Drum & Bass is a subgenre of Electronic music that is characterized by fast breakbeats, and it typically sits between 160-180 BPM. Drum & Bass started in the United Kingdom after emerging from the rave & jungle scenes during the early 1990s. It incorporates influences from many scenes, and its most major influences come from the Jamaican Reggae sound.
Drum and Bass has many different subgenres, such as Liquid, Techstep, Neurofunk, Jump-Up, and more, described below. It has influenced many other genres of Electronic music, and has made its rounds across the international dance music scene.
The color associated with the genre before genre colors were phased out was: Red (Hex: #F21904) (RGB: 242, 25, 4)
Commonly Referenced Subgenres:[edit | edit source]
Ambient Drum & Bass: One of the more uncommon strains of the Drum & Bass sound, Ambient Drum & Bass puts more of a focus on percussive elements, such as light tambourines and foley supporting the melodic elements, accompanying ambience in the tracks to differentiate itself from a more common subgenre of Drum and Bass, Liquid DnB / Liquid Funk. Heavy emphasis is placed on the atmospheric structure, as is implied by the name. An ethereal soundscape is accomplished through the liberal use of reverb, delay and filtering, as well as deep, filtered pads / plucks and focus on an ample stereoaural field. Vocal pads and piano progressions / melodies "soaked" in reverb are also a common occurrence. The other ambient elements are oftentimes accompanied by a deep sub / reese bass.
Dancefloor Drum & Bass: In the current ecosystem of the Drum & Bass scene, Dancefloor Drum & Bass can be easily seen as the most standard (or "vanilla") and broadly encountered form of the genre. It focuses mainly on the heavily swung kick on beat one and snare on beat 2 groove (although some drum patterns within songs in this subgenre often use a double 8th note kick on beat one pattern) and melodic chord progressions through heavier tech styled bass leads being brought out within its production, such as the lead sounds in Muzzy’s tracks "Worth The Lie" and "Break Away". Dancefloor Drum & Bass tracks target a festival audience, capturing an energetic and uplifting feeling. Muzzy has also made numerous tracks using heavy futuristic synthesizers that bring out a lighter and less bassy, tech flavour, such as the 3rd drop in "Endgame" and the whole track, with "Spectrum".
- Tristam & Braken - "Frame of Mind"
- HALIENE - "Dream In Color" (Mazare Remix)
- Dimension (feat. Cameron Hayes) - "Devotion"
- Mazare & RUNN - "Where Do We Go" (Original Mix)
- Netsky (feat. Digital Farm Animals) - "Rio"
- Fox Stevenson - "Dreamland"
- Fox Stevenson - "Bruises"
- Muzzy (feat. Celldweller) - "New Age"
- Muzzy (feat. Sullivan King) - "In The Night"
- Feint (feat. Laura Brehm) - "Words"
- Feint (feat. Laura Brehm) - "We Won't Be Alone"
Halftime: A style of Drum & Bass that is written at half-tempo / halftime (as implied by the name), and influenced by many scenes such as Hip-Hop, Jungle, & Grime. It is typically more experimental and diverse than other Drum & Bass subgenres. Two main currents distinguished themselves in the Halftime scene, one being a heavily neuro-influenced variant and, the other, a more experimental and ethereal variation, which is starting to split itself as a separate entity, nicknamed "Beats" / "Future Beats", spearheaded by the likes of Ivy Lab. The neuro derived version incorporates very deep, gritty layered subs (NOT in a Trap fashion, although vaguely similar), using Neuro basses, heavy Techstep / Neurofunk drums, and Dancefloor synthesizers to create an amalgamation of Drum and Bass sound. Aiming to stray away from the norm, the experimental "Future Beats" / "Beats" variation places heavy emphasis on unorthodox / uncommon techniques and mediums, such as the use of granular synthesis, grain delay, diverse tonal delays and various types of creative distortion. This style of halftime can be deeper and feature plentiful syncopation, accompanied by swing. With acts such as Vorso, Droptek, & Clockvice making many unique tracks in the genre.
- Billain & Vorso - "Transhumanist"
- KUURO - "Omen"
- Noisia - "Tentacles" (Ivy Lab Remix)
- Clockvice & Vorso - "Limbo"
- Rawtekk (feat. Audeka) - "Extinction"
- Mefjus (feat. Maksim) - "Manifest" (VIP Mix)
- Mefjus - "Physically" (FuntCase Remix)
- Mefjus - "Ringshifter" (Culprate Remix)
- LEViT∆TE - "In This City" (DJ Ride Remix)
- Vorso - "Cephalopod"
- Ivy Lab - "Astral Pirate Theme"
- Noisia - "Mantra" (Mat Zo Remix)
- Mefjus - "If I Could" (REBRTH Remix)
Jump-Up / Jump Up: A very energetic subgenre of Drum & Bass, which often employs 3/4 time signatures; Jump-Up makes large use of more simplistic, less intricate melodies and straight 4-on-the-floor / lesser-swung beat patterns - (although not always! A triplet groove or swing are often used to create less straight, more interesting drum structures) - as opposed to the common practice of swung breakbeat patterns in other forms of the genre. Throughout its evolution, swing and syncopation became fundamental principles it was built up on; hence, drum hits are oftentimes ommitted / skipped to create a more spontaneous, erratic atmosphere and to add to the "bounciness" of the energy. The subgenre oftentimes can make use of rapid, percussive, metallic and / or high pitched, FM-centered or otherwise, 8th or 16th note synths. FM-based, so-called "Crookers" / "Cooker" bass / synth patches, (named after the bass music project "Crookers" or Pegboard Nerds' Monstercat release "Pressure Cooker") are a classic staple of the subgenre, as well as of older-school Dubstep, mainly in Brostep. It still remains popular to this day within the UK Drum & Bass scene.
- Fox Stevenson - "Miss You" (D&B Mix)
- Kanine - "Want You"
- Upgrade - "Popular"
- Fox Stevenson - "Go Like" (D&B Mix)
- Protostar & Muzzy - "MELTDOWN"
- Muzzy (feat. MYLK) - "Crescendo"
- Macky Gee - "Tour"
Liquid Drum & Bass / Liquid Funk: A more atmospheric side to traditional Dancefloor Drum & Bass, and somewhat similar to Ambient Drum & Bass, Liquid Drum & Bass makes use of more traditional Drum & Bass sound design, with vibrant melodic synths, busy percussion, and euphoric atmospheric elements while still keeping a more minimalist sound. The fan-favorite filtered reese bass is oftentimes accompanied by lighter, "tinier" and shorter drums. The subgenre places emphasis on the percussive structure to fill in the atmosphere. There are labels dedicated to this subgenre, one of the most notable being Liquicity. Hospital Records also features Liquid Drum & Bass as a mainstay.
- Rameses B (feat. Anna Yvette) - "Neon Rainbow"
- Polaris - "Lessons Learned"
- Bustre - "Combine"
- Rameses B - "Virtuality"
Neurofunk: A subgenre of Drum & Bass that spawned from Techstep. It can be considered one of the darkest forms of Drum & Bass, and makes use of heavy reese basses and snares layered with higher pitched impact sounds. Neurofunk features cold, dark, "sterile", heavily sci-fi themed atmospheres, fusing intricate syncopated rhythms with complex sound design chains. Among the staples of neuro sound design are included intense notch and bandpass filtering, detuning, heavy phaser alteration, liberal amounts of aggressive distortion / saturation, vocoding and multiband compression, coupled with copious amounts of resampling. "Sine compression" (a term popularized by Upscale Recordings' co-founder and artist, Frequent) is one of the well known techniques used to achieve the typical "wet", "squelchy", harmonically rich, boomy and distorted sound. The subgenre often employs short but snappy, hard hitting, sharp transient drums with the occasional metallic touch.
- Mefjus & Rido - "Optimum Trajectory"
- Prophet - "Nuclear Icebreaker"
- ShockOne - "Til Dawn"
- Audeka & Disprove - "Militant"
- Noisia & The Upbeats - "Dead Limit"
- Noisia (feat. Foreign Beggars) - "Shellshock"
- Rawtekk - "Respond Reloaded" (at the border between Techstep and Neurofunk, notice the evolution)
Techstep: As the precursor of Neurofunk, this subgenre of Drum & Bass, originating in the late 90's, is characterized by its dark mood, at the forefront. It makes use of deeper basslines, industrial foley and tambourine segments, very clean, polished breakbeat drum patterns, and special atmospheric synths, like pads, accompanied by deep bass to create a robust structure. The accent in this subgenre is placed on creating very deep, dark, off-putting, mystical landscapes. Techstep usually features less intricate and more repetitive patterns than Neurofunk, with more of an emphasis on the slower progression of a minimalistic main bass "melody", enhanced by uplifters and downshifters. Being the precursor of Neurofunk, its sound design is more rudimentary and its arrangement, overall, more simplistic.
- Black Sun Empire - "Tell Me What You See"
- TeeBee - "Redwind"
- Ed Rush & Optical - "Gas Mask"
- Kinnetix / Kraken - "Critical Mass"
- Bad Company - "SpeedBall"
- Rawtekk - "Restless"
- Noisia & TeeBee - "Moon Palace"
- Mefjus - "Sinkhole" (Skeptical Remix)
- Bustre - "Everything's Different"