Drum and bass in Prague

Drum and Bass in Prague and places to find it

Dj mixing

Drum and Bass in Prague is one of the most favorite style of EDM.In this article we would like to show you what is so specific about it and where you can find it while visiting Czech Republic.

So What is Drum and bass?

Drum & Bass, Drum’n’Bass, d’n’b or “dramec” as we call it in the Czech Republic is a musical style which has been created at the beginning of the 1990s in London clubs. Already its name tells us about the characteristic beat structure and dominant bass line. The distinctive bass background has been taken over from some elements of the Jamaican reggae and dub. Most likely from there is brought also the initial name Jungle.

 

The main difference in between Drum and Bass and Jungle

Dj mixing and singer behind him

The word “jungle” was often used in texts of Jamaican toasters which were something like rappers. They dubbed a variety of text improvisation (dubbed MC today). They mention “jungle” in their texts, apparently referring to the metonymic name of Kingston’s concrete jungle. The name is also related to the establishment of the Jungle Club in London around 1990, where people could experience jungle-like music for the first time. Some journalists say that the word was accompanied by a racial subtext and therefore replaced in 1998 with the more popular Drum and Bass.

Although jungle is really similar to drum and bass and originates from the same roots, we can clearly identify some differences. Jungle beat is much more sophisticated and faster, often using reggae, funky drum samples. The most popular drum pattern was James Brown’s drum solos – Fun Drummer.

Generally, jungle and drum and bass have a very similar structure apart from their slightly different speed and beat complexity.

Origin of Drum and Bass and Jungle

Just as in America, the new style was associated with the African-American working class. It is rather difficult to determine which track was the first, because in the early 1990s there was literally an experimental explosion with music. From some of the first compositions we can mention Demons Theme’s from producer LTJ Bukem from 1992. In the same year, b style DJ and producer Goldie with their Terminator hit. Others truly unforgettable producers are DJ Hype, Top Buzz, Aphrodite, Andy C, Shy FX.

Jungle was the first specifically British type of EDM. It was originated on the same rhythmic basics as the breakbeat style. It has taken the rhythm of American hip-hop and electra. Born in the outskirts of the eastern end of London, where the working class lived, and on the east coast of England, jungle has become the most affluent English musical movement since the 1960s.

This first-ever style originated in England developed from hardcore present in a rave party environment at the time of its commercialization. The London DJs (mainly Fabio and Groverider) were unhappy with the development of the rave scene and began to play accelerated break records from around 140 BPM to 160 BPM. This was the first sign of oncoming musical revolution.

Since the early songs drum and bass has gone a long way in which it has grown into many sub-ranges.

Drum and Bass pioneersDJ mixing

Jungle of the early 1990s we can associate with the English publishing company Moving Shadow (operating until 2008). Paul Chambers- Paul Ibiza, one of the first pioneers of the jungle style created the company.

A Guy Called Gerald is one of Britain’s first breakbeat rhythm experimenters. He made music full of fragments of voices inspired by African rhythms (for example, the acid house composition of Voodoo Ray from 1988). He was able to connect the ancient African rhythms with more modern funk. The result were jungle albums, which were released in 1993 on his own new Juice Box label.

The first of the Jungle / drum and bass albums released in 1995 by a single artist was Black Sered Technology from producer A Guy Called Gerald.

The overall atmosphere of the album, especially the song Energy, which he wrote together with DJ Goldie, became the basis for the intelligent drum and bass. In the same year DJ Goldie released its debut album. It was extraordinary that for the first time he brought together the female melodic vocals and the heavier synthesizer sounds. Goldie became one of the most prominent figures of the drum and bass.

 

Types of Drum and Bass

Ragga jungle

Rasta man standing behind mixing pult

came from the jungle wave inspired by happy hardcore (a hardcore version featuring cheerful, somewhat cheap, melodic elements). Reggae, dancehall and dub influenced it. It was created in response to the big popularity of the jungle among the urban street population of the African-American and Caribbean.

The beginings of the ragga jungle marked DJ Shy FX & UK Apachi Original Nuttah in 1994, whose vocal reggae style has become a very popular and often used sample. In 1991, Ragga Twins appeared on the label Shut Up And Dance, but their music we consider to be more a breakbeat combined with dub and dancehall. Rape Rebel MC, MC Spyda, The Ragga Twins, DJ Zinc, Hype, Rude Bwoy Monty, Benny Page and Congo Natty have been closely associated with the ragga jungle.

Jump-up

Guys partying

we associate it with the same names as the ragga jungle and the jungle. As its creator we can consider DJ Aphrodite with his Bass light, Bomber, and very popular Bad Ass! Among the jump-up publishing companies are for example Trouble on Vinyl, Eastsides records DJ A-Side, Urban Takeover DJ Aphrodite and Mickey Finn. This style was popular mainly in the late 1990s and in the first few years of the century The jump-up’s ambition is to be a dance music. Unlike jungle, it has a simple beat. Its sounds more aggressive than ragga jungle and it definitely make people want to dance. A characteristic feature is a bass “wobble” line that adds to its dynamism.

Darside jungle / darkcore / darkstep Darkcore

is a style mainly build on breakbeat hardcore, popular in the first half of the 90s- completely different to the newly emerging happy hardcore of that time. It is characteristic by use of “Reese bass” together with the other forms of low frequency bass. That creates a solid back round to a very fast beat (between 160-190 BPM). It creats an ominous dark atmosphere. Darkstep is the later name for darkcore. We connect it with artists such as Doc Scott, 4Hero.

Darkstep

Dj mixing

comes from darkcore. It became popular in the late 1990s with producents Noisia, Calix, Counterstrike, Black Sun Empire, Forbidden Society, Bad Company and DJ Hidden. It is characteristic by a gloomy atmosphere accompanied by ambient noise, dirty horror sounds, distorted bass lines and voices. Today we know this type of music thanks to Therapy Session, a big party celebrated all over the world.

Techstep

developed in 1996.Techno largly influenced it ( not the elegant Detroit techno  but rather the later breakthrough in the harsh European hardcore of the early 1990s) The special thing about the techstep is its tempo and rhythm. Unlike other drum and bass substyles that reached min 160 BPMs, the techstep wants to sound tired. The accents in the music  lie intentionally the way so they could create a half-speed sensation. The sound of the techstep we can compare to the science fiction atmosphere- to the future returning to the ages of darkness. The name was created by producers Ed Rush and Trace along with No U-Turn Label, a publisher specialised in this kind of drum and bass.

Intelligent drum and bass

has a very different ideology than techstep. It wants people to develop their minds, educate them and weaken the pressure of the city’s lifestyle. Because of that its free of any sharpness and shrewdness. Inteligent dnb went back to the moderate bass line and acoustically sounding drums. Jazz and soul inspired it and classical techno largely influenced it. The popular sample of intelligent drum and bass comes from the track Energy produced by Goldie and A Guy Called Gerald. In 1996, Logical Progression released by DJ LTJe Bukema gave the intelligent drum and base a formal look. Other famous DJ’s of that genre are DJ Photek, Omni Trio, Klute, Adam F.

Over time, with the intent to track the most progressive tendencies within EDM, intelligent drum and bass producers have become too complaisant with traditional melodies, song structure, and instrumentation. After TV and commercials have used few songs in spots – for example, Goldie’s Ballad Inner City Life – the embarrassed touch was added to the word “intelligent.” The name, however, persisted and exists today. It includes an alternative concept that responds in a way to the current drum and bass mainstream and tries to avoid it.

Young lady dancing at the party

Neurofunk

is a style that has been going on since darkcore- techstep in 1997. Simon Reynolds devised and promoted it. Until then, many people unofficially spoke about it as “dark-but-technical .Dark sound was accompanied by elements of hard funk and influences of house and jazz. The pioneering song of the neurofunc became Shadow Boxing by Nasty Habits released in 1996. Very sophisticated simplicity, complete purity of tracks, ominous ambient noise effects, suppressed rhythm which was no longer reminding the well-known breakbeat patterns… Neurofunk contained all of it.

Neurofunk continued where the techstep finished. It abandoned the funky breakbeat patterns and went toward the 2-step rhythm. The pioneers were Ed Rush, Optical, Matrix, Photek, or MC Ryme Tyme. In the new century, the neurofunk goes back to a rapid breakbeat, but keeps the laboratory purity of its sounds. An example of such a composition is Cause 4 Concern, Noisia, Teebee, Black Sun Empire, etc.

Liquid funk

Because of neurofunk during the second half of the 1990s, the dnb seemed like a neurotic and depressive style. The audience started to get fed up with its monotony and the producers responded to it with more melodious and cheerful songs following on the soul tradition. In 1998, DJ Fabio started a club party called Swerve, where he made liquid funk more visible to the public. In 2000 he released a compilation of Liquid Funk and introduced the style to a wider spectrum of listeners drum and bass. Drum and bass left the dark atmosphere of electronically modified bass and focussed on the time proven sounds of funk guitars and synthetic pianos. The first pioneers of the style included DJ Marky, London Electricity, Friction, Grooverider, Logistics, High Contrast. The largest and most respected label has been, and to this date is Hospital records. It features most of the influential liquid jazz DJs, including some of the London Electricians, High Contrast, Logistics, and producers who are currently at the top of the drum and bass scene – Netsky, Camo & Krooked, Cyantific, etc. The last couple of years, liquid funk had become one of the most popular styles at all.

Drum and bass in Prague and Czech Republic in general

People partying

Drum and bass is a really sought after EDM style. We can nearly say that, similar to the English musical scene, in the Czech Republic it became a part of popular music, especially among young people. This tendency is evident by the high attendance of drum and bass club events and festivals. There are countless DJs playing all kinds of drum and bass, whether professional or amateur.

Popular Czech drum and bass DJs and producers

From the most favorite Czech DJ’s we can mention Jump Up DJ Pixie, DJ Akira, Philip TBC( he is also a music producer), DJ Katcha, DJ Im cyber, Babe LN, DJ Bifidus Aktif, Suki, X.Morph, Sayko and many more.

Well known producers are DJ Rido, Philip TBC, No Money or Forbiden Society. Forbiden Society has been producing drum and bass in Prague since 1998. Metal was heavily influencing their production. Their sound also built the concept of later publishing company Forbidden Society Recordings. It features world-renowned names such as Current Value, DJ Hidden or Counterstrike.

Apart from drum and bass in Prague also in the other parts of the Czech Republic, DJ groups or groups of enthusiasts have been organizing parties and they act actively on them.

For example, long-time stage or crew performers who organize big and popular events – the Prague formation around the Shadowbox server, Tele2Beatz (since 2002), Budějovická Bubblebeatz (2000), Pilsen-Klatovy DJs from Wenkowsound (2005) or  Noisypioneers (2000).

Earliest sound systems

Partying people

 

Gardenzzity and Shamanic formed the earliest sound systems that were traveling with their sound apparatus throughout the republic and played jungle at the end of the 90s. Shamanic founded themselves  as a drum and bass sound system, but today they organize a freetekno party.

One of the first drum and bass DJs and pioneers of this style on the Czech scene was DJ Koogi. He has been playing since 1995, initially trip-hop, house or techno. A year later, he opened a vinyl record store focused on drum and bass in Prague and began to bring to the Czech Republic the first albums- that time quite unfamiliar in our country. In 1999 he created the first regular drum and bass program ever broadcasted on Czech radio stations – Shadowbox. Radio 1 still transmit it today.

A year later he created an information server of the same name, and together with the booking agency Eastbase, he took part in organizing Shadowbox parties. Those events brought to the Czech audience big names of worlds drum and bass-   for example, Ed Rush, Usual Suspects, Kemal, Total Science and other.

In the same year, 1998, the first Czech jungle compilation Jungle is massive was released. We can see it as a sign that the new style took root among Czech musicians. Group around Radio 1 put it together. It contained thirteen drum and bass / jungle recordings from less known Czech projects and producers.

Drum and bass clubs and events

Colorful mixing pult with the siluette of DJ

At the turn of the century this music took place mostly at club events. Drum and bass in Prague we can often find playing in Cross, Storm, Matrix, or Roxy clubs.

The Let It Roll Festival is not a new thing on the Czech scene. It began to take place in 2003. It took place in the form of club events in Abaton, smaller open air in Točník and larger events held in Prague’s former factory halls. Since 2008 it became the largest openair drum and bass festival in the Czech Republic.

Apart from drum and bass in Prague quite unique we can consider also the Czech alternative of world-famous party called Therapy Session. Bubblebeatz, headed by DJ Hanzalle organize it twice a year in České Budějovice. They play the toughest published drum and bass on them.

From other currently popular festivals where you can find great drum and bass DJs is worth to mention Imagination, Beats for love, Shotgun or Rock for Churchill.