Recommendations for this list are welcome!
Drum & Bass is a genre of electronic music based around a prominent snare on every second beat, around which you have an irregular pattern of kicks. This is called a ‘broken beat’. The most common broken beat is kick–snare—–kick-snare which sounds like bom–tak—bom-tak. Layered on top you have ‘broken bass’ which has high frequency components unlike the bass you normally hear in say hip-hop or rap which only has low frequencies. This kind of bass is formed by multiple saw waves slightly out of sync with each other. At the end of this is list I’ve copy-pasted a really useful guide to D&B that I found elsewhere on the internet.
BPM Range: 160 – 200
Big Beat is the sound best described as the soundtracks to action movies. The best example would be Overseer – Supermoves which can be heard in the bank heist scene in the beginning of the movie ‘Snatch’.
BPM Range: 120 – 155
Jungle is real rave music, with soul and warmth. Prominent elements are hoovers, furious breakbeats, happy breakdowns with “PLUR” vocals and MCs.
BPM Range: 120 – 155
Industrial and Hardcore can vary widely in composition because they are so experimental, what stands out is liberal use of distortion, particularly in the bass drum. Hardcore is known for its ~200 bpm distorted bass drum. Besides the distortion there will be fast drumlines, broken bass, odd vocal samples etc. Some Industrial also gets rather trance-ey and is called Electronic Body Music (EBM).
BPM Range: About 135 for Industrial, 170 to 250 for Hardcore.
Dubstep – The simplest way to understand Dubstep is it’s Drum & Bass at half speed, and the snares are pitched down to make them heavier. The bass also tends to wobble and have extreme pitches changes. This tends to sound silly at points, hence the ‘brostep‘ sub-genre. Dubstep also has a particular but rare knack for spaced-out, dreamy tracks.
BPM Range: 70 to 120.
“Psystep” is used for want of a better word. Though a more expressive name would be better. “Doofstep”? “Trippercore”?
- 4 Hero – Parallel Universe – 1994 (Jungle)
- Black Sun Empire – Cruel & Unusual – 2005 (DnB)
- Bong Ra & Enduser – The Kill – 2007 (Industrial/Hardcore)
- Breakage – This Too Shall Pass – 2006 – Listen and be amazed. Transcendent and evolved.
- Chemical Brothers – Single 93-03 (Big Beat)
- Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole (Breaks/Big Beat)
- Counterstrike – Draco (algo003) (Hardstep)
- Cybernetika – Atropos (Psy DnB) 2009
- Deviant Electronics – Blunt Instruments (Psystep)
- Dieselboy – The Dungeon Masters Guide (DnB)
- Dieselboy – The Human Resource (DnB) – This release has the absolutely crazy Upbeats remix of Styles of Beyond – Subculture. Its a must hear.
- DJ Deekline & The Ragga Twins – Hardcore Beats – 2003 – Jungle
- DJ Hidden – The Words Below – 2009 (IDM/Techstep)
- Evol Intent – Era of Diversion (DnB) – This album is mind blowing, it transcends the boundaries of DnB. If you can appreciate good music, you can appreciate this. The best Drum & Bass album I have heard.
- L-Wiz – Fruit Shop/Pirates/Syrup Feeling – 2007 (Dub)
- Mobthrow – Mobthrow – 2011 – Dubstep – Night Riders, Bulb Engine, Desert City Rising, Iron Tribal – Heavy, ponderous dubstep, yet with a certain vigourous intensity, guaranteed to enliven your senses.
- Paul Oakenfold – Bunkka (Breakbeats & Trance)
- Pendulum – Hold Your Colour (Breakbeats/DnB) – This is one of those rare albums which will appeal of anyone and is still very good.
- Photek – Modus Operandi – 1997 (DnB) – How does one describe this? Tight production. Spacey synths. Abstract yet dreamy. Just the right amount of spice.
- Prodigy – Music for the Jilted Generation (Big Beat)
- Prodigy – Fat of the Land (Big Beat)
- Sibilant – Proper Filth (Drumfunk with a dash of psy) – This is what I imagine drumfunk would sound like, its a bit experimental in parts such that it sometimes sounds like techno, for example the last track.
- Somatic Responses – Source of Disturbance – 1997 (Industrial/Acid/Hardcore)
- Soundmurderer – Toned Down EP (Jungle)
- Spor – Supernova EP – 2007 (Neurofunk)
- Spor – Tactics EP – 2005 (Neurofunk)
- Squarepusher – Hard Normal Daddy (Jazz/IDM Breakcore)
- Stakka & Skynet – Clockwork (Techstep) – This albums has its ups and downs but overall the good more than cancels out the bad and its clear that they tried to do something different.
- The Flashbulb – Kirlian Selections (Ambient Breakcore)
- The Teknoist – …Like A Hurricane Made of Zombies – 2008 – Breakcore/Industrial/Hardcore – I’ve been looking for a release that mashes up the intensity of breakcore with the haunting intensity of orchestral pads floating overhead and finally…I found one.
- Venetian Snares – My Downfall (Original Soundtrack) (Classical Breakcore)
- VA – Future Beats – 2006 (Neurofunk/Techstep)
- Various – Generation Bass Presents: Transnational Dubstep (Dubstep) – Tracks #1,2 are great. The others, YMMV. Included here because it’s interesting to see how people are pushing dubstep into ‘post-dubstep'(?) territory.
- VA – Stadium Drum & Bass – 2008 – Rock/DnB – Added this because all the tracks are good and the Malpractice one really stands out. This straddles the line between DnB and Rock very well – heavy snares, distorted guitars made to sound like broken bass, appropriate vocals all contribute to make this a DnB/Rock crossover kind of album. Plus the fact that hard rock/metal and DnB have tempos near each other doesn’t hurt. Interesting stuff :)
- Various – Step Darker – 2009 – Dubstep – Interesting release, on the experimental side. Nice to see stuff from Excision that’s a departure from the usual sounds.
- VA – Thought Process .01 – 2003 – IDB
- Good throughout but Vector Burn – Orchid (Mav remix) stands out.
- VA – Broken – 2004 – DnB/Breaks/Psytrance
- 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse – We Are The Future (Jungle)
- Acidrockers – Inside (Psystep)
- Akasha – Brown Sugar (PFM Cosmic Journey Mix) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5lj7Q5kDtU
- Axi – Mayan Temple (Goastep) – Goa Trance infused DnB. So good.
- B-Complex – Acid Trip (Neurofunk)
- Bad Company – China Cup (Techstep)
- Bassnectar – Here We Go (Dubstep)
- Big Mistake & DJ Rx feat. Pastor Skinström – Worm (Psy Jump Up) – Wasn’t sure about this one, but its a real fun jumpup track with some psy sprinkled on top.
- Black Sun Empire – Arrakis (DnB)
- Black Sun Empire – Breach (DnB) – This is my favourite DnB track, it has melodies and rhythms which will leave you humming all day and drumloops which perfectly complement the rhythms.
- Breakage – Losing Track (Dub)
- Budoka – It Hurtz (IDB) – An amazing combination of Johnny Cash singing and relaxed D&B. So chill
- Chase & Status – No Problem
- Calyx & Teebee – The Divide (Neurofunk)
- Calyx & Teebee feat. MC Verse – Dual Processed (Neurofunk)
- Caracal – Elements (Ambient Dubstep) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZTu0nVYDRg
- Carl Cox – Phuture 2000 (both Deepsky and Hybrid remixes) (Acid Breaks)
- Chemical Brothers – Loops of Fury (Big Beat)
- Chemical Brothers – Leave Home (Big Beat)
- Counterstrike – Maniac (Techstep)
- Counterstrike – Draco (DnB)
- Cowboy INC ft James Rejoice – Aural Body (Intelligent D&B) – Gentle synths lull you into wonderland.
- Crispy – Predator (Cyberoptics Remix) (Dubstep)
- Cubanate – Hinterland (Industrial)
- Cybernetika – Devoid of Gravity (Psystep)
- Dark Sky – Leave (IDB)
- Deadcrow – Nothing (Trap)
- Declan Flynn – Bahatu (Ethnic Breaks)
- Desimal – Afterlife – As someone said, like golden sunrays breaking through dark clouds.
- Desimal – Circle of Nine (Techstep)
- Digitalis – Loop Garou (Psy Breaks)
- Digitalis – Yab-Yum Soul (Psy Breaks)
- DJ Crystl – Crystlize (Intelligent Jungle)
- DFRNT – Dark Spaces (Experimental/Dub) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLmnI207EyQ
- DJ Dance – Death by Stereo (Mix 3) (Breakcore/Hardcore)
- DJ XS – Rock (Neurofunk)
- Doctor P – Sweet Shop (Dubstep)
- Dodge & Fuski – Side 2 Side (IDB)
- Dom & Roland – Thunder (Techstep)
- Dom & Roland – City (Techstep)
- Dom & Roland – Parasite (Techstep)
- Dub Phizix & Skeptical Feat. Strategy – Marka (Dub)
- Ebony Dubsters – Ra (Original Sin Remix) (Neurofunk)
- Eat Static – Peristalsis (Industrial/Rhythmic Noise)
- Ed Rush & Optical – Chubrub
- Ed Rush & Optical – Space Monkey – This track is an absolute monster.
- Ed Solo – Age of Dub – Recommended listening once a day. A dub take on the classic proto-trance hit “Age of Love”.
- Eprom – Bubble (Original Mix)
- Eprom – Shoplifter
- Eprom – TWERKUL8
- Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Noisia Remix) (Jump-Up)
- Fatboy Slim – Acid 8000 (Acid)
- Fatboy Slim – Right Here Right Now (Breaks)
- Fluke – Atom Bomb (Breakbeat)
- Flux Pavilion – I Can’t Stop
- Foreign Beggars – Contact (Noisia Remix) (Dubstep)
- Foreign Beggars feat. Noisia – No Holds Barred (Excision Remix) (Dubstep)
- Fracture & Neptune – Time Will Tell (IDB)
- Go Hiyama – Concrete Advance (Dead Sound And Videohead Remix) (Industrial) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvgr9MdZnzw
- Hybrid – Finished Symphony (Break Trance)
- IMF – Mission Impossible Theme (Breaks)
- Imminent Starvation – Ire (Industrial Noise)
- Karsh Kale – The Longing (Ethnic Breaks)
- Klute – 174 B.P.M.
- Klute – Shirtless
- Klute – Pissed Jeans
- Konflict – System Bleed (Techstep)
- Leon Switch – Subway (Techstep) – The rumbling sub-bass justifies it’s presence here.
- Leon Switch & Cryptic Minds – Mind Speed (Techstep)
- Mahisha – Mahisha-Empire (Acid DnB)
- Mahisha – Cyber Guru (Acid DnB)
- Mahisha – Dishoom (Goastep)
- Mala – Changes (Dubstep)
- Mellow Sonic – Abyss (Cybernetika Remix) – What a track! Twisted acid riffs and massive breakbeats, eerie psychedelic strings and rippling pads.
- Moby – James Bond Theme (Breaks)
- Modern Moves – Regret (Techstep)
- Muffler – Embrace (DnB – Trancestep)
- Nam Shub of Enki meets Kiki.ILL – _Clickher (Psystep)
- Nightbreed – Pack of Wolves (Pendulum Remix) (Neurofunk)
- NiT GriT – Prituri Se Planinata (NiT GriT Remix)
- NiT GriT – Let Me Die
- NiT GriT – Abandoned (Sloth Logic Remix)
- NiT GriT – Lupin – All these tracks are from the NiT GriT album.
- Noisia – Brainstitch (Neurofunk)
- Noisia – End Game (Darkstep)
- Noisia & Mayhem ft. KRS One – Exodus (Neurofunk) – You need to watch the video to get this track.
- Noisia – Monster (Neurofunk)
- Noisia – Stigma (Neurofunk)
- Noisia & Teebee – Lost Cause – What a track. The eerie buildup and then the insane drop. Make sure you max out the volume.
- Nphect & Dizplay – White Russian (Neurofunk) – If you like this ‘un, check out the rest of the Beautiful Bytes album. The album is great, I’m on the fence on whether its just good enough to make the list. Thing is all the tracks are rather similar. Love the effortless beats though.
- Ophidian & Ruffneck – So Many Sacrifices (Hardcore)
- Orbital – Technologique (Big Beat)
- Overseer – Supermoves (Big Beat)
- Pendulum – Masochist (Jump-Up)
- Peshay – Catch it (Jungle)
- Phace – Psycho (Techstep)
- Phutureprimitive – Rapid Cognition (Psychedelic Dubstep) – From the Kinetic album. The album is good, but the tracks sound the same, so I only included the one I liked the best.
- Pish Posh feat MC Posi D – The Beech Master
- PFM – The Western (Original) (IDB)
- PFM feat. MC Conrad – The Western (Logical Progression Vol. 1 Version) (IDB)
- Prodigy – Voodoo People (Big Beat)
- Ragnarok Online ST – Retro Metro (Symphonic Breaks)
- Raiden – Fallin (Trancestep)
- Raserblade – Scorpion (Jump Up)
- Savant – Siren feat. Ninur (Dubstep)
- Shakta – Loup Garou (Psybreaks) – Loup Garou is French for werewolf.
- Shakta – Yab-Yum Soul (Psybreaks)
- Shimon – The Shadow Knows (Dirtyphonics Remix) (Jump-Up) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IFNjLmYjZU
- Skynet – Catherine Wheel (DnB)
- Stakka & Skynet – Global Report (DnB – Techstep)
- Sub Focus – Scarecrow (DnB)
- Spor – Darkfunk (Dark Ambient influenced by Neurofunk) – Yesss! Spor made some dark ambient-ish stuff!
- Spor – Haywire (Neurofunk)
- Spor – Knock You Down
- Sloz n Crone – Pow (Jungle)
- Stranjah – Assassinz (IDB/Neurofunk)
- Technical Itch – Contaminate (DnB)
- Technical Itch – Hex (Gein remix) (Techstep)
- Technical Itch ft. MC Jakes – Retribution (Audio RMX) (Techstep)
- Technical Itch – The Legend (Evol Intent Remix) (Acid DnB)
- Techno Syndrome – The Immortals (Mortal Kombat OST) (Breaks/EBM)
- Teebee – Daywalker (Dark IDB) – From the same EP, sparse well crafted atmospheres.
- Teebee – Gathering of Developers (Dark IDB)
- Teebee – Quiet Moment (DnB) – Perfect vocals. Just perfect with the broken beats and bass.
- Telemetrik – RUR (Neurofunk)
- The Qemists – Stompbox (Spor Mix) (DnB)
- The Militia – You and I know (DnB)
- The Upbeats – Fill Me In (DnB)
- The Upbeats feat. Evol Intent and Ewun – Smash (DnB)
- The Upbeats and State of Mind – Earth (DnB)
- Ultrabear – Bear Trap (Excision Remix) (Dubstep) – And one day I found a track with enough bass.
- Unknown Error – The Yearning (Trancestep)
- Unknown Error – Shadows (Trancestep)
- Vex’d – Thunder (Dubstep)
- V.I.V.E.K – C My Vision (Dubstep)
- Volor Flex – You In Me www.youtube.com/watch?v=04IWUnBj-h4 (Dubstep)
- Wickaman & Hoodlum – Na Fool Me Again
- Yoshida Brothers – Storm (TM Mix)
I found a fairly enlightening guide to D’n’B here, which I’m copy-pasting…
This describes that light, summery side on dnb. Typically will be heavily influenced by jazz elements, hip hop elements, and perhaps infused with flavors from Jump Up and dub. Chances are if it makes you smile, or the vocals sound happy or upbeat, you’ll find it here.
Calibre – Drop It Down
DJ Marky and XRS – LK
Marcus Intalex and High Contrast – 3am
Makes you want to throw your arms around or start raving. Can often include cheesy vocals that are filtered with effects to lead into a drop that helps those pill heads go higher. Common features include a wobbling bass line, extreme build up for the drop, and in some cases a short synth. Generally defined as blatantly dancefloor friendly.
Back 2 Basics
Sub Focus – Swamp Thing
Dillinja – Twist Em Out
Ray Keith – Chopper (Shy FX remix)
Hard Step / Dark / Evil:
Open the Floodgates and wait for the hounds of hell to take your soul…. Defined by the blazing amounts of drum edits with a low heavy bassline…. Often vocals and heavy, distorted effects. The all out evil side of drum and bass.
Tech Itch (Technical Freaks LP )
Kryptic Minds & Leon Switch
Loxy + Ink
Dylan & B-Key – Slave To Life
Tech Itch – Pressure Drop
Pish Posh – Corrupt Cops (Evol Intent remix)
Limewax – 1/2 lb
Neuro Funk / Future Beat:
Deep rolling basslines with a more minimal approach to the breaks & synths. Probably the most mature sound of drum n bass. A very refined style, usually featuring a dark or deep feeling to the music, but also with an edge of funk. Typically features heavy sampling and many layered drum hits. Very technical production.
Ed Rush & Optical
Dom & Roland