In a Salford pub yesterday, as I leant against a snoozing cat (pictured), I was reminiscing about the moment I discovered the full beauty of drum 'n' bass.
It was at Tribal Gathering
in a tent dense with dry ice. It was like walking into a shisha pipe, only with a sillhouette of an MC rising out of the cloud. I'd got a load of vinyl, but it was the first time I'd seen "liquid beats" (ugh) in a live setting.
Here's a remix of LTJ Bukem's classic track Music. It's just a clip (full version here
), but this is the kind of loveliness I walked into.
For those not used to this kind of drum 'n' bass, you need to get over the busy-ness of the beat. It is, after all, running at 175BPM which is enough to leave your rattled bones scattered over the dancefloor. Let the loop become one. And then lose yourself in the chords swirling around the centre.
Despite the likes of Rudimental hooking up with Ed Sheeran
to bring a clunkier - yet still entertaining - form of this music to the Hozier generation, the genre has stayed pleasantly underground. Yeah, there was that Olive track a generation ago, and that woman totally addicted to bass
. But really...
But the smoky, airy Bukem stuff remains fairly pure. And, when done well, absolutely one of the most liberating styles of music alongside acid house.
A particular favourite of mine was Big Bud. a regular on Progression Sessions
and someone whose sound seemed to cut a little deeper. Listen to High Times below.
I like cats. I like drum 'n' bass. Maybe there's a corrolation between the weed-hazed jungle ambience and a domesticated jungle cat that sleeps 22 hours a day.
Maybe this, and exactly this, is what cats hear in their head all the time.
Further Fats: Bleep Years day nineteen - LTJ Bukem's Horizons (2012)
Further Fats: The precarious future of Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud (2016)