Dark Drum 'n' Bass
Dark drum 'n' bass focuses on the more malevolent elements of an already sinister sound. Hardstep turns the anxiety of techstep and the good-natured brashness of jump-up into anger and chest-pounding bravado. In mid-'90s London, impassioned producers high on testosterone and vitriol added several bass kicks to the basic two-step breakbeat, creating tough, swaggering breaks that ruthlessly stomped their way across the dancefloor. Turntable scratches, greased-lightning synth squiggles, vocal snippets, and seething basslines create a snarling, aggressive atmosphere that brings to mind a tribe of warlike post-industrial scavengers gearing up for battle. Dark and dirty drum 'n' bass has always been popular in clubs. In the mid-1990s, the ragga sound of jungle was stripped down to make hardstep, identifiable by its tough percussive sound. Darkcore really took off in late 1998, when labels like Emotif, No U-Turn and Metalheadz pumped out fierce tracks from the likes of Trace and Ed Rush & Optical. The dark basslines, cold percussion and science fiction atmospherics dominated this sort of d 'n' b, which became more minimal as the millennium drew to a close. Although the funkier side of the scene flourished again post-2000, there's still a dingy corner of a club near you that will be rolling to the sounds of Technical Itch, Dom & Roland and darkcore d 'n' b.