DRUM & BASS

DRUM & BASS

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In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a growing nightclub culture gave birth to a new electronic music style called Rave music, which combined regular beats alongside broken, ... read more
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Biography

Labels: Idlers

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a growing nightclub culture gave birth to a new electronic music style called Rave music, which combined regular beats alongside broken, syncopated beats, strong basslines and a faster tempo than that of house music. By 1991, musical tracks made up of only “broken” beats began to be known as “jungle”, branching off into a separate musical genre (circa 1991-1992) popular at raves and on pirate radio in urban Britain.

These tracks often combined ragga vocal tracks with broken beats and bass lines. By 1994 jungle began to gain mainstream popularity and fans of the music (known as junglists) became a recognizable part of British youth subculture. The sound took on a very urban, raggamuffin sound, incorporating dancehall ragga-style MC chants, dub basslines, but also increasingly complex, high tempo rapid fire breakbeat percussion. At this time jungle began to be associated with criminals and criminal activity and perhaps as a reaction or perhaps independently of this, producers began to move away from the ragga style and create what they labeled drum and bass. There is no clear point at which jungle became drum and bass, though most jungle producers continue to produce what they call drum and bass.

As the music style became more polished and sophisticated, it began to shift from pirate to commercial radio and gain widespread acceptance (circa 1995-1997). It also began to split into recognizable subgenres such as jump-up and Neuro. As a lighter sound of drum and bass began to win over the musical mainstream, many producers continued to work on the other end of the spectrum. This resulted in a series of releases offering a dark, technical sound which drew more influence from techno music and the soundscapes of science fiction and anime films, this subgenre became known as techstep (circa 1997-1998).

Towards the turn of the millennium, the UK garage sound emerged and quickly eclipsed drum and bass in popularity. Drawing a key part of its inspiration from drum and bass, it was commonly believed that UK garage was a replacement of the genre and statements were made to the effect that “drum and bass is dead”. However, consistent development of the genre proved otherwise. The appearance of liquid funk and other subgenres brought a wave of new artists incorporating new ideas and techniques, supporting continual evolution of the genre. Drum and bass is perhaps not well-known as a genre, but makes frequent, unrecognized appearances in the mainstream such as in television commercials, as well as being a major influence for other musical styles and some of its artists.