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The Rough Guide to Drum N' Bass [Paperback]

Peter Shapiro
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Jun 1999 Rough Guides Reference Titles
Pocket reference guide covering the arrival of the breakbeat on British shores and its subsequent re-circulation throughout the world in genres such as Jungle, Drum 'n' Bass, Hardcore Techno, Trip-Hop and Big Beat. It details the innovators and apprentices of this science in an encyclopaedic format.


Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Rough Guides Ltd (24 Jun 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1858284333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1858284330
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 10.5 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 450,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

No gaps...well balanced between appreciation and criticism...excellent for dipping into. -- STRAIGHT NO CHASER, Summer 1999, London, UK

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction

The Rough Guide to Drum 'n' Bass follows the path of the breakbeat after its arrival on British shores and its subsequent recirculation throughout the world via genres like Jungle, Drum 'n' Bass, Hardcore Techno, Trip-Hop/Down Tempo and Big Beat. Originally the part of late '60s/early '70s records where all the instruments would drop out except for the drums, which would continue the groove rather than solo, the breakbeat formed the foundation of the early hip-hop records (when it was still largely the provenance of guys with "two turntables and a microphone") and of the records made when hip-hop was largely created by the sampler. Now generally defined as almost any rhythm that is not in 4/4 tempo, the breakbeat has become the building block of what is considered the first specifically British strain of dance music, Jungle, and later the crucial aspect of other British mutations of hip-hop - Big Beat and Trip-Hop.

Covering both the innovators and the apprentices of breakbeat science in an encyclopedic format, this book is divided into two sections: one focusing on Drum 'n' Bass/Jungle/Hardcore and the other focusing on Trip-Hop and Big Beat. While combining these somewhat disparate genres under the umbrella of "drum 'n' bass" may be controversial, there is no denying that all these artists belong to the same breakbeat continuum. Of course, as anyone who has ever read an interview in the music press would know, musicians hate to be pigeon-holed, so quibbles over nomenclature shouldn't matter anyway, right?

What does matter is that beginning roughly with the records of Shut Up and Dance in the very late '80s, enterprising British producers started turbo-boosting the low ends of House and Techno with the chest-caving sub-bass and hyper-kinetic breakbeats of hip-hop to create a new form of music known at various times over its progression as rave, Hardcore, Jungle and drum 'n' bass. While it has never had anywhere near the prolonged mainstream acceptance of House, there is no question that drum 'n' bass's mutation of rhythm, celebration of speed, dialectic of ecstasy and come-down, and play of surfaces is potentially the most exciting musical development since the dawn of hip-hop.

Moving in parallel to the evolution of drum 'n' bass, albeit with very different chemical imperatives, artists like Coldcut and DJ Shadow took their cues from the mix-and-match aesthetic of cut 'n' paste legends Double Dee & Steinski and the dusty productions of hip-hop masters the 45 King and DJ Premier to create their own blunted, detached take on aural collage called variously Trip-Hop, Down Tempo or Downbeat. A few years later, as the dividends of abstraction were evaporating, some court jesters with samplers and big record collections remade this minimal music with rock's maximal hedonism in mind to produce Big Beat, the most mindlessly enjoyable music in years.

Although The Rough Guide to Drum 'n' Bass is meant to function as a reference book, by no means does it pretend to be objective. The proliferation of electronic dance music has been the biggest breath of fresh air to blow across British and, even if it doesn't necessarily want to admit it, American youth culture in some time. Its greatest failing, though, has been the largely uncritical press that has developed alongside it, which has given the culture extreme delusions of grandeur. While wanting to celebrate the achievements of Jungle, Down Tempo and Big Beat, this book has been written with the full intention of ruffling feathers and provoking debate within a scene that has been too insular for its own good.

Thanks to everyone who loaned me records and photos and divulged info, my editor Jennifer Dempsey and, most of all, to my wife, Rachael, who put up with my bouts of insomnia more than any reasonable person should have to.

Peter Shapiro


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exellent to backeround to drum and bass 25 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
this boook really gives an in depth account of the world of drum and bass form the early 80's to the present day.you learn alot about dj's, mc's and the whole spectrum of drum and bass,truly a fantastic buy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breakbeat Selection 11 Mar 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
An excellent A-Z of the main players in the UK drum & bass scene, covering quite accurately the boom years between 1994-96. This is the kind of reference book that could be regularly updated, seeing as drum & bass seems to be going through something of a renaissance in the eyes of the mainstream currently, with tracks by Shimon & Andy C, and Shy FX gaining daytime airplay on Radio 1.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some glaring mistakes 17 Jun 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I think this book is good, since there are few other books about the subject of drum and bass, there are some glaring mistakes. For some reason they put Air (the French duo) in the drum and bass section and not the Trip-hop, Lounge, Big Beat area. Air clearly falls into the downtempo catagory. Second, in one review they noted that the Exploited wrote the song "City Baby Attacked by Rats" (it's an old hardcore punk rock tune) but it was GBH who did that tune. Bad mistake for a music historian. It also mimics Simon Reynolds book "Ecstasy Generation" too much. The opinions seem to be the same and the way Rough Guide is written also shadows Reynold's book. In addition, there aren't any keys to the symbols for CD or vinyl. I had to figure it out myself. And...some of the recommendations aren't the best samples of the artists' work. Kinda poor way to guide someone through a genre many find confusing. But, like I said, there aren't many more books about D&B out there.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very rough guide. 3 Jan 2000
By Charly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Rough Guide to Drum and Bass is a fairly decent book. Flipping through the pages you see a lot of leading names in the scene. In it, you can find some of the people who started the genere. The only thing I was disappointed about in this book was the fact that it's so new and it left out major names like Bad Company, Calyx, Dieselboy, and more. Hopefully there will be another book covering these names and more. Overall, this book was quite informative.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rough Guide to DnB-Overview 6 Nov 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Good reading, especially if you're a junglist, and got some spare time on your hands. Contains good info on the biggest names in the scene (the british ones). Does include downtempo and trip hop etc. however, so dont be surprised to run into names such as Dj Shadow and Thievery Corporation, towards the end. Also the book names almost each artists' biggest anthems, so why not use these highlighted tracks for your next burned compilation?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laid the Foundation 1 April 2011
By R.P. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It was 1999 and I was a freshman in high school. "Endtroducing" opened up my ears three years prior, the debut UNKLE record was what I was hype about at that time, and the first DJ Krush album mellowed me out. An appreciation and admiration for electronic and sample based music ensued. The only problem was that I was completely unaware of what else to listen to or what to look for next besides the offerings of the Mo' Wax label.

On a random trip to Atlantic City with a relative, I browsed through a book store at the Pier Mall and found this book for sale on clearance as the store was going out of business. I was drawn to the title and size. Upon opening, I found pages upon pages of electronic artists, their discography information, and other notes of interest. This thing was like a dossier. In these pages I learned about DJ Vadim, DJ Cam, Double Dee & Steinski, Coldcut, LTJ Bukem, Tricky, Roni Size..pretty much the whole electronic scene at that time. You can imagine how my head was spinning. So many artists to investigate and so many albums to explore!!

Although it does have a small share of wrong information (titling Dog Sled Camel Race for DJ Q-Bert's Camel Bobsled Race, haha!), it proved to be a worthwhile investment for me. It was like a textbook and it went everywhere I did. I consider this book as one of my building blocks as it ignited quite a passion for electronic music and its production. It also improved my DJ sets!!

I can't find my copy these days but would purchase it again for nostalgic value. It's quite interesting to see how the landscape of electronic music has evolved since I first purchased it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good basic look @ D&B 30 Jun 2001
By Shotptrdj - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Despite the not always perfect genre listings for the artists in this book, it still porvides most all the biographical info that any normal person would want for Drum N Bass and Breakbeat artists and groups, worth the small price.
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