In 2019 drum and bass continues to follow a path like no other. Deep-rooted in collaboration and community, unbudging in its path of ascendency, the scene is as strong today as it’s ever been.
We’ve had huge albums from the likes of S.P.Y, Chase & Status and Kings of The Rollers, landmark events like Sun and Bass, Rampage and Let It Roll, and a litter of singles, remixes and bootlegs to go with them. But which is best? Here, we take a look at the year’s defining drum and bass songs.
Kings of The Rollers – Guitar Track
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to crown Kings of The Rollers as the quintessential drum and bass act of 2019. While their respective solo careers continue to flourish, Serum, Voltage and Bladerunner have seen even more success as a trio. Guitar Track was included on the supergroup’s acclaimed debut album, and sounded like a Tarantino score cut dipped in drums.
Dimension – If You Want To
One of drum and bass’ most divisive contributors, Dimension has had an up and down year. In 2019 he was promoted to headline act, played a controversial ‘live’ set at Electric Brixton, and as a result pushed many buttons along the way. If You Want To was one of his biggest hits this year, complete with sultry French sample and rhythmic bass.
Barrington Levy – Here I Come (Nu:Tone Remix)
With each new release, Hospital Records pushes the boat out and proves it is one of the most important labels on the scene. Further proof came with Jet Star meets Hospital, a 16-track remix project with drum and bass reworks of classic reggae hits. Nu:Tone’s Here I Come remix was the pick of the bunch.
Shy FX – Original Nuttah 25 (Chase & Status Remix ft Irah)
There aren’t many drum and bass tracks that can boast the same influence and long-lasting pedigree as Original Nuttah. And with the seminal anthem celebrating its 25th birthday this year, who better to commemorate the anniversary than Chase & Status? Deeper, darker, and with Irah on the vocals — who knew Original Nuttah could get even better?
High Contrast – Days Go By (2019 Mix)
With its muddy production and shoddy mixing, you’d be forgiven for forgetting about High Contrast’s original 2005 mix of Days Go By. But Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen found second life on High Contrast’s 2019 mix, and the results far exceeded the original. Days Go By is a massive drum and bass track — especially when experienced live.
Adam F – Circles (Pola & Bryson Bootleg)
It takes guts to rework a true drum and bass anthem. Shogun Audio’s ever-popular Pola & Bryson proved up to the task however, when they bought Circles into 2019 with a monster bootleg. Will we ever see an official release? Will it remain a bootleg forever? Maybe we’ll find out in 2020.
Ben Snow – Out In The Streets
A roller draped in dubs, long-teased and eagerly-awaited, Out In The Streets is this year’s Police In Helicopter. Built around Ini Kamoze’s timeless 1984 hit World-A-Music, Out In The Streets starts off sleepy before a horn-heavy break, one that demands bass faces and gun fingers.
Anile & DRS – Constant Reminder
Early 2019 saw DRS temporarily depart drum and bass to work on a fourth studio album, From The Deep, before returning with the collaborative LP The Blue Hour with LSB. Throw in DnB Arena Award nominations as both MC and vocalist and it’s clear you’ve got a contributor at the top of his game. Constant Reminder seems a fitting title for one of the best releases of the year, from one of the scene’s favourites.