According to the press release, the two lengthy tracks that make up Diversions 1994-1996 were assembled solely using sounds sourced from Lee Gamble's collection of jungle cassette mixtapes. Gamble, a jungle enthusiast in his teenage years, here revisits a past love with the intention to "extract, expand upon and convey particular qualities emblematic of the original music."
Gamble's previous releases for the likes of London label Entr'acte have tended to foreground their intensely synthetic qualities, but Diversions, released on the PAN imprint, sees the producer take a less involved approach, amplifying the hazy grain of his source materials but rarely obscuring their basic sonic properties. At points, something like a groove is hinted at—and there is a brief period of breakbeat propulsion, near the end of side B—but for the most part this is static music: a succession of starkly beautiful moments, each one suspended in space for a moment and then abruptly supplanted by the next. Diversions is perhaps best viewed as an impressionistic rendering of the experiences of jungle culture in its heyday: its bleak, post-industrial landscapes, the heady disorientation of its highs and the dead-eyed paranoia of its lows, stitched together into a surreal, dream-like narrative.
Reformed junglists may register certain moments as clarion calls from a halcyon past: Side A opens with a diva "ooh" stretched out into penumbral infinity and closes with a swatch of brooding sci-fi paranoia; elsewhere, clouds of airy, timorously beautiful pads float over brooding 808 thuds. Near the middle of side B, a brief glimmer of euphoria is expelled by a succession of throbbing, industrial pulses. Still, Gamble's approach to his source material is satisfyingly oblique. Search for a narrative logic in Diversions and you won't find it; but as an evocation of a time and place—or rather one man's memories of it—it is both sinister and poignant in equal measure.
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Tracklist: Lee Gamble - Diversions 1994-1996 01. Pandemonium Institute
03. M25 Echo
08. 3,4 Synthetics
09. Dollis Hill