Drum & Bass dead? Not in the Twin Cities

OK, it's not dead in the UK, either, where the stuff is mainstream as pop music. But it seems any electronic music fan you'd ask in the States would be the first to pronounce the death of drum & bass/jungle like he was written into its will.

Here in Minneapolis, however, the DJs and producers who consider themselves soldiers of the genre that mashes ragga, hip-hop and megabasslines are many. And they've compiled Volume 3 of the CD series started in the early '00s, Twin Cities Drum & Bass, celebrating its release tonight.  

"Basically what this compilation means is that D&B is still around and is still being pioneered and explored on the underground level," said the compilation's founder, Paul "DJ Virgo" Hunter. "Most if not all of the artists on this CD never expect to 'make it' on a record label or in the industry, but instead make the music they want to hear, regardless of it's current popularity with the masses."

Artists on this volume include Fakt, Catalyst, Polter, WT Dread, Robby T, Scam, Echtoo, Meadows, Virgo, Kokigami, E$kr, Hadji, Diatrybe, and Web of Deception, and it's mixed by Bumpyscrew. 

Most of the artists on the compilation were around during the genre's late-90s heyday in the Cities, which is where most of them remain. Sadly for its music-loving population, production duo Scam and Robby T. are now Twin Cities expatriates, having starting Bad Habit Recordings in 2003 -- acclaimed by everyone from Pendulum to Jae Kennedy -- and moving away a few years later. Scam lives in Seattle and contributes to The Stranger while Robby works in IT in New York City.  

Other veterans of the old school scene include Web Of Deception, Hadji, and Catalyst, who all started out as DJs and now work largely on production.

"Over the years, the production has gotten more fine-tuned and refined, and it's interesting to watch each producer grow and learn and make better and better tunes," Hunter said.  

Hunter said many of the tracks on Twin Cities Drm & Bass Vol. 3 will only make it to dubplate, so this compilation is a way "to immortalize some of the better tunes of the era on a local level."

And, he said, "it's just damn fun to put out CDs and throw parties."