Written by: Russell McMahon and James Harrison
Edited by: Sarah Case
To truly appreciate music you should know where it comes from. In this blog series we are going to look at the different sub-genres of Drum & Bass and how they came to be. So here’s your “what’s it all about” guide to Drum & Bass from a Frogbeats perspective.
Let’s start with the easy stuff. Drum & Bass, or DnB, generally operates at a tempo of between 160 and 180BPM and tends to be more syncopated than the electronic styles out of which it grew. It tends to focus on break-beats and huge bass-lines influenced by dub and reggae. DnB is one of the most diverse genres of electronic music, with its own sub-genres forging connections with just about every other type of music from techno to blues.
To understand where DnB comes from you need to be familiar with Jungle. This is the Granddaddy of Drum & Bass, which came about from the underground dance scene in the early 1990s. DnB came out of the acid house and rave scene back in the 1990’s by crossing Jungle with the more popular electronic music styles of the time.
Naturally music evolves from generation to generation as new artists step in to create their own signature sound. This is what occurred in the turn of the millennium when artists such as Fabio began championing a new form of DnB called ‘Liquid Funk’ on his Creative Source label. This took influences from Funk, Disco, Latin, Jazz & Soca (Carribean music originating from Trinidad & Tobago) generally using the raw sound of instrument in recording. The tempos vary a lot.
Atmospheric & Intelligent
From liquid funk came two styles of DnB: ‘Atmospheric’ and ‘Intelligent’. These are adaptations of Liquid Funk but have a more synthetic sound, using smooth, melodic and dark synths, deep bass and samples in place of the organic elements of new instruments. This made Drum & Bass more widely accepted than ever before, taking the genre from full-on drug fueled raves in a muddy field to music you can appreciate and relax to on a sober sunny afternoon.
Here is an example of an ‘Atmospheric’ track – Nasty Habits – Deep Beatz
Here is an example of an ‘Intelligent’ track – Alix Perez – Fade Away
Liquid Drum & Bass
Artists from the UK such as Eveson, Alix Perez and Lenzman began catching on in the late 00’s and forged ‘Liquid DnB’. These innovative artists tended to steer away from Amen Breaks and 808s, and brought new sounds to the Drum & Bass scene. It was essentially a hybrid between Liquid Funk and the more electronic Intelligent/Atmospheric DnB, making it subtly different from Liquid Funk itself. It resulted in a vast platform for producers to create original music since so many genres could be combined and digital production became more accessible.
In terms of the mood the music sets, Liquid DnB which borrows more of the sentimental and melodic characteristics of jazz and house vocals over the fast drums and big basslines. The results are fluid-like. It’s more about creating the feel and setting the scene than making people dance.
FEEL FREE TO COMMENT
We’re interested in your opinions. Send us some of your favourite tracks incorporated in these sub-genres. We’re always interested in discovering new music.