|Drum and bass|
|Cultural origins||Early 1990s, |
London and Bristol, United Kingdom
Drum and bass (also written as "drum 'n' bass" or "drum & bass"; commonly abbreviated as "D&B", "DnB" or "D'n'B") is a genre and branch of electronic music characterised by fast breakbeats (typically 160–180 beats per minute) with heavy bass and sub-bass lines, sampled sources, and synthesizers. The style grew out of breakbeat hardcore and jungle in the United Kingdom during the early 1990s. The popularity of drum and bass at its commercial peak ran parallel to several other homegrown dance styles in the UK. A major influence was the original Jamaican dub and reggae sound. Another feature of the style is the complex syncopation of the drum tracks' breakbeat.
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.
Sub-bass sounds are the deep, low- register pitched pitches approximately below 60 Hz (C2 in scientific pitch notation) and extending downward to include the lowest frequency humans can hear, assumed at about 20 Hz (E0). In this range, human hearing is not very sensitive, so sounds in this range tend to be felt more than heard. Sound reinforcement systems and PA systems often use one or more subwoofer loudspeaker cabinets that are specifically designed for amplifying sounds in the sub-bass range. Sounds below sub-bass are called infrasound.
In music, sampling is the reuse of a portion of a sound recording in another recording. Samples may comprise rhythm, melody, speech, or other sounds. They are usually integrated using hardware (samplers) or software such as digital audio workstations.
Drum and bass subgenres include breakcore, ragga jungle, hardstep, darkstep, techstep, neurofunk, ambient drum and bass, liquid funk (aka liquid drum and bass), jump up, drumfunk, funkstep, sambass, and drill 'n' bass. From its roots in the UK, the style has established itself around the world. Drum and bass has influenced many other genres like hip hop, big beat, dubstep, house, trip hop, ambient music, techno, jazz, rock and pop. Drum and bass is dominated by a relatively small group of record labels. Major international music labels had shown very little interest in the drum and bass scene until BMG Rights Management acquired RAM in February 2016.Drum and bass remains most popular in the UK, although it has developed scenes all around the world in countries such as the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, New Zealand, Greece, Canada, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Australia.
Breakcore is a style of electronic dance music influenced by hardcore, jungle, digital hardcore and industrial music. It is characterized by the use of heavy kick drums, breaks and a wide palette of sampling sources, played at high tempos.
Ragga jungle is a subgenre of oldschool jungle that emerged c. 1989–1990 and was initially heavily based on production of Michael West and James Stephens' Noise Factory. Early pioneers of the genre also include Lennie De Ice, DJ Dextrous, Remarc, M-Beat and Ragga Twins.
Hardstep is a subgenre of drum and bass which emerged in 1994. It is characterised by a gritty production style, that has an inner-city feel to it. The breaks are less cut-up sounding than oldschool jungle, and have faster and harder simple electronic melodies. One characteristic is an accentuated, yet sparse percussive beat.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a growing nightclub and overnight outdoor event culture gave birth to a new electronic music style in the rave scene, which combined sampled syncopated beats, or breakbeats, and other samples from a wide range of different musical genres and, occasionally, samples of music, dialogue and effects from films and television programmes. A faster subgenre was known as "hardcore", but from as early as 1991, some musical tracks made up of these high-tempo break beats, with heavy basslines and samples of older Jamaican music, were referred to as "jungle techno". (influenced by Jack Smooth and Basement Records), and later just "jungle", which became recognised as a separate musical genre popular at raves and on pirate radio in Britain.
A nightclub, music club or club, is an entertainment venue and bar that usually operates late into the night. A nightclub is generally distinguished from regular bars, pubs or taverns by the inclusion of a stage for live music, one or more dance floor areas and a DJ booth, where a DJ plays recorded music. The upmarket nature of nightclubs can be seen in the inclusion of VIP areas in some nightclubs, for celebrities and their guests. Nightclubs are much more likely than pubs or sports bars to use bouncers to screen prospective clubgoers for entry. Some nightclub bouncers do not admit people with informal clothing or gang apparel as part of a dress code. The busiest nights for a nightclub are Friday and Saturday night. Most clubs or club nights cater to certain music genres, such as house music or hip hop. Many clubs have recurring club nights on different days of the week. Most club nights focus on a particular genre or sound for branding effects.
A rave is an organized dance party at a nightclub, outdoor festival, warehouse, or other private property typically featuring performances by DJs, playing a seamless flow of electronic dance music. DJs at rave events play electronic dance music on vinyl, CDs and digital audio from a wide range of genres, including techno, hardcore, house,, bassline, dubstep, New Beat and post-industrial. Occasionally live performers have been known to perform, in addition to other types of performance artists such as go-go dancers and fire dancers. The music is amplified with a large, powerful sound reinforcement system, typically with large subwoofers to produce a deep bass sound. The music is often accompanied by laser light shows, projected coloured images, visual effects and fog machines.
Hardcore is a subgenre of electronic dance music based in Belgian New Beat industrial style of Techno, that originated in the Netherlands in the 1990s. It is distinguished by faster tempos, the intensity of the kicks and the synthesized bass, the rhythm and the atmosphere of the themes, the usage of saturation and experimentation close to that of industrial dance music. It would spawn subgenres such as gabber.
It is important to note when discussing the history of drum and bass prior to jungle, music was becoming faster and more experimental. Professional DJ and producer Costica Kristian di Vogli (known professionally as C.K.) stated, "There was a progression as far as the speed of music is concerned. Anyone buying vinyl every week from 1989 to 1992 noticed this."
By 1994, jungle had begun to gain mainstream popularity, and fans of the music (often referred to as junglists) became a more recognisable part of youth subculture. The genre further developed, incorporating and fusing elements from a wide range of existing musical genres, including the raggamuffin sound, dancehall, MC chants, dub basslines, and increasingly complex, heavily edited breakbeat percussion. Despite the affiliation with the ecstasy-fuelled rave scene, jungle also inherited associations with violence and criminal activity, both from the gang culture that had affected the UK's hip-hop scene and as a consequence of jungle's often aggressive or menacing sound and themes of violence (usually reflected in the choice of samples). However, this developed in tandem with the often positive reputation of the music as part of the wider rave scene and dancehall-based Jamaican music culture prevalent in London. By 1995, whether as a reaction to, or independently of this cultural schism, some jungle producers began to move away from the ragga-influenced style and create what would become collectively labelled, for convenience, as drum and bass.
Junglist is a slang term which first referred to a person living in an area of West Kingston, Jamaica, called Jungle. It was later used as a term to refer to someone who is a dedicated listener of jungle music. Tracks from this genre often contain calls and references to the "original junglists" and "jungle soldiers". Junglists usually gravitate towards oldschool and ragga jungle.
Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican popular music that originated in the late 1970s. Initially, dancehall was a more sparse version of reggae than the roots style, which had dominated much of the 1970s. In the mid-1980s, digital instrumentation became more prevalent, changing the sound considerably, with digital dancehall becoming increasingly characterized by faster rhythms. Key elements of dancehall music include its extensive use of Jamaican Patois rather than Jamaican standard English and a focus on the track instrumentals.
Rapping is a musical form of vocal delivery that incorporates "rhyme, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular", which is performed or chanted in a variety of ways, usually over a backing beat or musical accompaniment. The components of rap include "content", "flow", and "delivery". Rap differs from spoken-word poetry in that rap is usually performed in time to an instrumental track. Rap is often associated with, and is a primary ingredient of hip-hop music, but the origins of the phenomenon predate hip-hop culture. The earliest precursor to the modern rap is the West African griot tradition, in which "oral historians", or "praise-singers", would disseminate oral traditions and genealogies, or use their formidable rhetorical techniques for gossip or to "praise or critique individuals." Griot traditions connect to rap along a lineage of Black verbal reverence that goes back to ancient Egyptian practices, through James Brown interacting with the crowd and the band between songs, to Muhammad Ali's quick-witted verbal taunts and the palpitating poems of the Last Poets. Therefore, rap lyrics and music are part of the "Black rhetorical continuum", and aim to reuse elements of past traditions while expanding upon them through "creative use of language and rhetorical styles and strategies. The person credited with originating the style of "delivering rhymes over extensive music", that would become known as rap, was Anthony "DJ Hollywood" Holloway from Harlem, New York.
As the genre became generally more polished and sophisticated technically, it began to expand its reach from pirate radio to commercial stations and gain widespread acceptance (circa 1995–1997). It also began to split into recognisable subgenres such as jump-up and Hardstep. As a lighter and often jazz-influenced style of drum and bass called "intelligent drum and bass" gained mainstream appeal, additional subgenres emerged including techstep (circa 1996–1997), which drew greater influence from techno music and the soundscapes of science fiction and anime films.
Techstep is a dark subgenre of drum and bass that was popular in the late 1990s.
Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan, in the United States in the mid-to-late 1980s. Techno is generally repetitive instrumental music, often produced for use in a continuous DJ set. The central rhythm is often in common time (4/4), while the tempo typically varies between 120 to 150 beats per minute (bpm). Artists may use electronic instruments such as drum machines, sequencers, and synthesizers, as well as digital audio workstations. Drum machines from the 1980s such as Roland's TR-808 and TR-909 are highly prized, and software emulations of such retro instruments are popular.
A soundscape is the acoustic environment as perceived by humans, in context. The term was originally coined by Michael Southworth, and popularised by R. Murray Schafer. There is a varied history of the use of soundscape depending on discipline, ranging from urban design to wildlife ecology to computer science. An important distinction is to separate soundscape from the broader acoustic environment. The acoustic environment is the combination of all the acoustic resources, natural and artificial, within a given area as modified by the environment. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standardized these definitions in 2014.(ISO 12913-1:2014)
The popularity of drum and bass at its commercial peak ran parallel to several other genres native to the UK, including big beat and hard house. Towards the turn of the millennium, however, its popularity was deemed to have dwindled, as the UK garage offshoot known as speed garage yielded several hit singles. Speed garage shared high tempos and heavy basslines with drum and bass, but otherwise followed the established conventions of "house music", with this and its freshness giving it an advantage commercially. di Vogli says, "It is often forgotten by my students that a type of music called "garage house" existed in the late 1980s alongside hip house, acid house and other forms of house music." He continues, "This new garage of the mid-90s was not a form of house or a progression of garage house. The beats and tempo that define house are entirely different. This did cause further confusion in the presence of new house music of the mid-1990s being played alongside what was now being called garage."
Big beat is an electronic music genre that usually uses heavy breakbeats and synthesizer-generated loops and patterns – common to acid house/techno. The term has been used by the British music industry to describe music by artists such as The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, Propellerheads, Cut La Roc, Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada.
UK garage, also known as UKG, is a genre of electronic music originating from England in the early 1990s. The genre emerged from styles such as garage house, R&B, jungle, and dance-pop, and usually features a distinctive 4/4 percussive rhythm with syncopated hi-hats, cymbals and snares, and sometimes includes irregular kick drum patterns. Garage tracks also commonly feature 'chopped up' and time-stretched or pitch-shifted vocal samples complementing the underlying rhythmic structure at a tempo usually around 130 BPM. UK garage gave rise to subgenres such as speed garage and 2-step, and was then largely subsumed into other styles of music and production in the mid-2000s, including bassline, grime and dubstep. The decline of UK garage during the mid-2000s saw the birth of UK funky, which is closely related.
Speed garage is a genre of electronic dance music, associated with the UK garage scene.
Despite this, the emergence of further subgenres and related styles such as liquid funk brought a wave of new artists incorporating new ideas and techniques, supporting continual evolution of the genre. To this day, drum and bass makes frequent appearances in mainstream media and popular culture including in television, as well as being a major reference point for subsequent genres such as grime and dubstep,and producing successful artists including Chase & Status, Netsky, Metrik, and Pendulum.
Drum and bass incorporates a number of scenes and styles, from the highly electronic, industrial sounds of techstep to the use of conventional, acoustic instrumentation that characterize the more jazz-influenced end of the spectrum.The sounds of drum and bass are extremely varied due to the range of influences behind the music. Drum and bass could at one time be defined as a strictly electronic musical genre, with the only "live" element being the DJ's selection and mixing of records during a set. "Live" drum and bass using electric, electronic and acoustic instruments played by musicians on stage emerged over the ensuing years of the genre's development.
A very obvious and strong influence on jungle and drum and bass, thanks to the British African-Caribbean sound system scene, is the original Jamaican dub and reggae sound, with pioneers like King Tubby, Peter Tosh, Sly & Robbie, Bill Laswell, Lee Perry, Mad Professor, Roots Radics, Bob Marley and Buju Banton heavily influencing the music.This influence has lessened with time, but is still evident, with many tracks containing ragga vocals.
As a musical style built around funk or syncopated rock and roll breaks, James Brown, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Ella Fitzgerald, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, the Supremes, the Commodores, Jerry Lee Lewis, and even Michael Jackson acted as funk influences on the music.Jazz pioneer Miles Davis has been named as a possible influence. Blues artists like Lead Belly, Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters and B.B King have also been cited by producers as inspirations. Even modern avant-garde composers such as Henryk Gorecki have received mention. One of the most influential tracks in drum and bass history was "Amen Brother" by The Winstons, which contains a drum solo that has since become known as the "Amen break", which, after being extensively used in early hip hop music, went on to become the basis for the rhythms used in drum and bass.
Kevin Saunderson released a series of bass-heavy, minimal techno cuts as Reese/The Reese Project in the late '80s, which were hugely influential in drum and bass. One of his more famous basslines (Reese – "Just Want Another Chance", Incognito Records, 1988) was indeed sampled on Renegade's Terrorist and countless others since, being known simply as the 'Reese' bassline. He followed these up with equally influential (and bassline-heavy) tracks in the UK hardcore style as Tronik House in 1991–1992. Another Detroit artist who was important to the scene was Carl Craig. The sampled-up jazz break on Craig's Bug in the Bassbin was also influential on the newly emerging sound. DJs at the Heaven nightclub on "Rage" nights used to play it as fast as their Technics record decks would go, pitching it up in the process.
By the late 1980s and early 1990s, the tradition of breakbeat use in hip hop production had influenced the sound of breakbeat hardcore, which in turn led to the emergence of jungle, drum and bass, and other genres that shared the same use of broken beats.Drum and bass shares many musical characteristics with hip-hop, though it is nowadays mostly stripped of lyrics. Grandmaster Flash, Roger Troutman, Afrika Bambaata, Run DMC, Mac Dre, Public Enemy, Schooly D, N.W.A, Kid Frost, Wu-Tang Clan, Dr. Dre, Mos Def, Beastie Boys and the Pharcyde are very often directly sampled, regardless of their general influence.
Clearly, drum and bass has been influenced by other music genres, though influences from sources external to the electronic dance music scene perhaps lessened following the shifts from jungle to drum and bass, and through to so-called "intelligent drum and bass" and techstep.It still remains a fusion music style.
Some tracks are illegally remixed and released on white label (technically bootleg), often to acclaim. For example, DJ Zinc's remix of The Fugees' "Ready or Not", also known as "Fugee Or Not", was eventually released with the Fugees' permission after talk of legal action, though ironically, the Fugees' version infringed Enya's copyright to an earlier song.White labels, along with dubplates, played an important part in drum and bass musical culture.
The Amen break was synonymous with early drum and bass productions but other samples have had a significant impact, including the Apache, Funky Drummer, "Soul Pride", "Scorpio" and "Think (About It)" breaks.Early pioneers often used Akai samplers and sequencers on the Atari ST to create their tracks.
Of equal importance is the TR-808 kick drum, an artificially pitch-downed or elongated bass drum sound sampled from Roland's classic TR-808 drum machine, and a sound which has been subject to an enormous amount of experimentation over the years.
Many drum and bass tracks have featured more than one sampled breakbeat in them and a technique of switching between two breaks after each bar developed. Examples of this can be heard on mid-90s releases such as J Majik's "Your Sound". A more recent commonly used break is the "Tramen", which combines the Amen break, a James Brown funk breakbeat ("Tighten Up" or "Samurai" break) and an Alex Reece drum and bass breakbeat.
The relatively fast drum beat forms a canvas on which a producer can create tracks to appeal to almost any taste and often will form only a background to the other elements of the music. Syncopated breakbeats remain the most distinctive element as without these a high-tempo 4/4 dance track could be classified as techno or gabber.
The complex syncopation of the drum tracks' breakbeat is another facet of production on which producers can spend a very large amount of time. The Amen break is generally acknowledged to have been the most-used (and often considered the most powerful) break in drum and bass.
The genre places great importance on the bassline, in this case a deep sub-bass musical pattern which can be felt physically through powerful sound systems due to the low-range frequencies favoured. There has been considerable exploration of different timbres in the bass line region, particularly within techstep. The bass lines most notably originate from sampled sources or synthesizers. Bass lines performed with a bass instrument, whether it is electric, acoustic or a double bass, are less common, but examples can be found in the work of artists such as Shapeshifter, Squarepusher, Pendulum, Roni Size and STS9.
Atmospheric pads and samples may be added over the fundamental drum and bass to provide different feels. These have included "light" elements such as ambient pads as found in ambient electronica and samples of jazz and world musics, or "dark" elements such as dissonant pads and sci-fi samples to induce anxiety in the dancer.
Old-school DnB usually included an MC providing vocals. Some styles (such as jazz influenced DnB) also include melodic instruments soloing over the music.
Drum and bass is usually between 160–180 BPM, in contrast to other breakbeat-based dance styles such as nu skool breaks, which maintain a slower pace at around 130–140 BPM. A general upward trend in tempo has been observed during the evolution of drum and bass. The earliest forms of drum and bass clocked in at around 130 bpm in 1990/1991, speeding up to around 155–165 BPM by 1993. Since around 1996, drum and bass tempos have predominantly stayed in the 170–180 range. Recently, some producers have started to once again produce tracks with slower tempos (that is, in the 150-170 bpm range), but the mid-170s tempo is still a hallmark of the drum and bass sound.
A track combining the same elements (broken beat, bass, production techniques) as a drum and bass track, but with a slower tempo (say 140 BPM), might not be drum and bass, but instead may qualify as a drum and bass-influenced breakbeat track.
Many mixing points begin or end with a "drop". The drop is the point in a track where a switch of rhythm or bassline occurs and usually follows a recognisable build section and breakdown. Sometimes, the drop is used to switch between tracks, layering components of different tracks, as the two records may be simply ambient breakdowns at this point. Some DJs prefer to combine breakbeats, a more difficult exercise. Some drops are so popular that the DJ will "rewind" or "reload" or "lift up" the record by spinning it back and restarting it at the build. The drop is often a key point from the point of view of the dance floor, since the drum breaks often fade out to leave an ambient intro playing. When the beats re-commence they are often more complex and accompanied by a heavier bassline, encouraging the crowd to begin dancing.
Drum and bass exhibits a full frequency response which can sometimes only be fully appreciated on sound systems which can handle very low frequencies, including sub-bass frequencies that are often felt more than heard. As befits its name, the bass element of the music is particularly pronounced, with the comparatively sparse arrangements of drum and bass tracks allowing room for basslines that are deeper than most other forms of dance music. Consequently, drum and bass parties are often advertised as featuring uncommonly loud and bass-heavy sound systems.
There are however many albums specifically designed for personal listening. The DJ mix is a particularly popular form of release, with a popular DJ or producer mixing live, or on a computer, a variety of tracks for personal listening. Additionally, there are many albums containing unmixed tracks, suited for home or car listening.
Although this practice has declined in popularity,DJs are often accompanied by one or more MCs, drawing on the genre's roots in hip hop and reggae/ragga.
MCs do not generally receive the same level of recognition as producer/DJs, and some events are specifically marketed as being MC-free. There are relatively few well-known drum and bass MCs, including Stevie Hyper D (deceased), MC GQ, MC Moose, MC Dett, MC Fearless, the Ragga Twins, Dynamite MC, MC Fats, MC Conrad, Shabba D, Skibadee, Bassman, MC Stamina, MC Fun, Evil B, Trigga, Eskman, Harry Shotta, Mr Traumatik and MC Infinity.
Many musicians have adapted drum and bass to live performances, which feature instruments such as drums (acoustic or electronic), samplers, synthesizers, turntables, bass (either upright or electric) and guitars (acoustic or electric). Samplers have also been used live by assigning samples to a specific drum pad or key on drum pads or synthesizers. MCs are frequently featured in live performances.
Drum and bass artists who perform using live instruments include:
Smaller scenes within the drum and bass community have developed and the scene as a whole has become much more fractured into specific subgenres, which have been groupedinto "light" (influenced by ambient, jazz, and world music) and "heavy" (influenced by industrial music, sci-fi, and anxiety) styles, including:
Born around the same time as jungle, breakcore and digital hardcore share many of the elements of drum and bass and to the uninitiated, tracks from the extreme end of drum and bass may sound identical to breakcore thanks to speed, complexity, impact and maximum sonic density combined with musical experimentation. German Drum and Bass DJ The Panacea is also one of the leading Digital Hardcore artists. Raggacore resembles a faster version of the ragga influenced jungle music of the 1990s, similar to breakcore but with more friendly dancehall beats (dancehall itself being a very important influence on drum and bass).Darkcore, a direct influence on drum and bass, was combined with influences of drum and bass itself leading to the creation of darkstep. There is considerable crossover from the extreme edges of drum and bass, breakcore, darkcore, digital hardcore and raggacore with fluid boundaries.
Dubstep originated from DnB slowed down to half speed and mixed with dub reggae, as experimental mixes on B-sides of garage records.
Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) is a form of art music based on DnB and other electronic dance musics, exploring their boundaries using ideas from science, technology, contemporary classical music and progressive rock, often creating un-danceable, art gallery style music. Pioneered by Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and other artists on Warp Records.
The genre has influenced many other genres like hip hop, big beat, house music, trip hop, ambient music, techno, rock and pop, with artists such as Bill Laswell, Incubus, Pitchshifter, Linkin Park, The Roots, Talvin Singh, MIDIval Punditz, Missy Elliott, The Freestylers, Bowery Electric, Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie (the last two both using elements of Goldie's "Timeless")[ citation needed ] and others quoting drum and bass and using drum and bass techniques and elements. Recently created in the United States is a genre called ghettotech which contains synth and basslines similar to drum & bass.
Drum and Bass is dominated by a small group of record labels. These are run mainly by DJ–producers, such as London Elektricity's Hospital Records, Andy C and Scott Bourne's RAM,Goldie's Metalheadz, Kasra's Critical Music, DJ Friction's Shogun Audio, DJ Fresh's Breakbeat Kaos, , Ed Rush & Optical's Virus Recordings, Futurebound's Viper Recordings and DJ Hype, Pascal, NoCopyrightSounds and formerly DJ Zinc's True Playaz (now known as Real Playaz as of 2006).
Prior to 2016, the major international music labels such as Sony Music and Universal had shown very little interest in the drum and bass scene, with the exception of some notable signings, including Pendulum's In Silico LP to Warner. Roni Size's label played a big, if not the biggest, part in the creation of drum and bass with their dark, baseline sounds. V Recordings also played a large part of the development of drum and bass. [ who? ] mainstream drum and bass tracks.[ citation needed ]Roni Size, Krust and DJ Die produced some of the first tracks to be considered
BMG Rights Management acquired Ram Records in February 2016,making a strategic investment to help RAM Records (a London-based drum and bass record company co-owned by Andy C and his business partner Scott Bourne). RAM Records has been pushing the boundaries of drum and bass further into the mainstream with artists such as Chase and Status and Sub Focus. Bringing back UK jungle music artists from LTJ Bukem's label Good Looking artists Bay B Kane, breakbeat hardcore heavyweight Nebula II and original junglist Gappa G.
Now defunct labels, include Rob Playford's Moving Shadow, running from 1990 until 2007, which played a pivotal role in the nineties drum and bass scene, releasing records by artists such as Omni Trio.
Originally drum and bass was mostly sold in 12-inch vinyl single format. With the emergence of drum and bass into mainstream music markets, more albums, compilations and DJ mixes started to be sold on CDs. As digital music became more popular, websites focused on electronic music, such as Beatport, began to sell drum and bass in digital format.
The bulk of drum and bass vinyl records and CDs are distributed globally and regionally by a relatively small number of companies such as SRD (Southern Record Distributors), ST Holdings, & Nu Urban Music Limited.
As of 11 September 2012, Nu Urban ceased trading and RSM Tenon were instructed to assist in convening statutory meetings of members and creditors to appoint a liquidator. This left many labels short on sales, as Nu Urban were one of the main distributors for the vinyl market in the drum and bass scene.
Despite its roots in the UK (with Fabric being the epicenter of DnB), still treated as the "home" of drum and bass, the style has firmly established itself around the world. There are strong scenes in other English-speaking countries including Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United States, and New Zealand.
DnB is popular in continental Europe. The Czech Republic currently hosts the largest drum and bass festival in the world, LET IT ROLL, with an annual attendance of approximately 30,000. The genre is also encountered in Slovakia, and local producers in both countries such as A-Cray, Rido, Forbidden Society, L Plus, B-Complex, Changing Faces, Lixx, Dephzac, and Gabanna are becoming well known worldwide. There are several other drum and bass festivals being held each year in these countries, including Trident Festival, Exploration Festival, or Hoofbeats Open Air in the summer, or one-night events such as LET IT ROLL Winter, Imagination Festival, and LET IT ROLL Winter Slovakia in the colder months. During club season, promoters race between each other to organize better events, often resulting in up to ten parties being held during one weekend, with no more than a two-hour travel between them.
Austria has a large emerging DnB scene with many artists such as Camo & Krooked, Mefjus, Fourward, Body & Soul, Ill.Skillz and mainly the Mainframe record label being all based in or around Vienna. Notable venues and events include "The Hive" and "Beat It" held at Flex almost every Thursday and Saturday, "Vollkontakt" at Fluc, "Switch" at Flex, and the monthly Mainframe Recordings Label Night hosted at Arena by label head Disaszt.
In Ireland, the biggest scene by far is in Dublin, with a night every Sunday by the Initial Kru mostly showcasing local DJ's but occasionally bringing over international guests such as Spirit and Seba. Record label Boey Audio also run events showcasing local, national and international acts, as well as promoters such as Sól Fúd, Ragga Jungle Dublin and Springfield Crew Massive. There are much smaller regional scenes in areas such as Limerick, Cork and Galway which usually have monthly nights.
Brazilian drum and bass is sometimes referred to as "sambass", with a specific samba-influenced style and sound made popular by artists like DJ Marky and XRS.
In Venezuela and Mexico, artists have created their own forms of drum and bass, combining it with experimental musical forms.
In Colombia, there is a large underground scene. RE.set and Bogotá Project are two collectives that organize drum and bass events in the city, as well as a bi-annual event called Radikal Styles that brings together local talent and international big names.
Today, drum and bass is widely promoted using different methods such as video sharing services like YouTube and Dailymotion, blogs, radio, and television, the latter being the most uncommon method. More recently, music networking websites such as SoundCloud and Mixcloud have become powerful tools for artist recognition, providing a vast platform that enables quick responses to new tracks. Record labels have adopted the use of podcasts. Prior to the rise of the internet, drum and bass was commonly broadcast over pirate radio.
The three highest-profile radio stations playing drum and bass shows are BBC Radio 1 with The Drum and Bass Show - formerly with Friction, who was replaced with René LaVice in 2017,simulcast in the US and Canada on Sirius XM, and DJ Hype on Kiss 100 in London. Fabio and Grooverider previously held a long-standing drum and bass show on Radio 1. Radio 1 also had a 'One in the Jungle' show.
The BBC's "urban" station BBC Radio 1Xtra used to feature the genre heavily, with DJ Bailey (show axed as of 29 August 2012) and Crissy Criss (show axed as of August 2014)as its advocates. The network also organizes a week-long tour of the UK each year called Xtra Bass. London pirate radio stations have been instrumental in the development of drum and bass, with stations such as Kool FM (which continues to broadcast today having done so since 1991), Origin FM, Don FM (the only drum and bass pirate to have gained a temporary legal license), Renegade Radio 107.2FM, Rude FM, Wax FM and Eruption among the most influential.
As of 2014, despite higher profile stations such as 1Xtra scaling back their drum and bass specialist coverage, the genre has made its way into UK top 10 charts with drum and bass inspired tracks from artists such as Rudimental and Sigma. Earlier in August 2014, before Crissy Criss' show was axed, the BBC held a whole prime time evening event dedicated to showcasing drum and bass by allowing four major labels to participate.
As of November 2014, there have been 6 drum & bass songs reaching the no.1 spot on the UK's top 40 chart, since the genre was first being played on the radio, around 1993. The first of these was in 2012. The fact that all 6 of these songs have reached number 1 in only two years shows the increase in popularity and commercialisation of the genre in recent years. The artists that produced these songs are Sigma, Rudimental and DJ Fresh (all have had two No.1 hits).
Internet radio stations, acting in the same light as pirate stations, have also been an instrumental part in promoting drum and bass music; the majority of them funded by listener and artist donations.
Drum and bass was supported by Ministry of Sound radio from the early 2000s until 2014 and later featuring Tuesday shows from labels such as Metalheadz, Fabio & Grooverider, DJ Marky, Viper Recordings, Shogun Audio and Hospital Records. From September 2014, Ministry abruptly dropped all non-mainstream genres to focus on mainstream EDM, causing disappointment amongst the fans of the D&B community.The leading Drum & Bass radio Station is now Denver's DnB Radio, established in 2003 by M. Ramirez.
In Toronto, The Prophecy on 89.5 CIUT-FM with Marcus Visionary, DJ Prime and Mr. Brown Is North America's longest running Jungle Radio show.[ citation needed ]
Album 88.5 (Atlanta) and C89.5fm (Seattle) have shows showcasing drum and bass.
In New York, "DNB NYC RADIO" show with Host Dj Benzocaine on 90.3 WHCR-FM has a weekly 3 hour show which broadcasts in New York and New Jersey which plays only Drum and Bass every Thursday starting at 3 am. "DNB NYC RADIO" is the only weekly Drum and Bass show on the FM dial in Northeastern United States.
Seattle also has a long-standing electronica show known as Expansions on 90.3 FM KEXP. The rotating DJs include Kid Hops, whose shows are made up mostly of drum and bass. In Columbus, Ohio WCBE 90.5 has a two-hour electronic only showcase, "All Mixed Up," Saturday nights at 10 pm. At the same time WUFM 88.7 plays its "Electronic Playground."
Also, Tulsa, Oklahoma's rock station, 104.5 The Edge, has a two-hour show starting at 10 pm Saturday nights called Edge Essential Mix mixed by DJ Demko showcasing electronic and drum and bass style. While the aforementioned shows in Ohio rarely play drum and bass, the latter plays the genre with some frequency.
In Tucson, Arizona, 91.3 FM KXCI has a two-hour electronic show known as "Digital Empire", Friday nights at 10 pm (MST). Resident DJ Trinidad showcases various styles of electronica, with the main focus being drum and bass, jungle & dubstep.
In Augusta, Georgia, Zarbizarre of the Cereal Killaz hosts a show called FreQuency on WHHD on Friday nights from 11 pm until 1 am, showcasing drum and bass during the 2nd hour of the show.
The best-known drum and bass publication was Kmag magazine (formerly called Knowledge Magazine) before it went completely online in August 2009. Although it's still live, after 20 years Kmag ceased updating their site at the end of 2014. Kmag has announced a book to celebrate their 25th anniversary to be published in December 2019. Kmag's publishing arm, Vision, published Brian Belle-Fortune's All Crews Journeys Through Jungle Drum & Bass Culture in 2004.
Other publications include the longest running drum and bass magazine worldwide, ATM Magazine, and Austrian-based Resident . London-based DJ magazine has also been running a widely respected drum and bass reviews page since 1994, written by Alex Constantinides, which many followers refer to when seeking out new releases to investigate. In 2012 Alex stopped writing the reviews, and they are now contributed by Whisky Kicks.
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The earliest mainstream drum and bass releases include Shy FX and UK Apache's single "Original Nuttah" from 1994 and Goldie's album Timeless from 1995. Other early examples include the Mercury Music Prize winning albums New Forms (1997) from Reprazent and OK (1998) from Talvin Singh, 4hero's Mercury-nominated Two Pages from 1998, and Pendulum's Hold Your Colour in 2005 (the best selling drum and bass album of all time).
Video games such as Bomberman Hero , Hi-Rez Studios' Tribes: Ascend , Electronic Arts' Need for Speed: Undercover , Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto series, and Sony's Wipeout series from Pure onward have contained drum and bass tracks. Microsoft Studios' Forza Horizon 2, 3 and 4 feature a Hospital Records radio channel.
The genre has some popularity in soundtracks; for instance, "Ultrasonic Sound" was used in The Matrix's soundtrack, and the E-Z Rollers' song "Walk This Land" appeared in the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels .Ganja Kru's "Super Sharp Shooter" is heard in the 2006 film Johnny Was .
The Channel 4 show Skins uses the genre in some episodes, notably in the first series' third episode, "Jal", where Shy FX and UK Apache's "Original Nuttah" was played in Fazer's club.
Breakbeat hardcore is a genre of hardcore music of the late 1980s and early 1990s that combines four-on-the-floor rhythms with breakbeats, and is associated with the UK rave scene. In addition to the including of breakbeats, the genre also features shuffled drum machine patterns, upbeat piano rolls and old-school hoover sounds.
Breakbeat is a broad style of electronic or dance-oriented music which utilizes breaks, often sampled from earlier recordings in funk, jazz and R&B, for the main rhythm. Breakbeats have been used in styles such as hip hop, jungle, drum and bass, big beat, hardcore, and UK garage styles.
Jungle is a genre of electronic music that developed in England in the early 1990s as part of UK rave scenes. Emerging from the breakbeat hardcore scene, the style is characterized by rapid breakbeats, dub reggae basslines, heavily syncopated percussive loops, samples, and synthesized effects. Long pitch-shifted snare rolls are common in old-school jungle. Jungle was a predecessor to drum and bass, which saw success in the late 1990s.
Happy hardcore, also known as happy rave or happycore, is a genre of hard dance typified by a very fast tempo, often coupled with solo vocals or sentimental lyrics. Its characteristically 4/4 beat "happy" sound distinguishes it from most other forms of hardcore, which tend to be "darker". It is typically in a major key. In its original incarnation, it was often characterized by piano riffs, synthetic stabs and spacey effects. This genre of music is closely related to the typically Dutch genre of gabber and the typically Spanish genre of makina. Happy hardcore evolved from breakbeat hardcore around 1991–1993, as the original house music-based rave became faster and began to include breakbeats, evolving into oldschool jungle which evolved into drum and bass. Some of the most famous artists of this genre include Brisk and Ham, Scott Brown, Force and Styles, Sy and Unknown, Hixxy, DJ Paul Elstak, Anabolic Frolic, Dune, Scooter, Critical Mass, Stu Allan, Vibes, Dougal, Slipmatt, DJ Sharkey, DJ Seduction.
4-beat is a breakbeat style of music that emerged around 1993. It evolved from breakbeat hardcore emanating from the United Kingdom rave scene. Due to the sheer scale of the United Kingdom rave scene, the popularity of this particular music was largely limited to England where it was almost exclusively produced and played.
Bouncy techno is a hardcore dance music rave style that developed in the early 1990s from Scotland and North England. Described as an accessible gabber-like form, it was popularised by Scott Brown under numerous aliases. The sound became prominent in the northern United Kingdom rave scene before it broke into the hardcore homeland of the Netherlands through Paul Elstak, where it became known there as happy hardcore and funcore.
Moving Shadow was an English breakbeat hardcore, jungle and drum and bass record label which was founded in 1990 by Rob Playford. Moving Shadow grew to be a well-regarded and long-lived publisher with over 200 releases.
Darkcore or darkside is a music subgenre of breakbeat hardcore and jungle that became popular in the United Kingdom. It is recognized as being one of the direct precursors of the genre now known as drum and bass. Popular from late 1992 and through 1993, Darkcore was a counter movement to Happy Hardcore, which also evolved from Breakbeat Hardcore.
Liquid funk, liquid drum & bass, liquid DnB, liquid or sometimes just melodic drum & bass is a subgenre of drum and bass. While it uses similar basslines and bar layouts to other styles, it contains fewer bar-oriented samples and more instrumental layers, harmonies, melodies and ambiance, producing a sentimental atmosphere directed at home listeners as well as nightclub and rave audiences. Music genres such as jazz, soul and sometimes blues have a pivotal influence on liquid funk.
UK hardcore is a genre of music which evolved from and incorporates sound elements from happy hardcore. UK hardcore has a characteristically "harder" style by its "thicker" harsher bassline, as well as less of the breakbeat associated with the happy hardcore music of the 1990s.
Breakstep, or breakbeat garage, is a genre of music that evolved from the UK garage scene and influenced the emergence of dubstep.
Dance music is music composed specifically to facilitate or accompany dancing. It can be either a whole musical piece or part of a larger musical arrangement. In terms of performance, the major categories are live dance music and recorded dance music. While there exist attestations of the combination of dance and music in ancient times, the earliest Western dance music that we can still reproduce with a degree of certainty are the surviving medieval dances. In the Baroque period, the major dance styles were noble court dances. In the classical music era, the minuet was frequently used as a third movement, although in this context it would not accompany any dancing. The waltz also arose later in the classical era. Both remained part of the romantic music period, which also saw the rise of various other nationalistic dance forms like the barcarolle, mazurka, ecossaise, ballade and polonaise.
Drum and bass is a type of breakbeat hardcore that originated in the UK that emerged from the country's jungle scene in the early 90s. The genre would go on to become one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music, becoming international and spawning multiple different derivatives and subgenres.
2-step garage, or simply 2-step, is typically an English genre of modern electronic music and a relatively popular subgenre of UK garage. One of the primary characteristics of the 2-step sound – the term being coined to describe "a general rubric for all kinds of jittery, irregular rhythms that don't conform to garage's traditional four-on-the-floor pulse" – is that the rhythm lacks the kick drum pattern found in many other styles of electronic music with a regular four-on-the-floor beat.
Reggae Owes Me Money is the debut album by British duo The Ragga Twins, produced by hardcore duo Shut Up and Dance and released on the latter's record label of the same name. After establishing themselves as separate dancehall artists from the Unity soundsystem in the 1980s, the Ragga Twins switched direction in the early 1990s, combining into a duo after signing to Shut Up & Dance's label. The production duo stirred the Ragga Twins' change in direction, fusion their previous reggae and dancehall style into the Shut Up & Dance hardcore dance style.
Whether they were black or white, these artists reaffirmed drum and bass's place in an African continuum (dub, hip hop James Brown, etc...) whose premise constitute a radical break with Western music, classical and pop.
So when I talk about the vibe disappearing from drum and bass, I'm talking about the blackness going as the ragga samples get phased out, the bass loses its reggae feels and becomes more linear and propulsive rather than moving around the beat with a syncopated relation with the drum.
Where intelligent drum and bass suffers from a obsessive-compulsive cleanliness, techstep production is deliberately dirty, all dense murk and noxious drones.
When the drum and bass gradually fell into the orbit of techno, the MC — both as a samplesource taken from dancehall and rap records and as a live partner of the DJ in the club — began to disappear from the music.
At clubs like AWOL, the ruling sound is the gangsta hard-step and 'jump up' jungle of labels like Ganja, Frontline, Dread, Suburban Base and Dope Dragon, made by DJ—producers like Hype, Pascal, Andy C, Ray Keith, L. Double, Shy FX...
the popularity of the sambass subgenre, exported to the dance clubs and pop charts of the UK by Brazil's DJ Marky in the mid-2000s, or the Asian drum 'n' breaks scene, which draws on classical Indian music, bhangra and Bollywood film soundtracks.
Techstep is a subgenre of drum 'n' bass characterised by harsh noise, tonal dissonance and a discourse of sonic violence.
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