Free Dissertation On A Study Of How Drum AND Bass Has Evolved AND What Progression Has It Got For The Future?
Chapter 1: Introduction:
Advances in technological innovation and affordability has revolutionised many aspects of modern society. Perhaps nowhere is this more observable within the entertainment industry than for electronic music. The later part of the 1980s witnessed a boom in the creation of a vast array of original sub-genres; where many pioneers developed and honed new techniques, making extensive usage of new technologies and affordable studio equipment on offer (source?).
In the United Kingdom (UK) two such genres that were initially developed during this period were ‘Drum and Bass’ and ‘Jungle’. For these styles of music, an intrinsic piece of equipment is the digital sampler; able to seamlessly compose music at the click of a mouse button. ‘Drum and Bass’ and ‘Jungle’ are both similar, in that they incorporate quick sample drums sampled from breakbeats; commonly obtained from ‘Jazz’ and ‘Funk’ recordings of the 1960s – 1980s. The most usual break found within Jungle is the Amen break which also is the most commonly sampled break in ‘Hip Hop’ and many other electronic music genres.
This fusion of sounds, from such a wide variation of sources, has also had a large social impact. As music traditionally thought of as either ‘white’ or ‘black’ music is married together to create a unique sound. In fact, ‘Drum and Bass’ and ‘Jungle’ have proceeded to integrate many cultures; both redefining and shaping them (Noack, 2013, 56).
Within this document an extensive analysis of how ‘Drum and Bass’ has evolved over time shall be presented. Furthermore, a review of how the genre has evolved passed its origins within the ‘rave scene’, by altering/merging with other styles and cultures; that have helped to define the changes in its sounds from its origins to the present day.
Drum and Bass has come a long way since the early 1990’s and is continuing to progress. There have been lots of hits in the charts from its’ beginnings including ‘M Beat and General Levy’, ‘The Prodigy’, ‘Shy FX’, ‘Subfocus’, ‘Dj Fresh’, ‘Chase and Status’, ‘Rudimental and many more.
Major stations such as BBC Radio one hold late night shows featuring the more underground aspect of ‘Drum and Bass’ that don’t fit the more mainstream play of daytime radio. These are typically presented by ‘DJ Friction’ and have been since 2002. He owns ‘Shogun Audio’ a very well respected Brighton based ‘Drum and Bass’ label. This gives a huge platform for artists and producers to expand the genre and also a lot more exposure to the less mainstream sounds typically heard.
It is no coincidence that the genesis of ‘Drum and Bass’ is correlated to the introduction of new affordable technology; able to allow the user to compose music on their home computer.
The most important device being the digital sampler, this meant that you could seamlessly make musical arrangements with just the click of a mouse. Firstly, breakbeats were adopted by the form of music ‘Hip Hop’ which were used as a kind of variety to the four-on- the-floor bass drum (bass drum every quarter note beat) commonly found in house, techno and acid house. Then by the early 1990’s many more music makers decided to diverge from the four- on-the-floor bass drum, using chops of breaks and making more complicated patterns out of the beats by also speeding them up as well. This gave birth to the type of music known as ‘Hardcore’ and ‘jungle’. This continued to evolve as more and more producers started experimenting and by 1995 ‘Drum and Bass’ a more polished form of jungle, was commonly recognised as the dominant genre with the release of ‘Goldies’ ‘Timeless’ album.
1.2 Project Objectives
The objectives of this dissertation are
The first part of this dissertation, outline the history of Drum and Bass, will come from the investigation of a number of sources such as; resources from popular culture, academic writings of the subject and certain tracks and artists that defined the eras.
The second goal of this dissertation, to examine how Drum and Bass has evolved with other genres, the future of ‘Drum and Bass’ and how breakbeats are sampled, sped up and chopped, will come from; resources from popular culture, academic writings of the subject and my personal experiences of producing Drum and Bass.
The rest of this dissertation is set out in four main chapters. These are how Jungle and drum and bass were born, how to manipulate breakbeats using technology and techniques, evolution of drum and bass and sub genres and the final chapter concludes the dissertation.
Chapter 2 has nine sections introducing how drum and bass came about and describes the use of breakbeats and describes all of the early categories for Drum and Bass with reference to the top producers and collating evidence of how they make their sounds.
Chapter 3 comprises of 4 main sections: instruments and MIDI controllers, how samplers work, breakbeats within drum and bass and the different methods and chops and the common techniques that have been used within Drum and Bass production.
Chapter 4 has four focus areas focusing on the evolution of drum and base culture: The rave scene, Dark Drum and Bass and Liquid Drum and Bass.
Chapter 2 : Jungle and Drum and Bass
This section will take into account how Drum and Bass and Jungle genres were formed and the potential future. It will include sources from commercial media books and magazines. Also, it will explain the origins of sampling breakbeats within hip hop in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It provides the main first offshoots of Drum and Bass in 2.1 to 2.9 and how their different styles and characteristics are defined.
2.1 Jungle and Drum and Bass
The jungle type of music originated as a result of the fusion in the culture of London youth. It mainly involves the lower class of the urban youth who are disillusioned. Such youths see the system to be against them due to the opportunities available. A group from the neighbourhoods in London made the bass music to come up and start the formation of jungle music. Drums came as a result of the indigenous settlement and groups that make the youths or urban settlements. When in London in the later days, a certain club shut its doors. This meant that the people give the new methods of beat breaking a chance. It was out of the change that the drum developed. The use of the jungle music coincided with the introduction of the computer error. Other aspects of music that developed during this era is the break beat hardcore style of doing music. The increase in the use of computers allowed beats to be made in the least time possible.
2.2 How Dance Music Originated
Dance music originated during the era which had music being composed by instruments such as pipes and flutes. A combination of the instruments produced a sound that people can dance. In the music era, the minuet was often used for crafting and making beat sounds which could in turn make danceable songs. It came as a result of the hype life that the ancient people wanted to live. It involved making beats from the sources that are readily available in the market.
Breakbeat classifications, amen break (The Winstons). During the second phase in the introduction of the jungle music came as a resuly of the classification system that the old school jungle music underwent. Technology allowed lifting of the beats to form any tune that was desire. It was easy for the people to make beats that they wanted. Jungle beat for example entails the aspects that form the nitty gritty of jungle music. Initially, the breakbeats were built from scratch. Later, the digital effects were received which allowed piercing and the formation of other secondary beats such as ghosting and reverse themes. The beatbreak triggered a mental disorientation to the people who listen to the songs. Beatbreak is divided into the following parts
Peak – the peak of the song appeared when the love mobile is at a slower rate and the rythm of the song is a slower one. It mainly tool centre stage as they struggled to remain relavant in making the beat. The peak is the highest form of the beat and this creates relevance in the song.
Such types of songs came up during the beat break. In the initial stages of the beat break. It was a processed that looked into both hip-hop and other genres. A more remarkable.
Darkside, also known as darkcore, is a jungle subgenre that originated in the United Kingdom. It is one of the subgenres considered to have paved way for the popularity of drum and bass. It was mostly popular in 1992 through to 1993 and was considered as a counter to happy hardcore.
Shy fx (Original Nuttah), UK Apache- explore techniques. The Shy fx soud formed the first son to be released which had a base and given the jungle technique of producing a song. It was one of the first songs that utilised the techniques that are used to make jungle music. In the UK, the jungle music is seen to be disruptive and causing differences that result when the people come to party. People from the suburbs differ from those who live in the streets in terms of what they perceive as bad things in the society. The techniques that they employed in jungle music included fusion of the beats that relate to bass and jungle beat to produce the required change (Morad et al, 2014, 58).
DjBrockie, DJ Ron Tribe of Issachar (Junglist), Urban Shakedown (Arsonist), DJ Zinc (Six Million ways to die) – explore techniques. The techniques in the write up or song involved disc jockey who made the jungle music by fusing the beats to form new tunes. Th new tunes acted to break monotony and create an avenue where a person could experiment. Dj Broockie is known for the hardcore scenes. The hardcore scenes developed because the communities who sae that they are neglected and locked out from the main activities of the land. Persons who feel as if they are locked out of the opportunity feel aggrevated.
2.6 Jump up
Jump up entails when the audience at more concerned with the well being of the people who listen to their music. This is a type of music that moves the crowd. It gives the music life and the high life that it requires. Most of the people who like this are the youths who live in the suburbs of London and are against the slow music types. Jump up music is more of less like the hip hop that make listening to such a music to put one into the fray of the people. Most of the people who listen to such music are more obsessed with the hype life. With Dj Hype and Dj Hazard, entertainment is made more vivid and people who attend their bases (Leigh & Zee, 2015, 243).
2.8 Drum and Bass
This type of music began in the 1990s and entails the beating of the instruments which were made from the hides of the animals that resulted in the slaughter of the animals that the people had. Many things can be used in beating the drum that was made from hides and skins. The number of people who listened to the songs include the youths who wanted some things that could make people more attracted to their songs. The drums and bass came up from the fast tempo music. During the 1990s most of the people wanted something that they could dance to so that they break the monotomy that existed between the two parties. Most of the songs of this time had the trademark slow rhythm. They were mostly listened to by the elderly and people who looked at life from different angles (Jamison, 2015, 78). The genre has its roots from the UK where most of the people had the better aspect that made them to practice aspect of the culture and style of lifestyle. Today, the music has spread throughout most parts of the world for example across Europe and Asia.
The chapter explores how drum and bass came about and describes the use of breakbeats. The chapter also describes all of the early categories for Drum and Bass with reference to the top producers and collating evidence of how they make their sounds. The major subgenres discussed include jump up and darkside.
Chapter 3: Drum and Bass Creation
3.1 Instruments and MIDI controllers
The following are sample of instruments and MIDI controller that are used to integrate a gear containing drum and instruments for bass creation. A MIDI controller, through MIDI commands aids in the creation of tone for drum and bass. This is created through a generation of MIDI data when one presses a key on the MIDI synthesizer. The keyboard, when connected to a drum machine, can control the device. For instance, a full drum set can be created from the MIDI drum pads. As the result, MIDI controller acts as a joystick that is used to control the other devices to produce sound. In which case, by sending a MIDI message one can be able to signal a drum to play while also playing other device such as a Moog synthesizer. Drum acts as a third party hardware that allows MIDI controller to yield audio. A figure of MIDI controller is as showing below.
Korg Volca Analog Bass Alesis V
161 MIDI Keyboard Controller
Korg Volca Analog Bass is an instrument that helps in creation of bass. The volca bass has presence of three oscillators that aids in creation of huge bass sounds. The instrument also has a 16-step sequencer responsible for creation of accompanying grooves. With a MIDI controller, the Korg Volca Bass can be integrated with the drum and other parts of the gear thereby giving out the sound for drum and bass. For a live performance, a Volca Bass is connected to a MIDI controller to facilitate going live. Upon having this system set, the sound produced is normally huge, punchy and powerful thereby adding vibe to the plaid drum and bass.
A sampler is defined as an electronic musical tool that takes the form of a synthesizer but utilizes sound recording, instead of producing its own sounds. These sounds are usually recorded or loaded and then sampler program is used to play back in the process of composing music. The stored sounds are therefore called samples. The samples are loaded on a digital memory to facilitated quick access of the data. Consequently, from this explanation, it comes out that the sound produce by the instrument can be loaded by the user in form of samples, which can then be played back as drum and bass.
The sampler for drum sound works by taking the form a keymapping system. The system spread out the recorded or loaded sound over a particular key ranges. The resulting side-effects from this process are usually known to facilitate speeding up and decelerating drum loops. Drum hits, usually branded as single “one-shot” sounds usually require phrase sampler which are more optimized for producing the sounds (Axford, 2004, 56). A good sample for this case is Akai MPC60 Drum Machine produces as the first non-rack mounted prototype produced.
The significance of samplers is that they are best suited at offering filter and modulation coupled by processes taking the form of synthesizer. The modulation usually result from the low frequency oscillation. When put together, these features of a sample allow modification of the original sound, created by the drum, in various ways. The polyphonic capabilities of the samplers also makes them suitable in playing at different notes at the same moment. Further, with the multitimbral feature, the samplers can also play back various sounds simultaneously thereby they come out as important instrument for creation of drum and bass (Rabb, 2011, 96).
3.3 Breakbeats in Drum and Bass
Drum and Bass normally features fast breakbeats that fall between 150-180 beats per minute (Belle-Fortune, 2004, 56). This range consists of heavy bass and at times sub-bas lines. The genre is combination of sampled breakbeats of syncopated nature. The feature also comes out clearly in form of greatly edited percussion of breakbeat. The emergence of breakbeats in Drum and Bass can be contributed to the late 1980s whereby the use of breakbeat for production of hip hop had become dominant in making of breakbeat hardcore sound. Usually, most of the drum and bass tracks are normally made of at least one sampled breakbeat together with a methodology for transition from one break to another after development of each bar. As the result, this makes us to reach a conclusion that syncopate breakbeats acts as the most popular element because the created high-tempo helps in differentiating the dance track from techno.
3.4 Techniques (Effects, Beat positioning, Downbeat preservation)
The techniques applied in drum and bass depends on the use of effects, beat positioning and downbeat perseveration.
Beat positioning is achieved by tightening the breakbeats through utilizing amplitude envelopes. The envelopes acts as temporal separators of segments contained within the sequence. The following is an image showing envelope tightening:
In part A, the figure depicts playing of the breakbeat at original tempo, with each envelope ending after the start of the subsequent event. In part B, speeding up of the tempo has been achieve, but the actual lengths of note does not change because there is no change in pitch and measure location of the samples; resulting to an overlap of the note events. Part C presents a suitable solution, with truncation of the note events when the subsequent one start. However, the drawback her that the released note are not put to play. Part D presents an alternative approach whereby there is utilization of the shorter note lengths and envelopes in making the events to be compatible with each other (Shapiro, 2010, 89).
In drum and bass, there is always that urging need to preserve the dominance of downbeats while maintaining the original funk in the process of resequencing. The preservation of the sections is essential in keeping the original funk intact. In this way, the preservation process can be seen as a way of maintaining the originality of the break. It is way of deviating from how the sound was played but still affording to make it have that feel of the same.
The other technique related to beat position is the use of clean break. In which case, the presenceof classic loops for a sampled breakbeat normally require some process to make them fit well in the DnB’s context. This call for the need for clean break to ensure that timestretching and frequency content is at par. Noise reduction and width plugins are some of the ways to achieve proper beat positioning. Timestretching is a technique used in creating melody because it functions as an adjustment to the samples’ length without the need for adjusting the pitch.
The chapter has presented an exploration of the major techniques that have been essential in dance and bass creation. There is also a presented section for analysing the implication of breakbeats in dance and music. The chapter shows that drum and bass normally features fast breakbeats that fall between 150-180 beats per minute (Jones, 2013). This range consists of heavy bass and at times sub-bas lines. The genre is combination of sampled breakbeats of syncopated nature. The significance of sampler as a tool is also presented. The significance of samplers is that they are best suited at offering filter and modulation coupled by processes taking the form of synthesizer. The chapter also shows the use of resequencing in break beats to maintain that natural feeling. Further, envelope-tightening diagram is also presented to describe beat positioning. Other techniques include clean break, noise reduction, time stretching and width plugins.
Chapter 4 : The Evolution of Drum and Bass Sub-genres
4.1 The Rave Scene
“We need to think about the younger generation. I made my first record at 27, and there are people who are 17 and 18 out there making records. Technology is acceptable and accessible now, and there’s a whole generation of people who are turned onto this music. What are we going to do, just turn a blind eye to them? We still need to try and educate them.”
The above quote describes the state of rave scene in the contemporary world. Rave emerged as a movement, operating from the underground, consisting of like-minded individuals who would come together to dance to electronic music. Normally, these individuals were in their enhanced consciousness state when they danced. It is an all-night party filled with drum and bass coupled with trance and techno (Dodds & Cook, 2013, 45). In these scenes, people dance for more than an hour. The environment is considered magical because people had the chance for dancing to electronic dance music for couple of hours. Djs of groundbreaking electronica acts as the facilitators of rave with laser lights and fashion used to build the scene.
4.2 Dark Drum and Bass
This is a form of drum and bass that features darkest baselines with larger “boom” sounds. The music here is dark and relatively sophisticated and it marks a time in history of drum and bass where darker sound were gaining more popularity in the community. In this case, the community started to embrace the sound as seen with the increase in number of people inclined towards attending the events featuring the dark drum and bass. The trend of inclination to dark drum and bass was much observe to continue in Toronto, which ended up having the largest jungle scenes across the world.
4.3 Liquid Drum and Bass
This is considered as a subgenre within the larger drum and bass. Despite the utilization of same baselines, the subgenre contains much fewer bar-oriented records and relatively more layers of instrumental. The instrumental layers used therein are both synthesized and natural. The liquid D&B is also considered similar to an intelligent and atmospheric form of drum and bass. Major influence of liquid drum and bass include Latin, breakbeat and disco. The continued growth can be contributed to the emergence of artists like Lenzman and Eveson (Matos, 2015, 87).
The above chapter discusses the history and evolution of drum and bass with regards to the important aspects. One of the important aspect for the revolution is the state of rave scene in the contemporary world. It explores how rave implied to the use of Drum and bass. Different drum and bass have been discussed, in relation to the rave scene. These are liquid and dark drum and bass. The chapter shows that dark drum and bass is relatively sophisticated and features darkest baselines with larger “boom” sounds. The music here is dark and deep. The difference brought between dark and liquid drum and bass is that the liquid one contains much fewer bar-oriented records and relatively more layers of instrumental.
Chapter 5: Conclusion
In conclusion, Drum and Bass has come a long way since the early 1990’s and is continuing to progress. Drums came as a result of the indigenous settlement and groups that make the youths or urban settlements. The genre of music originated during the era, which had music being composed by instruments such as pipes and flutes. A combination of the instruments produced a sound that people can dance. As an instrument for making drum and bass successful, MIDI controller acts as a joystick that is used to control the other devices to produce sound. In which case, by sending a MIDI message one can be able to signal a drum to play while also playing other device such as a Moog synthesizer. The techniques used therein were also discussed. These techniques depends on the use of effects, beat positioning and downbeat perseveration. Beat positioning is achieved by tightening the breakbeats through utilizing amplitude envelopes. Drum and bass normally features fast breakbeats that fall between 150-180 beats for each minute. This range consists of heavy bass and at times sub-bas lines. The genre is combination of sampled breakbeats of syncopated nature. Drum and Bass can be contributed to the late 1980s whereby the use of breakbeat for production of hip hop had become dominant in making of breakbeat hardcore sound.
While considering the evolution of drum and bass, rave scene and the two different types of the genre comes out as important aspects. The rave scene considered as an important supporter of drum and bass is considered to be an environment that is magical because people had the chance for dancing to electronic dance music for couple of hours. Among the popular drum and bass include dark and liquid types. For dark drum and bass, it features darkest baselines with larger “boom” sounds. The music here is dark and relatively sophisticated and it marks a time in history of drum and bass where darker sound were gaining more popularity in the community. Indifferent to the dark drum and bass, liquid type subgenre has much fewer bar-oriented records.
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