1989: The Black Dog – Virtual
DnB Weekend: Drum & bass is a genre steeped in tradition, from the early breakbeat hardcoreexperiments of the late 80s right up to the cutting-edge sounds of modern DnB.
Here's our pick of classic tracks from the past 25 years that any junglist should haveon their essential listening checklist. Click through the gallery to check them out.
Virtual was one of the first records to combine breakbeats, techno synths and bigbasslines in a recognisably DnB-like fashion. What’s more, it still sounds fresh today.
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1990: The Scientist –The Exorcist
An early darkside jungle tune, The Exorcist combines a collision of funky hip-hop beats with sinister horror samples and a sprinkling of rave-style synths.
1991: Son'z Of A Loop Da Loop Era – Far Out
Far Out is a pure slice of piano-fuelled fun that fuses the then-emerging jungle sound with more euphoric elements.
1992: Liquid – Liquid is Liquid
Foreshadowing the sounds of atmospheric drum & bass, this cinematic, dub-influenced roller was well ahead of its time.
1993: Omni Trio – Renegade Snares
A rave anthem to this day, Omni Trio’s masterpiece showed the musical possibilities of drum & bass, as well as the potential for audacious drum edits.
1994: LTJ Bukem – Horizons
This breakbeat classic took the mellower side of DnB to new heights, combining chilled chords and hypnotic riffs with crispy beats and epic 808 hits.
1995: Alex Reece – Pulp Fiction
A true game-changing moment for DnB, Pulp Fiction boldly moved the focus away from the chopped breaks of jungle to the funky sound of two-step.
1996: Ed Rush - Skylab
Ragga jungle’s dominance gave way to the bleak, gritty sounds of tech-step, focusing on fills and edits more than polyrhythmic madness, as this minimal masterpiece perfectly illustrates.
1997: E-Z Rollers – Retro (Guardians of Dalliance remix)
Retro’s catchy chords and brilliant vocal sample make it a timeless and accessible DnB classic, and one of the Moving Shadow label’s finest moments.
1998: Ram Trilogy – No Reality
The Ram Trilogy series of 12"s took tech-step by the horns and injected it with faster beats and bouncier, more twisted basslines.
1999: Bad Company – The Pulse
Bad Company utterly dominated the DnB scene at the turn of the century, and this classic release on Grooverider’s Prototype label sums up their sound to a tee.
2000: John B – Up All Night
The iconoclastic John B brought the rave back to drum & bass with this tribute to the chipmunk vocal-fuelled sound of breakbeat hardcore’s early 90s heyday.
2001: J Majik vs Hatiras – Spaced Invader
Fusing house and DnB, J Majik’s filter-tastic take on Spaced Invader pumps up the energy levels to previously unimaginable levels.
2002: Adam F and J Majik – Metrosound
Metrosound combines Adam F’s Metropolis and J Majik’s Your Sound into a cacophony of tearing synth lines and rolling breaks.
2003: Pendulum – Spiral
Before they got their rock on, Pendulum were dab hands at the trance-tinged DnB sound. This euphoric vocal anthem was their first release and a real corker.
2004: High Contrast – Twilight's Last Gleaming
In this old-school-R&B-influenced epic, the Welsh wonder cleverly fuses a soulful vocal and filtered David Shire samples. A classic Hospital release.
2005: Clipz – Slippery Slopes
This notorious chav-stepper from the Bristolian legend is dancefloor dynamite, and love it or hate it, you can’t help but admire its brazen basslines and rolling beats.
2006: Noisia & Mayhem – Moonway Renegade
The ultimate combination of kung-fu samples, slamming beats and gnarled bass, Moonway Renegade is glitchy DnB at its most intense.
2007: Sub Focus – Druggy
Sub Focus is a true master of big beats and basslines, and here he combines them with a catchy percussive hook and electronica-esque breakdown to create a dancefloor monster.
2008: Icicle – Spartan
A moody, minimal roller, Spartan’s back to basics approach to DnB brings the beats and basslines to the fore, supplementing them with dubbed-out vocals and Amen edits.
2009: Spor - Aztec
Before spawning his electro-house pseudonym Feed Me, Jon Gooch churned out some expert 170bpm dancefloor weapons under his Spor alias. Here whirring leads, crunching beats and deep bass combine to form arguably his best work to date.
2010: S.P.Y. - By Your Side
Brazilian bass aficionado S.P.Y. sampled the title theme of the movie ‘Terminator Salvation’ to create this Amen-driven tearjerker of a DnB classic - a winning signing for BCee’s Spearhead Records.
2011: Krome & Time - The License (Break Remix)
The mighty and mysterious Break has been king of the DnB underground for some years now, and he proved his worth with this killer remix. Breakneck breakbeats, face-twisting bass, ragga vibes - say no more.
2012: DJ Fresh feat. Rita Ora. - Hot Right Now
Ex-Bad Company member DJ Fresh scored drum ‘n’ bass’s first official UK Number 1 with this pop hit, erasing his underground credibility in the process… Not one for DnB purists, but a landmark release nonetheless.
2013: Rockwell - Detroit
Rockwell is one of a new breed of technical junglists that aren’t afraid to merge influences from other genres. This huge track cleverly tips its hat to a certain classic techno sound, but keeps up the frenetic pace and energy loved by DnB heads.