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Friday, 25 June 2010

SubVersion Stop 93: Cerberus' theory on drum & bass discourse

Statto highlighted his “Tings what I listened to today” early in SubVersion’s history, whereas I’ve contemplated commenting on SC orbiting. Craftily imposed as “Leaked pictures of my girlfriend...”, Cerberus comments that, from several experiences, “people who are not much into d&b tend to listen to the 'weird' drum patterns instead of everything that’s underneath. Those who listen more often get used to the patterns and can focus more on the rest of the tune since the patterns are logical to them, they don't distract the listener and they can listen to the tune as a whole, or as it was meant to be.”

Reading this throws up intruiging conundrums: what context would be suitable for digesting the experimental side? Who’s melodies feel less incidental to percussion? And defining that d&b has a pulse, where does timing counterbalanced with tempo encourage dilapidation? “I'm in no way saying that we should leave the drums out, the more hectic the better (to some extent)” Cerberus counters. “Its just something I notice in my surroundings.” I think we can all relate. For me, exposure to drum & bass proper happened in my mid teens. I was enraptured beyond peer popularity by it sounding like nothing else. Perhaps comfort is a decider. My folks can appreciate some of it, but their critique follows the periphery that as you age, your preferences change.

Does that mean they’ve grown out of the style? Maybe yes and maybe no. It’s true to say that raver and casual counterparts aren’t mutually exclusive, but as surroundings become more ingrained to singular aesthetics (no clubbing, lack of socialisng in the “scene”), the acceptance quota weakens.

Those scenically immersed, who buy in bulk aren’t necessarily offered heightened diversity – their tastes may never progress from dance floor wobble bangers. Impulse purchasees could avoid deeper styles, but there is likelihood some day that for the sake of music being new and in vogue, transcendence is possible by the shifting nature and attitudes of the drum & bass tastemakers.

Indeed, my introduction to left-of-field D&B began through Drum & Bass Arena with a feature on Fracture & Neptune. My weekly spending habits then accomodated records around that area, with Subvert Central being advertised on the www.dogsonacid.com forum a springboard into deeper discussion. What’s more, I was able to oversee opinions from inside the machine – producers, DJs and label owners struggling or refraining from certain activities – and henceforth I became educated about the insecurities of the minority.

Thusly I deem worthiness presenting matter in juxtaposition – at times, with opposites. Otherwise people are liable to stay in their comfort zone, trance-like, with no breaks from conservatism. It’s all too easy to rest on your laurels. But when embarking towards a fresh direction, it’s possible that you forget placement of your feet beforehand. I’ve read stories of older heads getting hyper on the “then” latest hardcore anthems, however as their tastes evolve, some aren’t too keen to accept today’s market has acts like Pendulum buffering bright futures.

Of course, it's debatable the contemporary mainstream is so void of creativity, and degenerative in its influences, that listeners are incapable of integrating chopped drum edits and immersive atmospherics into their diet. Nonetheless, I believe as long as mixtapes marrying old with new exist, there is potential for healthy growth. A rolling stone gathers no moss if it’s suspended from motion, whereby fans abhorrent to tradition shouldn’t be downtrodden for naivety. It’s the duty – as it was of Doc Scott to switch up from his period in the D&B circus – to inform and not judge with contempt the new generation. They are the lifeblood of change; the key to commonplace satisfaction. That “they” are fed commerical dilutions shouldn’t be the point of conjecture – wise personalities are either reserved from malice, or pushing what they love.

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