As a pioneer of the jungle drum 'n' bass movement emerging out of the UK in the '90s, Goldie's output and 25-year (and change) reign reflect the continual respect and admiration for the genre as one that has evolved continuously into a wide array of styles and impacted dance floors across the globe.
In Miami specifically, drum 'n' bass lineups continue to play in nightclubs and raves, and Goldie's breakthrough within drum 'n' bass continues to inspire the city's underground movement scene. He will perform in Miami on Saturday, October 15 at 1-800-Lucky for a rare appearance following his 2011 set at the fallen Electric Pickle's second anniversary.
Blaring a smile full of gold, Clifford Joseph Price MBE (British for "Most Excellence of British Empire"), AKA DJ Goldie, returns to roots he established in Miami before moving to London and catalyzing the height of drum 'n' bass popularity. Goldie reminisces in his first-person autobiography on Resident Advisor: "Hip-hop allowed me to express myself artistically for the first time. Doing graffiti art made me learn how to make something out of nothing, and it got me involved in the music scene... In '86, I moved out to Miami and started a business selling engraved gold teeth. By 1990, I was on the move again, to London, where something very special was about to kick off."
That "very special" thing would become the breakthrough of UK jungle, drum 'n' bass, and breakbeat hardcore scenes in the 1990s — lifting the genre to a place of respect with the creation of the Metalheadz record label, cofounded by Goldie and the duo Kemistry & Storm in 1994. A late-century form of British Invasion, it became the soundtrack to '90s nightlife — verging a hypnotic, uptempo, repetitive beat with a branch of influences from Caribbean reggae to samples of audio from horror media, AKA "darkcore."
The introduction of electronic sampling and manipulation steered drum 'n' bass away from its origins in the '70s era of jungle dancehall and reggae tracks originating from Kingston. Still, it managed to incorporate a special homage to the island landscapes through the persistent influence of Jamaican sound system culture and DJs who played at raves throughout a city night. For Goldie, his mixed Jamaican and Scottish ancestry would mold a West England upbringing into one that brought traces of the Caribbean to London's nightclubs that were transitioning from the slow groove of funk and reggae to the accelerated pace of electronic music.
A millennium's turning was just around the corner, and with the advent of UK drum 'n' bass as the soundtrack of the decade, the '90s sped ahead, introducing a futuristic ambiance through a runner's-paced rhythm and an increasingly diverse introduction of black and brown DJs and ravers to the previously predominant white suburban crowds. Long gone was the idea that "jungle" was meant for the peripheries of London and the English countryside where the Windrush generation of Caribbean immigrants arrived in the UK from 1948 to 1971 to work as manual workers, cleaners, drivers, and nurses to help fill post-war labor shortages.
Jayne Conneely, AKA DJ Storm, explained to Vice this phenomenon after inviting Goldie to view the emerging scene at Rage, a party at London nightclub Heaven: "He pretty much stood in one spot, wouldn't even come downstairs to hear Groove and Fabio. We got home and asked him what was going on, and he said he didn't understand it — there were white, black, Chinese people all in one place, and we realized, 'he's missed the summer of love' — in Miami where he'd been living everything was still so segregated, he thought something was going to go off. We convinced him to come again and see Fabio and Grooverider. So he came the next week, saw them, and had the same feeling we'd had."
From then on, drum 'n' bass would be in a symbiotic relationship with Goldie as he influenced its increasing popularity and presence in rave culture and underground music, both in the UK and in venues across the world. As a touchstone for Goldie's influence, Miami continues to be seen through the digitalized promotion and presence of drum 'n' bass artist collectives and rave scenes throughout the city.
Goldie's return to Miami's own physical jungle on Saturday, October 15 at 1-800-Lucky is sure to be a momentous, nostalgic return or newfound introduction to the parent and purveyor of drum 'n' bass.
Goldie and DJ Craze. With SomeJerk, Jan Anthony, and others. 8 p.m. Saturday, October 15, at 1-800-Lucky, 143 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-768-9826, 1800lucky.com. Tickets cost $30 to $40 via ra.co.