A new documentary celebrates 25 years of the much-loved drum & bass labels A-Ko Recordings and AKO Beatz.
The short film, 'AKO Beatz...25 Years In The Jungle', will be released for free on Christmas Day (25th December), and features contributions from the likes of Goldie, Mantra, Double O, Decibella, Sheba Q, Sweetpea, King Britt, Djinn, Threshold, Blackeye and various other figures from the labels' rosters, who reflect on its history and key releases. The documentary was edited by Esther Wanyama, who also DJs under the N.E.GIRL alias.
DJ Stretch launched A-Ko Recordings in 1996, with the help of the legendary label Reinforced Records, releasing a number of his own records through the remainder of the 1990s. Since then, it's spawned a number of offshoots, most notably AKO Beatz, which came to life in 2014 with a focus on pushing new and established artists working within the jungle and drum & bass scenes.
Since 2014, AKO Beatz has released records by Rupture's Double O, Mantra, Ricky Force, Goldie and '90s jungle heads Tom & Jerry, along with many others across its main label and sub-labels.
"25 years to run the label is an achievement more than anything," DJ Stretch said of the milestone in a statement. "I’m super proud to see a new generation getting to hear the sound we believed in back in the day, and bring it into the future now. And it doesn’t stop there. Every year I’m raising the bar higher!"
Music journalist Verity Raphael, who's overseen the project alongside DJ Stretch, added: "Making the real roots of jungle known to those who benefit from it remains as vital now as it ever did. I want to see more of the foundational labels getting shouted about, so as well as having a deep love for the AKO family and sound, I'm determined to help document this important history to educate the next generation of ravers!"
You can watch the trailer for 'AKO Beatz...25 Years In The Jungle' below.
AKO Beatz was among the labels nominated for this year's Best Label category at DJ Mag's Best of British Awards. The winner of the award will be announced on 16th December.