Evolution of Jungle and Darkstep in Drum and Bass Music
Evolution of Jungle and Darkstep
in Drum and Bass Music
Drum and Bass, also referred to as DnB, is a genre of electronic music that originated in the
British rave culture of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Drum & bass of this period is often termed
as “Jungle”, which is a mix of several other genres like Acid Techno, House, Dancehall, Reggae
and Hardcore Techno.
What is DnB music?
If you are curious about typical elements of DnB music, such tracks generally consist of fast
sampled breakbeats played between 160 and 190 BPM. These are accompanied by heavy bass
and sub bass synthesizer melodies. In fact, the Winston Brothers made a significant contribution
to the drum and bass music with their funk song "Amen, Brother". The commonly-used
breakbeat called “Amen Break” used by drum and bass artists everywhere is sampled from that
song. Other bands and artists in the D &B arena include Pendulum, Noisia, Black Sun Empire,
Concord Dawn and Spor.
Jungle ends….Darkstep begins
At the end of the 1990s, the term “Jungle” started to wane, as Drum n Bass began to
incorporate fewer influences from genres such as Reggae and Dancehall. That is when
“Darkstep” began to take shape in the form of DnB. Like other drum and bass subgenres, its
musical characteristics include heavy use of sampled breakbeats and synthesized bass and the
overall song structure and length is consistent with jungle and other drum and bass styles.
What is Darkstep?
If you compare the more mainstream drum and bass artists to Darkstep, you will find that
producers are more inclined towards a uplifting mood via their music. This accomplished by the
use of atmospheric synthesizer melodies, film samples and influences from industrial and
alternative genres of music. But what really works for Darkstep is the dynamic combination ofthe often distorted and twisted lead bass sound and the heavy drum beat. An interesting aspect
about this version is instead of sampling breakbeat loops played by actual drummers as it
happens in other D & B genres, Darkstep producers often write their own drum loops using
drum machines. It shares a similarity with live drum and bass sets too – they hardly play live
instruments during shows. DJ equipment is used for creating live mixes of tracks.
Sub-genres like Techstep and Neurofunk were conceptualized by D n B producers who discarded
the Reggae and Dancehall elements of early Jungle recordings for more complex breakbeats and
electronic rhythms. That is why Darkstep is often used interchangeably with these terms, but
even though they are similar, each sub-genre has its own individuality.