Drum and bass is my favourite genre of music and has been for the past 5 years. I have always preferred older tracks from the late 90s and early 2000s more than anything else. There are a couple subgenres and variations of drum and bass that were popular at the time. My favourite of them all is Techstep drum and bass, which is considered a predecessor to Neurofunk.
Techstep is a subgenre of drum and bass that is produced almost exclusively with synthesised or sampled sounds. Unlike normal drum and bass of the time or other genres like Jungle, Techstep does not use real drums. The genre often features quantized, processed drum machines, and distorted bass. The sound of techstep is much darker than neurofunk or normal drum and bass.
Techstep has a minimal structure, with violent noise alike to industrial music. It’s brutal and has all of its jungle and reggae feel of drum and bass ripped right out of it. A lot of techstep tracks are in 2-step and a lot of the basslines are a screeching reese bass.
If I could describe where it would be played, it would be like something you’d hear in an evil sci-fi scene or in Cyberpunk 2077. I wouldn’t call a lot of it music for festivals, but more for DJ sets and raves. If someone was to ask me what techstep sounds like, I would show them these two tracks. These two are the greatest tracks I ever heard, and are considered two classics. They are also the two greatest drum and bass tracks I have heard of as a whole.
Bad Company - ‘The Nine’ (1998)
‘I like that someone started the channel “Best DnB” 8 years ago just to post this track’
‘Video title: Bad Company - The Nine’
– UK Rave Comments1
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIGXGkzjAoc - Use Invidious if you wish.
The Nine is an incredibly simple track, but sounds amazing. It has a hard hitting break, fat bassline and is beautifully repetitive and keeps you awake as the track progresses further and further. The Nine is regarded as a classic track and has been played on several mixes. Some I can tell are Andy C’s 1998.07.22 Kiss FM mix. The track is a sick opener but can be mixed with other tracks very well because of how simple it is. If I need to show a track to someone that they can enjoy right away, I will usually show this one.
Konflict (Kemal and Rob Data) - ‘Messiah’ (2000)
‘AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (VRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR), AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (VRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR), AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (VREEEEEEEEE) AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (VRRRRRRRRRR)’
The Messiah has one of the greatest openings of any drum and bass track, ever. I still have not heard a track like it today, the remixes are also very good but the original is a legendary track. It starts with a cold one and a half minute intro of ambient sound, then proceeds to shake the roof with a dark choir sample building up with a warped reese bass behind it. The track then drops and assaults you with loud and raw techstep sound. The distortion of the choir sample itself is a personal favourite of mine.
This track is a classic and over the many years of listening I constantly see comments online about the first time they heard the track live at an event. This is my favourite DnB track and nothing has came close to it. Dieselboy’s The 6ixth Session and Andy C’s Rampage 2018 mix both open their mix with this track.
A good YouTube channel I can find for older techstep/neurofunk/drum and bass is PhantomAudio83, he has a whole load of classics on his channel.
Some honourable mentions
- Black Sun Empire - ‘B Negative’
- Dom N Roland - ‘Imagination’ (Like Messiah)
- Nasty Habits (Doc Scott) - ‘Shadow Boxing’ (In my top 3, like The Nine)
- Cause 4 Concern - ‘Seawolf’
- DJ Hidden - ‘Death Seer’
- Technical Itch - ‘Portscan’
- TeeBee - ‘Through the Eyes of A Scorpion’ (Album)
- Bad Company UK - ‘Sentient’
- Universal Project - ‘Bleach’
- Ryme Tyme & Trace - ‘Move VIP’
The two logos on the blog post banner are the logos for Bad Company UK and Cryptic Audio, Konflict’s label. Credit goes to them both .