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re: Matt's doubts about drum and bass
I hear all of the things you are disappointed in about the evolution of
Drum and Bass, Matt.
I agree with you mostly about it all.
I don't, however, want to throw the baby out with the bath water on this
I, personally, was attracted to the more abstract expressions of that
movement and not the
commercial side of that
One of the reasons the commercial development occurred the way it did
was because the only way to sell
records was to cater to the club scene.
Club scenes invariably are conservative , rhythmically, just because it
takes minimalistic rhythms to
make most people dance (we're excluding obvious examples like West
African and Caribbean folkloric traditions,
So D&B dumbed down just because it was the only thing that sold to the
masses of club goers.
It's true of any genre.
Even disco was very interesting when it first began with it's infusions
of surreal studio techniques, adding latin
rhythms to funk bass lines; it's birthing of the whole remix
genre. It just took a few years to get stale.
There are, however, artists at the fringes of all musical styles who did
and continue to do interesting things.
Did you ever, per chance, hear the series of CDs called
Avantgardism? There were some very hip
D&B tracks on that. There was one I loved that used a Glen Velez Tar
solo as the source for the rhythms
that got sliced and diced.
Also, remember that D&B led directly to the glitch and slice and dice
movements where a ton of very interesting music came from.
We also have to thank D&B for singularly causing the rise of subsonic
bass sounds in modern popular music
(both a boon and a disaster in my mind). By raising the tempos of the
breaks, the kick drum no longer masked
the bass sound and allowed for huge bass sounds (which now dominate
D&B innovated that trend (again, for good and for bad----I love subsonic
sounds....I personally hate how they have infused
all club mixes and big bin concerts.
and one last thing.....................We probably would not have had
the innovations of the hip hop producer Timbaland if it hadn't been
for D&B. Say what you will, Timbaland liberated the role of rhythm
in modern popular music as much as any single person
in the history of pop. I've always wanted to do a historical graph
that shows when certain syncopated rhythms entered western pop
music............................in terms of syncopative diversity (and
remember this is a guy who is using 32nd note syncopations over
8th note syncopations in his grooves) the world got technocolor in main
stream hip hop after Timbaland. Undoubtedly , he
was listening to the slicing and dicing techniques of D&B