It’s been almost seven years since I fell head over heels in love with Drum & Bass.
Seven years seems like a long time, but I feel like I’m still in that beginning phase of a relationship. I still don’t know everything about it, I’m discovering new things with every tune I listen to. Everything is still new and exciting.
Like most things, you hone your taste over time. I discovered D&B when Hold Your Colour came out, I loved the fast paced style of it. After a while I realised it wasn’t that. I loved how relaxed D&B made me feel.
I think Drum & Bass is a very misunderstood genre. Most people I speak to don’t think D&B can possibly be relaxing, it’s too fast. I think to truly appreciate it, you have to be able to hear past certain things. Take ‘Blind Soul’ by Blu Mar Ten for example. If you ignore the drums, you hear that haunting vocal and the beautiful piano riff. There are also other elements that creep in, like the tambourine and the bells that are easy to miss if you just get stuck on the drums. Obviously the drums are so important in a D&B track and once you’ve learnt to listen to the other parts of a track, they complete the ensemble.
Most D&B tracks have a bpm of around 160-180. When I listen to a track, I usually interpret it as almost half that, similar to a reggae track. I miss out a beat, and that’s how I find it so relaxing.
The easiest way to hear DnB in this way, to the untrained ear, is probably Jungle.
Unfortunately, most DnB that makes the charts has a shitty, boring ‘DnB’ beat. It’s literally the same beat in most commercial tracks and it usually just pounds on through the entire track. I think this is probably part of the reason why many people don’t ‘get’ Drum & Bass. I’m not even a very big fan of Pendulum anymore because a lot of their tracks have that same generic beat, plus my taste has changed as I’ve heard more and more.
So there you have it, I love D&B. I’m looking forward to many happy years together.