redskins – Security (Unreleased)

7) Shy FX - Gangsta Kid

8) Micky Finn Dubplate

9) Timmi Magic - Passing Me By [Decibel DECI001]

10) Noise Of Art - Rollin' Deep (Smokey Joe Remix 2)

11) DJ Rap - Digable Bass

12) Renegade - Something I Feel

13) Noise Of Art - Rollin Deep (Danny Breaks & Andy C Remix)

14) Kings Of The Jungle - Lovable

15) The Junglites - Junglistic Experience (VIP)

16) Dopeski & Jakes - Snowstorm (Remix)

17) Blackstar - Sound Clash Dub

18) Trinity - Gangsta

19) Darren Jay Dubplate

20) Tom & Jerry - Maxi(mun) Style Part 2

21) Leviticus - The Burial (Dubplate 'Amen' Mix) [Unreleased]

22) Brainkillers - Screwface

23) Roni Size - It's A Jazz Thing (Electric Boogie Mix)

24) Peshay - The Vocal Tune

25) Prizna feat. Demolition Man - Fire

26) DJ Nut Nut - Special Dedication (Ladies Mix)

27) Bruck Wild - Silent Voice

28) Tom & Jerry - Maxi(mun) Style Part 1

29) DMS & Boneman X - Sweet Vibrations

30) The Dream Team - Over You

31) Krome & Time - The Licence

Disc 2

1) Unknown

2) Roni Size & DJ Die – Music Box

3) Sonz Of A Loop Da Loop Era – What The… Session One (Riots In Raleigh)

4) DJ Mayhem – Inesse (Ray Keith Remix)

5) Gappa G & Hyper Hypa - Information Centre (Ray Keith Remix)

6) Cutty Ranks - Armed & Dangerous (Goldie Beef Base Mix)

7) Brainkillers – Screwface

8) Potential Bad Boy - Have No Fear

9) Ellis Dee – Can’t Believe It's Real

10) DJ Dextrous & Rude Boy Keith - Lovable (Remix)

11) Unknown

12) Studio 2 - Who Jah Bless

13) Dopestyle – You Must Think First

14) Unknown Artist - Dreadie [Jungle, JJ-01]

15) Tit 4 Tat – Feel

16) Firefox & 4 Tree - Warning

17) Roni Size – Warm & Easy (Ragga Starter) [Unreleased]

18) Tom & Jerry - Maxi(mun) Style

19) Unknown

20) New Blood - Worries In The Dance

21) Skool Of Hard Knocks – Kan U Feel It (94 Mix)

22) Tarzan - Watch The People

23) Berty B & Dillinja – Lion Heart

24) Rhythm For Reasons - The Love Statement (DJ SS Remix)

25) Omni Trio – Renegade Snares (Foul Play VIP Mix)

26) Roni Size - It's A Jazz Thing (Ladies Mix)

27) The Junglites - New Jack In Jungle / Who De Bombo Clart (Dubplate Mix) [Unreleased]

28) System Ex – Mindgames (Dub Mix)

29) M-Beat – Style (Sweet Girl Mix)

30) DJ Ron – Mo Musik (African Lover Mix)

31) Deep Blue – The Helicopter Tune (Rufige Kru Remix)


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