Drum and Bass

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Drum and Bass (or Drum n Bass) is an electronic music style.

Drum n Bass is also known as Jungle, although possible racist overtones make this term controversial. Drum n Bass, originally an offshoot of the UK breakbeat hardcore scene, came into existence when people mixed reggae basslines with sped-up hip hop breakbeats and influences from techno. First, raggamuffin dee jay General Levy and other dee jays were therfore the stars of drum n bass, then still called jungle. Producers like Goldie and 4 Hero were not that fond of hip hop and reggae, and turned drum n bass in a less accessible and more instrumental direction, spawning sub-genres like tech-step and moving the genre closer to techno.

Calling the term Jungle controversial, with racist overtones, is missing an important point. By using the word as a description of a musical style, British Junglists in fact reclaimed a racist phrase from common usage in English (see Profanity). By the mid-90's, the term Jungle on the British scene had come to refer to a rougher, darker style of Drum and Bass influenced by the raggamuffin dance hall tradition and favouring ragga-style MC's, repetitive sampled drum loops and distorted bass (rather than the melodic vocals, programmed drums and floaty synthesiser ambience common in so-called 'intelligent' Drum and Bass). Good examples of Jungle are provided by Shy FX or Aphrodite, while LTJ Bukem, Goldie, Roni Size and Aphex Twin (a versatile musician who has experimented with several forms) are probably Drum and Bass rather than Jungle. The fusion of techno music with Jungle does not necessarily lead to the intellectualisations of Goldie et al, as evidenced by DJs on the New York scene of the late 90's such as the highly danceable DJ Soulslinger. In general, Jungle is simpler, sweatier, dirtier and (in terms of paying audience) more working-class than Drum and Bass, and in this contributor's opinion, often more fun!

Important Artists: