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Electronic Music 101 Episode 2: Jungle and Drum ‘n’ Bass

In this part of our article, we will focus on Jungle and Drum‘n’Bass styles. Although Drum‘n’Bass, another branch of electronic music, was different from the Jungle type in its early

Electronic Music 101 Episode 2: Jungle and Drum ‘n’ Bass
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  • PublishedJune 11, 2020

In this part of our article, we will focus on Jungle and Drum‘n’Bass styles. Although Drum‘n’Bass, another branch of electronic music, was different from the Jungle type in its early stages, these differences changed over time and the two genres became entangled between themselves. To better understand D&B, let’s first examine the Jungle type.

Jungle first appears as the voice of the young black generation living in Britain. Therefore, we can freely observe the connections with both black rap music, and Jamaican reggae and dub music. One of the biggest factors of the Jungle style to be popular are the radio stations that broadcast piracy in London. One of the free spaces where the black young generation living in England can express themselves and make their scream, these stations have been greatly influenced by Jamaican music, culture and Rastafarianism.

Appearing in the early 1990s, Jungle started to show itself in the Rage Club in London, which has an important place in the spread of this style in the UK with DJs such as Grooverider and Fabio, which will later become one of the most important names of this style. Coming towards the end of the 1990s, Jungle has changed in itself. The musicians were beginning to use less aggressive bass scores and more atmospheric music, which has led to the shape of what we now call Drum‘n’Bass.

Drum‘n’Bass is a type of dance music that appeared in the UK in the first half of the 90s. Dance music is divided into two opposite branches after the Great Rave period. On a hand, there was a smart, sophisticated, progressive approach to music (Broken Beats, Liquid Dubstep, Old Skool D&B) on the other, there was a more extroverted, direct, hardcore and rave culture adopted approach (Old Skool Jungle, Breakbeat Hardcore, Darkcore, Hardstep, Techstep, Jump Up, Post Dubstep). What makes D&B so popular is that it is able to melt these two different musical views in the same pot. It combined complex rhythms with threatening bass parties to provide this unity.

D&B, as the name implies, consists of two basic elements. While the first of these elements were made up of subsonic bass parties of genres such as Industrial / Brutal Techno and Rave, the second element is the 4/4 rhythm sections of styles like Amen Break, Dubplates or Breakbeat Hardcore that are played in an accelerated manner. They generally use these patterns by differentiating them. The snare is placed in the 2nd and 4th times of the 4/4 rhythm, which is described as “weak time”. D&B has an extremely fast pace. Beat per minutes ranges from 160 to 190, which means it is approximately 3 times faster than most of House music tracks. It is one of the few techniques that D&B uses to make rhythm parts taken from other parts run faster than the original and slow the bass parties – sometimes this speed may even decrease by half – or to try announcing the bass party without leaving any silent point. Breakbeat is the strongest style that D&B is affected when writing characteristic rhythm patterns. The most important difference that separates D&B from Breakbeat and enables it to create its own character is that the drum party written in electronic environment, which is important for the rhythm in Breakbeat type, is as close to the sound of a real drummer as possible and the sounds are closest to the acoustic drum. Whereas in D&B, this reality and desire to be organic have completely disappeared, and this has been replaced by the desire to create synthetic, futuristic and technological sounds.

By 1998, D&B has became more popular than Jungle. Goldie’s Timeless (1995) and Roni Size, and Reprazent’s New Forms (1997) albums stand as milestones for the D&B genre. Together with Timeless, Goldie’s first album, D&B was able to enter the Top 10 music charts in the UK for the first time. After this success, D&B genre has become one of the mainstream music genres. Roni Size and Reprazent received the Mercury Music Award with their first album, New Forms, which has increased D&B’s popularity even more. Goldie, standing in an important place for D&B, supported the formation of the leading names of the genre not only with the pieces he made, but also with the Metalheadz record company he owned. The names that lead the Jungle genre such as Fabio, Grooverider and Doc Scott have switched to D&B with Metalheadz and have succeeded to become one of the leading names in this genre. Goldie went beyond the classical sound field of the D&B genre, in the Saturnz Return album released in 1998. With the orchestral arrangements he used and the support he got from Noel Gallagher, the founder of the Oasis group, he aimed to give the genre a completely different perspective. Even though he did not show the expected success, he differentiated the limits of D&B, and with bringing the audience out of familiar field, he presented different perspectives for the following musicians.

As approaching the end of the 90s, D&B started to gain a darker and paranoid voice character with Warmhole albums, which was a collaboration between Bad Company’s The Nine and Ed Rush-Optical. D&B, which we frequently see in the top 10 in the UK music charts, was placed first in 2012 with DJ Fresh’s Hot Right Now song.

Finally, as I think that you can listen to music by listening and experiencing not by explaining, you can listen to the playlist that I made for this article which focused on D&B and Jungle style from Turkey’s Spotify profile Mixmag.

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Techno Airlines

Founded in 2018, Techno Airlines is an online music publisher and community platform that is dedicated to exhibiting the worldwide Techno music genre. TechnoAirlines creates a service ecosystem and content for more than three million music fans per month by combining high-quality videos, music, and content with online tools.

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