A Life Renewed: How Drum and Bass is Preparing for a Takeover
Cover photo by Headshot.be
In the last few years electronic dance music has overtaken America, flooding countless ears with the varied sounds of powerhouse subgenres like dubstep, house and trap. Despite the term "EDM" being the most well known it's ever been, there is one subgenre that has not seemed to have had its fair share of the spotlight: Drum and bass.
Much like house music, drum and bass has been around since nearly the beginning of rave culture, constantly evolving along the way. In its early days the genre rocked the world with its fast-paced rhythms and grime-filled basslines, expanding beyond early morning raves to influence popular music and visual media alike.
It's unfair to say that drum and bass got left behind in the recent EDM explosion, despite often being ranked lowest on Facebook reaction surveys. Drum and bass is still being played out by many dubstep and bass music DJs while prominent YouTube channels like MrSuicideSheep and Monstercat, have loyal followings thanks to a strong foundation in DnB.
The DnB that has reached the ears of the masses, or at least a sizable fraction of the masses, is predictably the freshest and most original evolution the genre has experienced in a long time. This new form has broken away in part from the genre's foundation of the drum break, and instead focuses itself on the punchy drums and massive basslines that have resonated deeply with fans of other EDM subgenres. Just like in other popular EDM styles, captivating melodies are a vital part of what has directed new fans to the older by still rising genre.
One person at the forefront of this movement is Monstercat veteran Feint, who has been building on the foundations laid down by world renowned liquid DnB label Hospital Records. Much like Hospital veterans High Contrast and Metrik, Feint crafts melodic soundscapes that still find ways to flawlessly mix in hard-hitting bass that is not to be taken lightly.
"Words," featuring the ever enchanting Laura Brehm, is a perfect example of Feint's mastery over melody. In this successful single, Brehm's vocals seamlessly blend with a mixture of synths, pads and orchestral instruments, creating a symphony of sound that paints a vibrant picture in the mind's eye.
In a similar vein, multi-genre producer Fox Stevenson has been gaining a lot of notoriety for his DnB tunes, which often push the boundaries of the genre by utilizing his own voice to create incredibly catchy songs. His newest instrumental banger - a VIP edit of a collaboration with Curbi named "Hoohah" - still manages to captivate the listener by combining the latest capabilities of sound design with an infectious melody that seems to tell a story.
The good news is that this is just the tip of the iceberg for drum and bass lovers; while these pioneers are paving the way for future producers, they sit on top of close to nearly 25 years of eye-opening music just waiting to be discovered.
As of right now, the thought of profiting from a strictly DnB-focused night may be laughable to some event promoters, but with producers all over adopting an adventurous attitude, that may not be true for much longer.
While DnB has already solidified itself as a legacy to outlast this EDM boom, it is slowly but steadily gaining the respect it deserves from the masses. No one can say exactly how the genre will sound when it finally reaches peak popularity, but one thing is for sure - It'll never stop evolving.
Watch Feint, Fox Stevenson and Varien work their magic at the Studio at Webster Hall in New York City this Sunday, January 15, 2017.
Hailing from Connecticut, Niles was introduced to the EDM scene after becoming the resident DJ at a local coffee shop's music and karaoke night. Today he produces under the name Nihilist. As a college journalism student Niles strives everyday to find ways of uniting his two passions in music and writing.