D&B: Best Of 2008

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01.  Pendulum – Propane Nightmares
02.  Pendulum – Blood Sugar
03.  Chase & Status feat. Plan B – Pieces
04.  Pendulum – Granite
05.  DJ Fresh – Golddust
06.  Danny Byrd – Weird Science
07.  Danny Byrd feat. Brookes Brothers – Gold Rush
08.  High Contrast – Racing Green
09.  Danny Byrd feat. Redd – Joy And Pain
10.  Logistics – Cosmonaut
11.  Adele – Hometown Glory (High Contrast Remix)
12.  J. Majik & Wickaman feat. Kathy Brown – Crazy World (Brookes Brothers Remix)
13.  Shinichi Osawa – Star Guitar (Brookes Brothers Remix)
14.  Brookes Brothers – Tear You Down
15.  Mistabishi – No Matter What
16.  High Contrast – If We Ever
17.  Chase & Status feat. Yolanda – Take Me Away
18.  TC – Where’s My Money (Caspa Remix)

This was a mix that I made for the old Hello Friends site (RIP).  There were a lot of massive Drum & Bass tunes in 2008, and Chase & Status ruled that year with “More Than Alot” (which was, without a doubt, the best album of 2008–regardless of genre).

I decided to make a Drum & Bass “best of” mix that year because I felt that a “Welcome Back!” celebration was in order.  You see, I have a confession to make…  I pretty much stopped buying Drum & Bass around 1998-1999.  I always used to think that it was because I was getting more and more involved in the Detroit Hip Hop scene, focusing more on DJing Rap music and B-Boy Breaks, and getting more involved with the Starving Artists Crew… but it wasn’t until recently, however, that I realized a more likely culprit:  From 1998 to 2005, Drum & Bass music sucked!  In general, it was just terrible.

I had this epiphany while listening to Crissy Criss‘ radio show on BBC Radio 1Xtra back in March of 2012.  This special was on the evolution of Drum & Bass, from 1988 to the present day. Crissy Criss had numerous DJ’s to do a 5 minute mini-mix of all of the popular songs in a given year (e.g., one DJ covered 1991, a different DJ covered 1992, another did 1993, etc.).

While listening to this history lesson, I found myself gradually not liking what I was hearing around 1998-1999.  It was like I was entering the “Dark Ages” of Drum & Bass, and the music seemed to stay there until around 2006-2007.

By 2007, Drum & Bass was good again, which is ironic because 2007 is when I got back into Drum & Bass.

I have Fabio & Grooverider‘s old radio show (RIP) on BBC Radio 1 to thank for getting me back into Drum & Bass!!  Their show inspired me to make this “D&B: Best Of 2008” mix.  I’ve since migrated over to Friction‘s show on BBC Radio 1, who took over for Fabio & Grooverider.  I now listen to Friction’s show every week to stay up on all the latest tracks.

I must admit… not all songs between 1998-2006 were horrible.  There was the occasional anthem here and there during this period (e.g., DJ Marky & XRS “LK“, High Contrast “Return Of Forever“, MIST & High Contrast “3AM“, Shy FX & T Power “Feelings“, Lenny Fontana “Spread Love-Nu:Tone Remix“, High Contrast “Twilight’s Last Gleaming“, etc.), but they all seemed to be few and far between.  Back in 2008, Fabio used to play High Contrast’s “Racing Green” all of the time (which is why it appears on this mix), but “Racing Green” was actually released in 2004!

If you notice, at the very end of my “D&B: Best Of 2008” mix, I include a non-Drum & Bass bonus track.  Caspa’s remix of “Where’s My Money” was such a stinker in 2008 that I just had to include it!  To this day, I feel that this song best exemplifies what Dubstep should be… specifically in how Caspa used many different types of bass in his remix.  He used bass kicks, 808 bass booms, different sub bass line patterns, wobbly sub bass lines, and even some crazy sub bass that sounds like a Vietnam Huey is approaching!

One of the main problems that I have with Dubstep (and Drumstep) is how boring the sub bass often is.  Dubstep producers, especially the one’s from the USA, spend all of their time programming intricate things like stupid Three Stooges/Homer Simpson whoop whoop whoop synth sounds and voice-boxed Sesame Street Martian yup yup yups, while completely ignoring the bass.  When they do put in some bass, they just slap something together in like 3 seconds and loop it.  Totally unimaginative.  It’s like listening to a nonstop drone for 5 minutes straight!

To be fair, there have been a couple of Dubstep songs with repetitive, boring sub bass lines that I’ve actually liked.  But they’ve typically been the more pop-sounding, vocally songs (e.g., La Roux “In For The Kill-Skream Remix“) where the simple bass line makes more sense.

But I can’t tell you the number Dubstep songs that I’ve heard where the producer will be chopping up and stuttering various synth sounds and vocal samples, and yet nothing is done to the bass line.  Ugghhh!!  For crying out loud, if you’re going to freak the synths and vocals, then you also need to pay attention to the bass and sub bass!  The bass needs to complement and syncopate with everything else occurring in the song.  Come on man, get it together!


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