If there were a sound that signaled the end of all civilization, the breakdown of rule of law and the final descent into darkness for all of mankind, it would be called Drum & Bass.

Rolling in like storm front, it is not a genre for the lighthearted – it has an aggressive, unstoppable momentum. Tempos run fast at about 150-180 beats per minute – your poor heart may struggle to keep up, but your soul will scream for more.

Jungle and the Amen Break

Drum and Bass (DnB) has its origins in Jungle music, a genre based off of high tempo percussion and broken, syncopated rhythms, commonly known as breakbeats. To understand Jungle, you have to go back to the building block of the entire genre – a seven second sample called the “Amen Break”. The original song “Amen, Brother” was written by a 70’s funk and soul group called the Winston’s, and it laid the foundation of this racing and panic-inducing Jungle music.

Commonly referred to as the most prolific sample in the world, the “Amen Break” is a fast paced drum solo that has been used and reworked countless times in music, television and adverts. The Winston’s didn’t know it at the time, but their drummer Gregory C. Coleman had come up with the sample to win all samples. It was an essential ingredient to good ol’ nasty jungle, early hip-hop and gangsta rap, breakbeat and DnB. Once you have heard it once, it is easily recognizable – this sample has spawned entire subcultures of music.

Today’s DnB

Drum & Bass (abbreviated DnB) as we know it today is a byproduct of old school Jungle music, and is a genre largely based off of breakbeats, heavy basslines and synthesizers. The DnB sound played a large part of the underground music culture of the 90’s, specifically in the UK. Jamaican roots got in the mix and, DnB was infused with the reggae sound leading to the emergence of a popular strand called Ragga DnB. In what appears to be the natural course for all musical genres, DnB has broken up into sub genres such as Liquid, Neurofunk, Jump-Up, Ambient and so many others it is hard to keep up. These strands have infiltrated their way into the underground lairs of all major European capitals and have infected the mainstream frequencies of our radios, clubs and televisions. After its hangover from the 90’s, today this genre is alive and kicking, in a grimy place near you.

Notable artists of the DnB scene (with links for the lazy);

Andy C, Chase & Status, Friction, Pendulum, Rusko, The Prototypes, Ed Solo & Deekline.

Looking for DnB in Malta? 

We recommend the Funky Monkey on Manuel Island. We have watched it become the unofficial home for DnB and other sub genres of electronic music over the last year. Get started by checking out the two dedicated promoters who are true guardians of the scene: MIB Crew and Urban Kaos Promotions.

Upcoming events in Malta
June 10 – Urban Kaos Presents – GET HYPE Records Label Party
July 29 – M.I.B Crew MEETS Noxious Records [UK] at The Funky Monkey

THE Drum & Bass Festival
August 3-5 – Let It Roll Festival, Czech Republic

By: Luc John Claude