Drum and bass – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Music Glossary

I. What is Drum and Bass?

Drum and Bass, often abbreviated as DnB, is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the United Kingdom in the early 1990s. It is characterized by fast breakbeats, syncopated rhythms, and heavy basslines. Drum and Bass music typically features complex drum patterns, sampled vocals, and a futuristic sound that sets it apart from other genres of electronic music.

II. Origins and History of Drum and Bass

Drum and Bass evolved from the UK rave scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s, where DJs and producers experimented with combining elements of hip-hop, reggae, and techno music. The genre gained popularity in clubs and underground parties, with artists like LTJ Bukem, Goldie, and Roni Size leading the way.

The term “Drum and Bass” was first used in the mid-1990s to describe the genre’s focus on fast, intricate drum patterns and deep basslines. The music was often played at a tempo of around 160-180 beats per minute, making it one of the fastest genres of electronic dance music.

III. Characteristics of Drum and Bass Music

Drum and Bass music is characterized by its high-energy, fast-paced rhythms and intricate drum patterns. The genre often features chopped-up breakbeats, sampled vocals, and heavy basslines that create a sense of urgency and intensity on the dancefloor.

One of the defining characteristics of Drum and Bass music is its use of the “Amen break,” a drum loop sampled from the song “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons. This breakbeat has been used in countless Drum and Bass tracks and has become a staple of the genre.

Other common elements of Drum and Bass music include atmospheric pads, rolling basslines, and complex synth melodies. The genre is known for its futuristic sound and innovative production techniques, with artists constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible in electronic music.

IV. Key Artists and Producers in Drum and Bass

Some of the most influential artists and producers in the Drum and Bass scene include LTJ Bukem, Goldie, Roni Size, Andy C, and DJ Hype. These artists have helped shape the sound of Drum and Bass music and have inspired countless others to take up the genre.

LTJ Bukem is known for his smooth, jazzy take on Drum and Bass, while Goldie is famous for his dark, industrial sound. Roni Size is credited with popularizing the genre with his Mercury Prize-winning album “New Forms,” which brought Drum and Bass music to a wider audience.

Andy C and DJ Hype are renowned for their DJ skills and have been instrumental in promoting Drum and Bass music through their record labels and radio shows. These artists have helped to establish Drum and Bass as a global phenomenon, with a dedicated fan base around the world.

V. Subgenres of Drum and Bass

Over the years, Drum and Bass has evolved into a diverse and vibrant genre with many subgenres and styles. Some of the most popular subgenres of Drum and Bass include liquid funk, neurofunk, jump-up, and jungle.

Liquid funk is known for its smooth, melodic sound and soulful vocals, while neurofunk is characterized by its dark, futuristic sound and complex rhythms. Jump-up is a more energetic and playful style of Drum and Bass, with catchy hooks and heavy basslines that are designed to get the crowd moving.

Jungle is a subgenre of Drum and Bass that originated in the early 1990s and is known for its fast breakbeats, reggae influences, and chopped-up samples. Jungle music has a raw, underground sound that has influenced many artists in the Drum and Bass scene.

VI. Influence of Drum and Bass on Dance Music Culture

Drum and Bass has had a significant impact on dance music culture, influencing artists and producers across a wide range of genres. The genre’s fast-paced rhythms and innovative production techniques have inspired countless musicians to push the boundaries of electronic music.

Drum and Bass music has also played a key role in the development of other genres, such as dubstep, trap, and future bass. Artists like Skrillex, Noisia, and Pendulum have all drawn inspiration from Drum and Bass in their own music, helping to bring the genre to new audiences and expand its influence.

In addition to its musical influence, Drum and Bass has also had a profound impact on dance culture and nightlife around the world. The genre’s high-energy beats and intense rhythms have made it a favorite among club-goers and festival attendees, with events like Hospitality and Let It Roll drawing thousands of fans each year.

Overall, Drum and Bass music continues to be a driving force in the electronic music scene, with artists and producers constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible in dance music. The genre’s unique sound and innovative production techniques have helped to shape the landscape of electronic music and inspire a new generation of musicians and fans.