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Drum & Bass

GENRES

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INSIDE THE RIDE

Drum and bass is a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 1990s in the United Kingdom. Commonly abbreviated to d&b the genre is characterised by fast-paced breakbeats (typically between 160-180 beats per minute), syncopated drum patterns, and deep basslines. The roots of drum and bass can be traced back to the UK rave scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s and evolved from the fusion of various musical styles, including hardcore, breakbeat, reggae, hip-hop, dub and dancehall- resulting in the birth of jungle.

With the introduction of new laws affecting the dance music industry and new drugs making an appearance, the rave scene started to change and the music followed suit. DJs and producers began experimenting with different breakbeats and manipulating samples to create unique sounds- jungle became a sub-genre within the wider-reaching genre of drum & bass. Drum and bass continued to gain popularity and various subgenres and styles emerged, such as; liquid funk, jump-up, neurofunk, and more. The genre expanded globally, with scenes developing in countries around the world.

Over the years drum and bass has sometimes had a turbulent relationship with the mainstream music industry. Originally rejected as street music in its infancy, the genre built itself a strong and self-sufficient community which has thrived in the underground for more than 30 years. However, drum and bass has long threatened widespread acceptance, with M-Beat and General Levy’s ‘Incredible’ chartting in 1994 and Roni Size & Reprazent’s New Forms winning the 1997 Mercury Music award. Since then the genre has prospered outside of major label limelight with the occasional hit. Now it has become usual to hear drum and bass charting high in the top 40, as well as being used in adverts, film and video games, proving the resilience and longevity of the genre.

SUBGENRES

Since its birth in the early ‘90s Drum and Bass has evolved into a rich tapestry of subgenres, each offering its own distinct sonic experience. Jungle, characterised by breakbeats and reggae influences, represents the genre’s roots and is known for its raw, high-energy sound. Liquid d&b takes a more melodic and soulful approach, featuring lush, atmospheric textures and soothing rhythms that create a smoother, more emotional vibe. Jump Up leans towards a more aggressive and energetic sound, with heavy basslines and punchy beats that are designed to ignite dancefloors with their sheer intensity. Neurofunk delves into the darker and more experimental side of d&b, characterised by intricate, twisted basslines and a futuristic, dystopian ambiance. Meanwhile, dancefloor caters to the party scene, offering accessible, infectious rhythms and hooks designed to keep crowds moving and grooving. Together, these subgenres as well as many others showcase the diverse and ever-evolving nature of the genre, each offering its own unique spin on the signature elements of high-tempo beats and bass.

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