Friday night, where do I begin?
I didn’t see as much of the Critical line up as I’d wanted but managed to catch Blocks and Escher’s debut set and the whole of Ivy Lab which were both impeccable! Then obviously all focus turned to Calibre in room three and after seeing a fair amount of his extraordinary six hour stint on the decks, my love for him just keeps on growing. I knew what tracks I wanted to hear him play beforehand but I wasn’t really expecting it as six hours is a long time and the chances of him playing them all whilst in there was slim. As I made my way through the crowd into room three, I could already hear the unmistakable vocals of ‘They’re Wrong’ and I pretty much screamed like an excitable teenager. This was the one tune I really wanted him to play seeing as it’s all I go on about lately. A few tracks later he dropped another favourite ‘Even If’ which automatically demanded a re-load.
After spending the rest of the night going from room to room, we went back into room three to see the last of Calibre and DRS’ marathon set and the atmosphere at that point was unreal. Every single person in there, old, new, veterans and newbies were all there to witness the historical event that had just occurred. He ended the night with a new track I’d never heard before but was told it was called ‘Runaway’ Ft. Fox and as the song faded out the whole room roared and applauded with appreciation. It was definitely one of those moments I’ll look back on in a few years and be glad that I was there to see it first hand. Thank you Calibre, DRS and Critical for keeping my passion for drum and bass alive!
I’ve had a obsession with piano melodies in drum and bass for a long time now and after a lot of research it’s evident that I’m not the only one. So I thought I’d delve deeper into why and how these two juxtaposed sounds often result in some of the most soulful and stunning tracks in the drum and bass back catalogue.
The brilliant thing about drum and bass is that it can incorporate any instruments to create a soulful sound that is often used to evoke certain emotions. Jazz sounds are also popular within many drum and bass tracks and back in 2000 Fabio pioneered a new sub genre ‘Liquid Funk’ which used all the classic sounds of Jazz, blues and soul. However piano rifts date even further back to the beginnings of jungle and drum and bass.
As most people are aware the genre spawned from producers taking influence from all styles of music to create a new sound and the piano has become a staple sound in order to showcase the beauty of the genre. An early example of the piano’s strong influence in dnb is Renegade’s track ‘Terrorist’ which dates back to ‘94. Jungle was seen as gritty and probably the last genre of music you’d expect to use the classic sounds of piano, however the intro of this track combined with the the harsh percussion commonly used in jungle works well together to create a unique sound. Another example of this is from Peshay back in ‘95 with the aptly named ‘Piano Tune’ which once again combines piano and jungle in an effortless and effective manner.
Calibre is the most obvious example of this marriage of piano and bass as he meticulously combines deep bass lines with classical piano rifts, for example ‘Paragov’ has heavy piano influences and his latest remix of Break’s ‘They’re Wrong’ is another stunning example of how he has perfected this sound.
Aside from Calibre. There are a number of artists, especially liquid producers, that champion this sound. London Elektricity features the piano in ‘Different Drum’ from 2003. Also Alix Perez uses piano sounds in some of his most iconic tracks such as ‘Contradictions’ and ‘Melanie’. In addition, SpectraSoul are also a fan of the piano as highlighted in their track ‘Alibi’. More recently, Lenzman even uses a Harmonica alongside the traditional piano sound in his track ‘Raindrops’ ft. DRS. These are just a few examples but it obvious that there is a multitude of piano influence in the drum and bass scene, past and present. However, as mentioned before it is not just confined to the liquid sub genre, even Hazard adopted subtle piano sounds in his VIP of ‘Right Now’
There are many other genres including hip hop and house music that uses classical influences but nothing touches the soul more than an epic piano with a heavy bass line. The way that drum and bass uses piano is truly unique as it can uplift and transcend you like no other. This is just scraping the surface, but there are plenty of piano influenced tracks out there and will continue to be the producers instrument of choice for many years to come.
I’ve fallen off the radar again recently for various reasons so there is not much dnb related stuff to comment on at the moment and it will probably remain that way until the 7th March, which will be an epic night at Fabric. Critical host room two and my all time favourite producer Calibre will be gracing the decks in room three for a six hour round trip into his extensive and incomparable back catalogue. There is no point trying to decipher the kind of set he will play but it will be a once in a lifetime event non the less. There will also have to be some compromise that evening as Kasra, Enei, Mefjus, Emperor, Foreign Concept, Ivy Lab, Sam Binga, Redders, Blocks and Escher will all be bringing the Critical Sound in room two. Not forgetting room one with Rodigan, Randall and Shy Fx b2b Zinc to add to abundance of great music, excited is an understatement!