D-Bridge & Skeptical – Move Way (2013)
This is my pledge: you will always be able to count on this blog to update you on exciting new developments in dance music about two years after the fact. Marooned on planet rap, the light from brightly burning dance choons reaches me long after the stars have faded from clubland.
Actually, what keyed me into this tune last night was (and this will be a recurrent theme on here, I’m sure) getting stoned and thereby drifting into a sort of imaginative proximity with my Drum N Bass days long past. I’ve not followed D’N’B for a good four or five years now, and never bothered much with the Instra:Mental/D-Bridge stuff that sprouted from the genres union with dubstep (a two-way osmosis which left dubstep undoubtedly the poorer, polluted with buzz-saw basslines on the one side and dull neurofunk stiffness on the other), and in that period a lot of ideas about why I distanced myself from the genre have collected like dust around my ears and brain. So it’s nice to be able to hear – under the influence of weed and, perhaps, a growing boredom with more ”nuumy” genres – qualities in the music that made me love it.
D-Bridge – Without Answers (2013)
It helps to remember buying vinyl, trying to pull off mixes (DNB is a genre infatuated with dramatic dynamic shifts – which is why in the middle of nearly every tune there’s 16 or 32 bars of harmonic cooling down before the sub-bass thunder rumbles and it starts raining a-Men), and – naturally – dancing, usually while off my chops on pills, in clubs like Stealth in Nottingham. I think there’s a sniffy attitude, particularly in the online musical circles I now move in, towards DNB because of the conventionality of its rhythms (2-step rules over all, and tunes like “Move Way” – with it’s ‘half-step’ beat, are aimed at attacking this hegenomy) and structures. Especially compared to its direct forebear, jungle, DNB sounds quite stiff. At 170bpm, boom-CLAP, boom-CLAP gives no room for swing and shuffle ala. House.
However, to remember that DNB is DANCE music is to cast your ears more kindly upon that metronomic snare. It’s a convention, the crowd all know it is coming and will (more or less) be sustained. It defines the pulse of the dancefloor. Even in its ”shallower” forms (DJ Hazard et al.) it is immersive music; you are carried along by the force of the tempo, and by the weight of the sounds (unless, of course, you aren’t), and whipped up into a frenzy, or at least into an out-of-body (because completely OF the body) state.
Taxman – You’re Dead (2005)
The quality of sounds is very important in modern Drum N Bass, which is another reason its so criticised, I think – its not VITAL its TASTEFUL. Well, so goes the cliche. I wonder, though, if this is simply replacing one cognoscenti’s disdain for raw energy with another’s disdain for beauty? Now, “Move Way” is not really beautiful at all; I think it would be derided by many (including un-stoned me) as being boring, stiff, humourless. What it is, is IMPRESSIVE. It’s titanic, in the sense that Loefah’s productions (clearly influential on D-Bridge & Skeptical, hence the reverb-saturated Jamaican monologue that presages the spartan drop) are titanic. It’s stripped back to its sinews and these are titanium-tough. Rhythmically it fixes you to the spot, it rivets you into place. You will move, it insists, but not from this dancefloor.
Always we must fight our instinct to dismiss by categorisation (by LANGUAGE, you might say). The qualities of this tune are completely different from the tune below, but both have made their own place to be judged in and have to be judged within that place.
DJ Pantha – Sweet Shop (2012)