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Drum and Bass

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Drum and Bass

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Drum and bass
Stylistic origins: Breakbeat hardcore, Techno, Hip hop, Reggae/Ragga, Dancehall/Dub, Funk, Breakbeat
Cultural origins: early/mid-1990s, London, Bristol
Typical instruments: Synthesizer - Drum machine - Sequencer - Keyboard - Sampler - Laptop
Mainstream popularity: Small, largely based in UK at first, now global
Clownstep - Darkstep - Drumfunk - Hardstep - Intelligent drum and bass - Jump-Up - Liquid funk - Neurofunk - Techmospheric - Techstep - Wobble
Fusion genres
Breakcore - Breakstep - Dubstep - Hipstep - Techbreaks - Jazzstep

Drum and bass (commonly abbreviated dnb or d'n'b) is a type of electronic dance music also known as jungle.

It began as an offshoot of the United Kingdom breakbeat hardcore and rave scene and came into existence in the early 1990s. Over the first decade of its existence, drum and bass saw many permutations in style, incorporating everything from reggae and jazz to techno and trance. Today it is usually heard in nightclubs and its most recognizable features include a heavy emphasis on fast tempo drums in addition to loud intricate basslines.



Pre-jungle / drum & bass notables

Before the start of drum & bass proper, or even the scenes preceding it, special mention needs to be given to a few scenes and individuals.

The first is the US breakbeat scene which emerged in the 1980s, the most famous artist being NYC's Frankie Bones whose infamous 'Bones Breaks' series from the late '80's onwards helped push the house-tempoed breakbeat sound (especially in the UK) and can be said to be a direct precursor to the UK breakbeat / hardcore scene.

The second is Kevin Saunderson, who released a series of bass-heavy, minimal techno cuts as Reese / The Reese Project in the late '80s which were hugely influential in d&b terms. One of his more infamous basslines was indeed sampled on Renegade's 'Terrorist' and countless others since, being known simply as the 'Reese' bassline. He followed these up with equally influential (and bassline heavy) tracks in the UK hardcore style as Tronik House in 1991 / 1992. Another Detroit artist who was important for the scene is Carl Craig. The sampled up jazz break on Carl Craig's "Bug in the Bassbin" was also influential on the newly emerging sound, DJs at Rage used to play it pitched up as far as the Technics would go.

The third precursor worth mentioning here is the Miami, USA Booty Bass / Miami Bass scene, first popularised by 2 Live Crew in the mid to late '80's. There are clear sonic parallels with drum bass here in the use of uptempo synths and drum machines in producing bass-heavy party music. However, this movement had absolutely no connection with either the US house scene or the UK acid house / rave scene, and to that extent is not classifiable as 'rave' music in the same way as the above examples possibly are.

Beginnings in the UK

Main article: Oldschool jungle

Several key tracks and acts from the acid house period, in late 1980s Britain, laid the foundations for both hardcore and jungle/drum & bass. Renegade Soundwave's 'The Phantom' and 'Ozone Breakdown' (both 1988), Meat Beat Manifesto's 'Radio Babylon' (1989), 808 State's 'Cubik' (1990) and Humanoid's 'Stakker Humanoid' (1988) are such examples of acid-era experimentation with breaks and bass. In addition, the bleep techno (or Yorkshire Bleeps and Bass) sound of 1989 - 1991 would prove hugely influential, featuring bass-heavy cuts by acts such as Unique 3, Nexus 21, Nightmares on Wax and LFO, and spearheaded by Sheffield's Warp Records. The third immediate and direct influence on drum & bass' existence was the 'Belgian Techno' sound, actually an internationally-created fusion of hardcore, house and techno, pioneered by Joey Beltram, LA Style, Frank De Wulf, CJ Bolland, Richie Hawtin and others. This scene existed briefly from approximately 1989-1990 to 1992 at the very latest, during which period there was much cross-pollination with the UK hardcore sound. This sound did survive in various forms in its mother countries - primarily Belgium, Holland and Germany - beyond 1992, but the general scenes in these countries had shifted over to trance, house, industrial techno or gabba (or happy hardcore / hard house, in UK terms).

Drum and bass has its origins in breakbeat hardcore, a part of the UK rave scene. Hardcore DJs typically played their records at fast tempos, and breakbeat hardcore emphasised breakbeats over the 4-to-the-floor beat structure common to house music. Breakbeat hardcore records (commonly called 'tunes' within the community) Lennie De Ice's "We are I.E" (1991), Rebel MC's 'Wickedest Sound' (1990) and 'Tribal Bass' (1991), the Ragga Twins' 'Spliffhead' (1990), Genaside II's 'Narramine' (1991), Nightmares On Wax's 'Aftermath' (1990) and LTJ Bukem's Demon's Theme (1991) are generally credited [1] as being among the first to have a recognizable drum and bass sound. Although this title arguably belongs toMeat Beat Manifesto's 'Radio Babylon', recorded in 1989, and still recognisably 'drum & bass' in sound today.

It is worth mentioning that, as with today's drum & bass and with pop music in general, pieces were recorded, promoted (or recorded onto dub plate) and played in public, often with a delay of 6 months or more before any official release. It is fair to say there was a proliferation of 'jungle techno'-style tracks being produced played in nightclubs and raves from 1990 onwards (although without a separate scene at that particular moment). The term also gained popularity with hardcore MCs (such as Mann Parris, 5-0 and Mad P of Top Buzz) at around the same time.

Some hardcore tracks at the time were extremely light and upbeat; the most extreme example of this were the so called "toy-town" tracks such as Smart E's' Sesame's Treat which features the children's show Sesame Street theme song. This style of hardcore would many years later be known as happy hardcore.

In response to these lighter tracks, some producers started focusing on darker, more aggressive sounds; this style became known as darkside hardcore, or darkcore. Strange noises and effects, syncopated rhythms made from rearranged funk breaks and loud bass lines defined the genre. Examples of darkcore include Goldie's Terminator (1992), Rufige Kru's 'Darkrider' (1992), Top Buzz's 'Living In Darkness' (1992) and Nasty Habits' (aka Doc Scott) Here Comes the Drumz (1992). These took their cue from the darker sounds of 'Belgian Techno', as found in tracks such as Beltram's 'Mentasm' and 'Energy Flash' (1991), as well as the dark breaks of 4 Hero 's 'Mr Kirks Nightmare' (1990) and The Psychopaths' 'Nightmare' (1991) among other examples. The legendary hardcore / techno label Rising High deserves a mention here, for pushing the darker sound a good 12 months or so before the rest of the scene (as well as pioneering jungle, in the shape of Project One).

This darker, more aggressive sound appealed to many in the dancehall and raggae communities. Both darkcore and dancehall shared an emphasis on rhythm and bass, and the tempos were well suited to be mixed together. Soon many elements of dancehall raggae were being incorporated into the hardcore sound.

Whilst it has been suggested that it was the dancehall-aware black youth of Britain who fueled the drum and bass scene in the early days, this is not entirely true as there was substantial white following in northern British cities. The drum and bass subculture today has retained this racial diversity.

The influence of Jamaican sound-system culture can be found in the use of basslines and remixing techniques derived from Dub and Reggae music, alongside the fast breakbeats and samples derived from urban musics such as hip hop, Funk, jazz, and r&b alongside many production techniques borrowed from early electronic music such as house, and techno.

As the genre aged, the use of sampled funk breakbeats became increasingly complex (most notably and wide spread is the Amen break taken from a b-side funk track "Amen, My Brother" by the Winston Brothers) producers began cutting apart loops and using the component drum sounds to create new rhythms. To match the complex drum lines, basslines which had less in common with the simple patterns of house and techno music than with the complex phrasings of dub and hip hop began to be used. Gradually, the bass and drum elements began to dominate to the music and -- combined with the liberal use of 32nd notes and abstract time signatures -- drum and bass became incompatible with house and techno and began to develop its own separate identity. This sonic identity became highly-distinctive for both the depth of its bass and the increasingly-complex, rapid-fire breakbeat percussion. Vastly different rhythmic patterns were distinctively being used, as well as new types of sampling, synthesis and effects processing techiniques, resulting in a greater focus on the intricacies of sampling/synthesis production and rhythm. This notably included early use of the Time stretching effect which was often used on percussion or vocal samples. As the influences of reggae and dub became more prominent, the sound of drum and bass began to take on an urban sound which was heavily influenced by ragga and dancehall music as well as hip hop, often incorporating the distinctive vocal styles of these musical genres. This raggae/dancehall influenced sound is most commonly associated with the term jungle.

Particular tracks from the 1992 - 1993 period that demonstrated some of the beat and sampling progression within drum and bass include: Kaotik Kemistry 'Illegal Subs' (1992), DJ Crystl 'Warpdrive' (1993), Foul Play 'Open Your Mind' (Remix) (1993), Bizzy B 'Ecstacy is a Science' (1993) and Danny Breaks / Droppin Science 'Droppin Science vol 1' (1993). This was an ongoing process however and can be demonstrated as a gradual progression over dozens of tracks in this period.

However, as the early nineties saw drum and bass break out from its underground roots and begin to win popularity with the general British public, many producers attempted to expand the influences of the music beyond the domination of ragga-based sounds. By 1995, a counter movement to the ragga style was emerging, dubbed "intelligent" drum and bass by the music press, and embodied by producers such as LTJ Bukem and his Good Looking label. Some say that the move to intelligent drum and bass was a conscious and concerted reaction by top DJs and producers against a culture that was becoming tinged with "gangsta" and violent elements, and stereotyped with the recognizable production techniques of the ragga-influenced producers. Intelligent drum and bass maintained the uptempo breakbeat percussion, but focused on more atmospheric sounds and warm, deep basslines over vocals or samples which often originated from Soul or Jazz music. From this period on, drum and bass would maintain the unity of a relatively-small musical culture, but one characterised by a competing group of stylistic influences. Although many DJs have specialised in distinctive sub-genres within jungle and drum and bass, the majority of artists within the genre remain connected via record labels, events and radio shows.

Jungle being a specific musical culture, has also resulted in the appearance of junglist subculture, which, while not nearly as distinctive, alienated, ideological or obvious as other youth subcultures, and having many similarities with hip hop styles and behaviour, does function distinctively within the drum & bass listening community.

Early pioneers

Pioneers such as Rebel MC, Danny Breaks, Bizzy B, Remarc, Krome & Time, Fabio, DJ Hype, Grooverider, L Double, Andy C, Roni Size, DJ SS, Brockie, Aphrodite, Ray Keith, Kenny Ken, Goldie, Jonny Waines, LTJ Bukem, Omni Trio and other DJs quickly became the stars of the genre. Other early artists include A Guy Called Gerald (seminal track "28 Gun Bad Boy") and 4hero ("Mr Kirk's Nightmare") who later developed their own styles, leaving the drum and bass mainstream. However, many of the early producers and DJs still produce and play in today's scene, forming something of a jungle 'old guard'.

North American Beginnings

In the US, New York and in Canada, Toronto's rave scenes first imported the UK produced records and DJ's Happy(AKA Ani)of Dee Lite, Odi, Dieselboy, Darkstar, Soulslinger, Freaky Flow and Beau embraced the transition of Hardcore to Darkside Jungle around 1994. America's longest running party, Koncrete Jungle also born in NYC, discovered the first US DnB MC's Blaise(Naughty Ride), Panic and Johnny Z. Outside of NYC, it was largely Dieselboy in Pittsburgh, Karl K & Kaos with MC Dub2 in Philadelphia and DJ Slant and the 2Tuff Crew in Washington, DC that kicked things for the Stateside drum and bass massive. This small handful of US pioneers spent a years in the underground playing "back rooms" before the sound caught on throughout America. Many of the US pioneers have remained faithful, though most have not gained the fame of their UK successors. Unlike Great Britain, Drum and Bass is not played on US radio, but it is often heard on television commercials and on cable networks like MTV and E!.

Jungle to drum and bass

The phrase "drum and bass" had been used for years previously in the London soul and funk pirate radio scenes (and was even a bit of a catchphrase for UK Radio 1's R&B Guru Trevor Nelson in his pirate days, who used it to describe the deeper, rougher funk and "rare groove" sound that was popular in London at the time. A formal station ID jingle used on legendary London pirate Kiss FM from the late 1980s would proclaim "Drum and Bass style on Kiss").

Since the term jungle was so closely related to the raggae influenced sound, DJs and producers who did not incorporate raggae elements began to adopt the term "drum and bass" to differentiate themselves and their musical styles. The mid 1990s also saw a large splintering of the scene. Each sub-genre would tend to be known by its name as opposed to either jungle or drum and bass, though today all sub-genres are usually grouped by the umbrella term drum and bass.

As intelligent drum and bass gained in popularity, the ragga jungle sound became more stripped-down; The complex chopped beats were dropped in favor of simplified rhythms featuring loud, aggressive-sounding snare drums. This hard percussive style eventually became known as hardstep. Simultaneously, certain producers developed a more hip hop and funk influenced style known as jump-up, which was exemplified by artists like Mickey Finn and Aphrodite (with their Urban Takeover label), and the releases on the Ganja Kru's True Playaz label. Outside these genres, which became the most popular styles, other artists pushed a smoother, dubby style of music which had more in common with the jazzy and soulful interests of intelligent drum and bass. Records in this style were often referred to as rollers.

Through 1996, hardstep and jump-up sounds were very popular in clubs and at raves, whereas intelligent drum and bass was pushing a sound which was considered more accessible to the home listener. This resulted in the popularity of the style with mainstream music magazines, as CD album releases by 4 Hero and Goldie were more readily-available than the underground dubplates which characterised the club-based styles. Stylistically, drum and bass began to adopt an ever more diverse range of influences, crossbreeding with many other forms of dance music to produce a series of hybrid sounds. In 1997, a sound which was influenced by the double-bass work of jazz musicians came to the forefront, producing a funky, accessible style which achieved mainstream success for artists such as Roni Size and Reprazent (having been instigated by the huge success of Adam F's 1995 double-bassline powered track, 'Circles'.). The group's New Forms album won the UK's Mercury Prize, and their innovative live band helped drum and bass to break out of the DJ circuit, winning acclaim for performances at music festivals and on television shows.

Around this time, drum and bass also sealed its popularity by winning a Friday night slot on Radio One, the BBC's flagship radio station. Initially presented by a revolving groups of jungle luminaries, hosted by MC Navigator, the station eventually secured the presenting services of Fabio and Grooverider, two of the oldest and most-respected DJs in the scene.

The birth of techstep

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, resulting in a series of releases which highlighted a dark, technical sound which drew more influence from Techno and the soundscapes of science fiction and anime films. This style was championed by the labels Emotif and No U-Turn, and artists like Doc Scott, Trace, Ed Rush and Optical, and Dom and Roland, and is commonly referred to as techstep. Techstep focused intensely on studio production and applied new techniques of sound generation and processing to older jungle appraoches. Self-consciously underground, and lacking the accessible influences of much other drum and bass, techstep is deeply atmospheric, often characterized by sinister or science-fiction themes, cold and complex percussion, and dark, distorted basslines. The sound was a conscious move back towards the darker sounds of Belgian techno and darkside hardcore ('darkcore'), albeit with a greater electro / techno emphasis than darkcore.

As the 1990s drew to a close, drum and bass withdrew from mainstream popularity and concentrated on sounds which were popular in clubs, rather than on mainstream radio. Techstep came to dominate the drum and bass genre, with artists like Konflict and Bad Company amongst the most visible. As time went on, techstep was becoming more minimal, and increasingly dark in tone, and the funky, commercial appeal represented by Roni Size back in 1997 was waning. However, 2000 saw an increasing movement to "bring the fun back into drum and bass", heralded by the chart success enjoyed by singles from Andy C and Shimon (Bodyrock) and Shy FX and T Power (Shake UR Body). In the clubs there was a new revival of rave-oriented sounds, as well as remixes of classic jungle tunes that capitalised on nostalgia and an interest in the origins of the music. Many felt that jungle music had weathered the support, and then hostility, of the mainstream media (which had declared that "Drum and bass is dead" in the late 90s), and that the revival of chart success indicated that the style was more than a passing fashion.

Since 2000

Since the revival in popularity in 2000, the drum and bass scene has become very diverse, despite its relatively-small size, to the point where it is difficult to point to any one subgenre as the dominant style.

In 2000, Fabio began championing a form he called Liquid funk, with a compilation release of the same name on his Creative Source label. This was characterised by influences from disco and house, and widespread use of vocals. Although slow to catch on at first, the style grew massively in popularity around 2002-2004, and by 2004 it was established as one of the biggest-selling subgenres in Drum & Bass, with labels like Hospital Records and Soul:R and artists including High Contrast, Calibre, Nu:Tone, London Elektricity and Logistics among its main proponents.

The decade also saw the revival of Jump-Up. Referred to as "Nu Jump Up", or pejoratively as Clownstep, this kept the sense of fun and the simplistic, bouncing basslines from the first generation of Jump Up, but with tougher, harder production values. Prominent Nu Jump Up artists include Twisted Individual, Generation Dub, and DJ Hazard.

Sales figures for 2004 suggest that liquid funk and Nu Jump Up combined probably account for a significant majority of the drum and bass market.

The period also saw the rise of a style known as Dubwise, which returned drum and bass to its reggae-influenced roots, combined with modern production techniques which had advanced immeasurably since the early days of jungle. Although the dub-influenced sound was not new, having long been championed by artists like Digital and Spirit, 2003-2004 saw a significant increase in its popularity and visibility, with new artists like Amit and Visionary at the forefront.

Similarly, whilst there had long been a niche dedicated almost entirely to detailed drum programming and manipulation, championed by the likes of Paradox, the first half of this decade saw a revival and expansion in the subgenre known variously as Drumfunk, "Edits", or "Choppage". Major labels include Inperspective and Synaptic Plastic and the new wave of artists in this style include ASC, Fanu, Breakage, Fracture and Nepture, 0=0 and Equinox.

The new millennium also saw a fresh wave of live drum and bass bands. The likes of Reprazent and Red Snapper had performed live drum and bass during the 1990s, but the re-creation of London Elektricity as a live band focussed renewed interest on the idea, with acts like The Bays, Keiretsu, Southampton based Gojira, Deadsilence Syndicate and U.V Ray (feat. Yuval Gabay) pursuing this avenue. In addition the popular Breakbeat Kaos label has begun to focus more and more on bringing a live sound into Drum & Bass, both in the records they release and in the live band night their group Pendulum is hosting in London in 2006.

The global scene in 2005

The other major development largely occurring since the turn of the millennium is geographical: from UK-oriented beginnings, drum and bass has firmly established itself worldwide. There are strong scenes in other English-speaking countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It is popular across Europe, especially in Germany and in The Netherlands, Baltics, Czech Republic, Russia, and Ukraine. It is also popular in South America. Asia also has a drum and bass scene in places like Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong. São Paulo is sometimes called the drum and bass Ibiza. Brazilian drum and bass is sometimes called Sambass, although in Venezuela, artists have created Industrial forms of Drum and bass, and also Drill N Bass / IDM, mixing also with Latin rhythms like Salsa or Latin Jazz.

Musicology of drum and bass

There are many views of what constitutes "real" drum and bass as it has many scenes and styles within it, from heavy pounding bass lines to the relaxed vibes of Liquid funk. It has been compared with jazz where the listener can get very different sounding music all coming under the same music genre, because like drum and bass, it is more of an approach, or a tradition, than a style. As such, it is difficult to precisely define; however, the following key features may be observed:

Defining characteristics

Importance of drum and bassline elements

Despite the apparent simplicity, to the untrained ear, of drum & bass productions, an inordinate amount of time is spent on preparing tracks by the more experienced producers.

The name "drum and bass" should not lead to the assumption that tracks are constructed solely from these elements. Nevertheless, they are by far and away the most critical features, and usually dominate the mix of a track. The genre places great importance on deep sub-bass which is felt physically as much as it is heard, the "bassline". There has also been considerable exploration of different timbres in the bassline region, particularly within techstep. Basslines exist in many forms, but most notably they originate from sampled sources or synthesizers. Live played basslines are rare. Sampled basslines are often taken from double bass recordings or from publicly available loops. Synthesized basslines are very common.

In drum & bass productions, the basslines are subjected to many and varied sound effects, including standard techniques such as echo, flanger, chorus, over-drive, equalization, etc. and drum & bass specific techniques such as the Reece Bass. These techniques are fully appreciated in a club or rave environment as only high grade bass speakers can fully reproduce the sounds of the eponymous bassline, whose frequences are sometimes lower than audible (they can however be felt on the body). This has led to the creation of very large and intensely loud soundsystems by producers wishing to show off their tracks in a true high fidelity environment, such as Dillinja's Valve Soundsystem. This however does not mean that the music cannot be appreciated on personal equipment.

The drum element, that is the syncopated break, is another that producers spend a very large amount of time on. A drum fragment lasting seconds may often take a day or more to prepare, depending on the dedication of the producer; here Remarc is an acknowledged master.


Drum and bass is usually between 160-180 BPM, in contrast to other forms of Breakbeat such as Nu skool breaks which maintain a slower pace at around 130-140 BPM. A general upward trend in tempo has been observed during the evolution of drum and bass. The earliest Old School rave was around 125 / 135 bpm in 1989 / 1991, early (late 1992 - 1993) jungle / breakbeat hardcore was around 155-165 BPM. Since around 1996, drum'n'bass tempos have predominantly stayed in the 173 to 180 range. Some producers, such as Paradox, have started to once again produce tracks with slower tempos (i.e. in the 150's and 160's). The mid-170 tempo is a hallmark of the drum'n'bass sound.


For the most part, drum and bass is a form of dance music, mostly designed to be heard in clubs. It exhibits a full frequency response and physicality which often simply cannot be fully appreciated on home listening equipment. As befits its name, the bass element of the music is particularly pronounced, with the comparatively sparse arrangements of drum and bass tracks allowing room for basslines that are deeper than most other forms of dance music. Consequently, drum and bass parties are often advertised as featuring uncommonly loud and bass-heavy sound systems.

Drum and bass is often heard via a DJ. Because most tracks are designed to be mixed by a DJ, their structure typically reflects this, with intro and outro sections designed for a DJ to use while beat-matching, rather than being designed to be heard in entirety by the listener. The DJ typically mixes between records so as not to lose the continuous beat. In addition, the DJ may employ hip hop style "scratching", "double-drops" (where two tracks are synchronized such that both tracks drop at the same time), and "rewinds."

Most mixing points begin or end with the "drop". The drop is the point in a track where a switch of rhythm or bassline occurs and usually follows a recognisable build section and "breakdown". Sometimes the drop is used to switch between tracks, layering components of different tunes, though as the two records may be simply ambient breakdowns at this point, this could be considered lazier than blending the music where breakbeats play together. Some drops are so popular that the DJ will "rewind" or "reload" by spinning the record back and restarting it at the build. This is a technique which can easily be overused as it breaks the continuity of a set. "The drop" is a key point from the point of view of the dancefloor, since the drumbreaks often fade out to leave an ambient intro playing. When the beats re-commence they are often more complex and accompanied by a heavier bassline, encouraging the crowd to dance. "Jump up" initially referred to the urge for those seated to dance at this point, though it came later to refer more specifically to a style of the music. A "rewind" would be popular here as the crowd could dance from the start of the record, and to the change in music they hadn't anticipated.

DJs are typically accompanied by one or more MCs, drawing on the genre's roots in hip hop and Reggae/Ragga.

There are however many albums specifically designed for personal listening. The mix CD is a particularly popular form of release, with a big name dj/producer mixing live, or on a computer, a variety of tracks for personal listening. Additionally, there are many albums containing unmixed tracks, suited for home or car listening.

Relationship to other electronic music styles

Recently, smaller scenes within the drum and bass community have developed and the scene as a whole has become much more fractured into specific sub-genres. Some major sub-genres of drum and bass include:

As with all attempts to classify and categorize music, the above should not be treated as gospel. Many producers release albums which touch into many of the above styles.

Drill and bass, a sub-genre of Intelligent dance music (also known as "IDM"), popularized by Aphex Twin, features many of the same types of rhythms used in drum and bass and is generally focused on complexity in programming and instrumentation. Its main proponents include Squarepusher, Amon Tobin and Venetian Snares, amongst others.

Jungle vs Drum and Bass

The difference between jungle and drum and bass is one of the most common debates within the community. There is no universally accepted semantic distinction between the terms "jungle" and "drum and bass". Some associate "jungle" with older material from the first half of the 1990s (sometimes referred to as "jungle techno"), and see drum and bass as essentially succeeding jungle [2]. Others use jungle as a shorthand for ragga jungle, a specific sub-genre within the broader realm of drum and bass. In the U.S., the combined term "Jungle Drum and Bass" (JDB) has some popularity, but is not widespread elsewhere. Probably the widest held viewpoint is that the terms are simply synonymous and interchangeable: drum and bass is jungle, and jungle is drum and bass.

DJ Hype: "At the end of the day I am an ambassador for Drum and Bass the world over and have been playing for 16 years under the name Hype... To most of you out there Drum and Bass will be an important part of your lives, but for me Drum and Bass/Jungle is my life and always has been... We all have a part to play and believe me when I say I am no fucking bandwagon jumper, just a hard working Hackney man doing this thing called Drum and Bass/Jungle" [3]

Appearances in the mainstream

Certain drum and bass releases have found mainstream popularity in their own right, almost always material prominently featuring vocals. Perhaps the earliest example was Goldie's Timeless album of 1995, along with Reprazent's New Forms in 1997. More recently, tracks such as Shy FX and T-Power's "Shake UR Body" gained a UK Top 40 Chart placing. Hive's "Ultrasonic Sound" was also used in The Matrix soundtrack. More recently, video game tracks, specifically Rockstar Games releases, have contained many drum and bass tracks, i.e. the MSX/MSX 98 radio station in Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

On the other hand, pop music has also occasionally co-opted elements of drum and bass, albeit in watered-down fashion. Examples include Puretone and Girls Aloud. Drum and bass also often appears in advertising and TV.

Accessing drum and bass


Drum and bass is mostly sold in 12-inch vinyl single format, although some albums, compilations and DJ mixes are sold on CD. Purchasing drum and bass can involve searching specialized record shops or using one of many online vinyl, CD and mp3 retailers. Recently, sites such as have become popular among people wishing to purchase drum'n'bass tunes, as they allow you to buy in mp3 or wav format on a per song basis at a fraction of the regular cost for buying a vinyl or cd single. The sites now commonly release tunes from major artists on the same day or earlier than their commercial vinyl release.

Cultural Attitude

Drum and bass is sometimes associated with gun crime, homophobia and drug taking. Anecdotally though, most Drum and bass events held in London tend to be in gay nightclubs.


The best known drum and bass publication is Knowledge. Other publications include the longest running drum and bass magazine worldwide ATM Magazine, Canadian-based Rinse Magazine and Austrian-based Resident.

The 2 highest profile drum and bass radio shows are Fabio and Grooverider on BBC Radio One and also DJ Hype on the now legal Kiss 100 in London. The BBC's "urban" station 1Xtra also features the genre heavily, with DJs L Double and Bailey and Flight. The genre has long been supported by pirate radio stations, particularly in London; these days, they are joined by a large, and ever-expanding number, of internet radio stations available globally. In the US, XM Satellite Radio dedicates two hours a day to its drum and bass show, "Pressure", on channel 80 - The Move (XM).

Drum and bass has a strong online presence with many dedicated portals, forums and communities. Some of the largest of these are linked below.


  • All Crews: Journeys Through Jungle / Drum and Bass Culture by Brian Belle-Fortune (ISBN 0954889703)
  • The Rough Guide to Drum 'n' Bass by Peter Shapiro and Alexix Maryon (ISBN 1858284333)
  • State of bass, jungle: the story so far by Martin James, boxtree (ISBN 0752223232)

See also

External links

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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