Drum and Bass – Music for a New Generation

Drum and Bass, also commonly know by the abbreviations D&B and DnB, is a genre of electronic music that with roots in British rave culture of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Early Drum & Bass of this period was often referred to as ‘Jungle’ and drew influences from a variety of other genres, such as Acid Techno, House, Dancehall, Reggae and Hardcore Techno.

When Mike Paradinas (of the IDM project μ-Ziq), head of the record label Planet µ, stumbled upon a Venetian Snares vinyl in a music store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he contacted Aaron immediately and signed him to his label. Besides Planet µ, Aaron has released music on a variety of record labels including Hymen Records, Sublight Records and Zhark International. In addition to Venetian Snares, Funk also has a number of other pseudonyms and side projects, such as Last Step and Vsnares, among others.

Venetian Snares is renowned for precise and meticulous drum programming and the use of amusing media samples at high BPMs and often uncommon time signatures (such as 7/4). Funk composes most of his music on trackers, which are music sequencers that typically arrange samples and notes into a vertical timeline. Some of Funk’s preferred trackers include MED Soundstudio (a Windows port of OctaMED) and Renoise. Prior to 1999, Aaron’s music was predominately composed on the original OctaMED running on an Amiga 500.

Typical elements of Drum and Bass tracks are fast sampled breakbeats usually played between 160 and 190 BPM accompanied by heavy bass and sub bass synthesizer melodies. A commonly-used breakbeat used by Drum & Bass artists is known as the ‘Amen Break’ and is sampled from the funk song “Amen, Brother” by the Winston Brothers.

One of the earliest albums to exhibit the musical components associated with modern Drum and Bass tracks was the 1989 album “Radio Babylon,” by Meat Beat Manifesto. Other prominent Drum and Bass bands and artists include Pendulum, Noisia, Black Sun Empire, Concord Dawn and Spor.

The cities of London and Bristol in the United Kingdom are often associated with Drum and Bass. Elsewhere, the genre is also popular in countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Jungle, and Drum & Bass began to gain popularity in North America as well starting in the mid 1990s.

As Drum & Bass started to incorporate fewer influences from genres such as Reggae and Dancehall, the term ‘Jungle’ became less commonplace to describe it. Drum & Bass producers who have completely shed the Reggae and Dancehall elements of early Jungle recordings in favor of more complex breakbeats and electronic rhythms have pioneered the Drum & Bass subgenres Techstep and Neurofunk, which also infuse elements from Industrial music and breakcore.

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