Western Lore is only a little over three-and-a-half years old, but already its releases are some of the most sought-after drops around. Filed under ‘modern jungle’, but with a sound and look that encompass the broader spirit of rave, it’s a home for hypnotic, ruffneck beats that bring together elements of techno, house, drum & bass, trance and more.
The label’s origins lie back in 2014; founder Alex Eveson had seen some success producing breaksy liquid d&b under his last name and with his label Channel 82. But with vinyl sales dwindling the imprint became impractical, and he found himself disillusioned with the clinical sound dominating drum & bass — all clean, surgical drum-work and crisp mix-downs. He longed for the crunch and the dirt of the ‘90s sounds he grew up on.
Raised in Glastonbury, he spent his youth surrounded by the music and mysticism of the festival, popping over to Bristol to party, listening to trip-hop, and collecting rave tapes — a hobby that started when he was around 11 years old and continues to this day. “I didn’t know who made what, it was just this collage of bleeps, breaks, ragga chants,” he says of those early tapes. “There was this mystique and magic to it that I wanted to recapture.”
While on a snowboarding trip in the French Alps he began DJing a few times a week; playing old school jungle at the weekend and a mix of dusty house and techno from the likes of Theo Parrish, Moodymann and Four Tet during the week. “A lot of the mix-downs in that scene were very crunchy and raw. I wanted to bring that into jungle and not focus on this super- crisp, loud engineering style,” he says. “But I didn’t just wanna write what was done before, I wanted to reimagine those memories in a new and modern way.” Merging the styles he was playing in France with the desire to recreate the old rave tape aesthetic, his eureka moment finally arrived. “I wrote the first track, it was an early version of ‘Tears’, and once I nailed that it just all started falling out. I found this sound and all of a sudden it clicked.”