Drum ‘n’ Bass started as a tangent of the UK rave scene in the early 1990s and is electronic music characterised by two unique elements. First are the fast tempo, broken beat drums, largely programmed by the use of a Roland 808 drum machine with the dial set to about 160 – 180 bpms. The second are the gut-wrenching, chest-pounding sub bass lines that are usually sampled or created by the use of a synthesizer and looped.
The genre began as and remains an underground phenomenon, although a couple of tracks did make an impression on the charts during it’s peak. As an ever changing style of music, it reflects the many and different elements in it’s roots from ragga, dancehall, electro, funk and hip hop through house, jazz, reggae and rock to techno and trance.
These diverse influences helped shape the style that covers the entire spectrum of sounds from heavy, hardcore, industrial electronic music all the way through to the jazz-influenced use of acoustic instruments.
Drum ‘n’ Bass is probably best listened to and experienced in a club. However, that is not where I first heard the music. When I arrived in Dublin, fresh-faced and innocent, in 1997 I wandered into Tower Records on Wicklow Street for the first time and came across a compilation called ‘Earth II’.
Packaged in a copper coloured box and curated by LTJ Bukem (Danny Williamson) it intrigued me. I listened to it and was blown away. The jazzy atmospheric electronic music blended perfectly with the heavy drum beats. This was some dope shit and nothing like what I had been listening to in America.
I worked hard and saved my punts for about two months so that I could by the CD. ‘Earth II’ was the very first album that I bought in Dublin and I spent many months and lots more money on the output of Good Looking Records.
This mix is my take on the genre. There are some obvious tunes and some not-so-obvious that may or may not really be Drum ‘n’ Bass. But the intention was to push the boundaries a bit and create an interesting listen.
Drum ‘n’ Bass 1ne
02. The Sun Rising (Tom’s Drum & Bass Mix) // The Beloved
03. A Festa // Truby Trio
04. Sweet Sunshine // Ils And Solo
05. Nightlines (Original Mix) // Alexkid
06. Rainfall // LTJ Bukem
07. Heroes // Roni Size Reprazent
08. Sugar Is Sweeter (Drum ‘n’ Bass Mix) // CJ Bolland
09. Distorted Reality // Bjorn
10. Inner City Life (Album Version) // Goldie
04. Ils And Solo recorded several tracks for Good Looking Records in the mid 1990s. ‘Sweet Sunshine’ is a perfect example of Intelligent Drum ‘n’ Bass and appears on ‘Points In Time 004’.
05. Alexkid is a French knob twiddler with a love for all things dance-y. ‘Nightlines’ is from his album ‘Bienvenida’ but I came across it on ‘Cafe del Mar Chillhouse Mix 3’. It is a really unique tune that connects the dots between Deep House and Drum ‘n’ Bass. All in less than seven minutes.
06. No Drum ‘n’ Bass mix would be complete without an LTJ tune. I chose ‘Rainfall’ in an effort to shy away from the obvious. But believe me it was tough. There were about another two dozen other songs I would have loved to include by him.
07. ‘Heroes’ is one of the biggest Drum ‘n’ Bass songs ever recorded. Full stop. A stone cold classic.
08. Is it House or is it Drum ‘n’ Bass? Is it both? Who cares? It’s a fucking great song. CJ Bolland does his best Alexkid impersonation by combining Deep House and Drum ‘n’ Bass to perfection with ‘Sugar Is Sweeter (Drum ‘n’ Bass Mix)’.
09. Bjorn recorded and released a handful of 12″ singles on Good Looking Records and Cookin’ Records. ‘Distorted Reality’ can be found on ‘Earth III’ and is a tune that HAS to be heard LOUD.
10. Released in 1994 ‘Inner City Life’ is the biggest selling and probably most recognizable Drum ‘n’ Bass song ever recorded. The song has sold over 15,000 copies on vinyl alone. The album, ‘Timeless’ is the considered the best Drum ‘n’ Bass album of all time. Both have made Goldie famous and a bit of a household name for a couple of years.
And that’s it. There you have it. Drum ‘n’ Bass 1ne. Enjoy…