It has been a phenomenal year for Drum & Bass. While we have spent the last 12 months re-aligning ourselves, what has kept us going is some incredible Drum & Bass music. It is a testament to the artists who have had had their shows canceled left, right and center, but continued creating what they loved.
Drum & Bass is stronger than it’s ever been. Truly, there is no other community that we would rather be in. We have seen some massive singles, albums and collaborations this year, and through serious cross-pollination, artists have been stepping outside their niche and experimenting as they see fit.
To celebrate a fantastic year, we have listed some of our favorite Drum and Bass tracks of the year. This list is in no particular order, and each track is a masterpiece you need on your playlist immediately!
LTJ BUKEM – FLIP THE NARRATIVE
First, we’re starting off with the legendary LTJ Bukem‘s surprising release on Drum&BassArena. Nobody saw this release coming, and when it appeared on our feed, we were nearly convinced it was classic algorithm-based suggestion by YouTube. That is, until we looked closely and realized that it was uploaded just a few hours ago. LTJ Bukem did release another tune which was a remix for Above & Beyond, but ‘Flip The Narrative’ stood out as our favorite LTJ Bukem track of 2021, as well as one of the best tracks released this year.
PARTICLE – FALL 2 FAST
After his debut on Critical Music in 2019, Particle has quickly placed himself as a top dog within the newest breed of seriously good Drum & Bass producers. Now fully tied with Critical Music, his production styles range from Bongo-infused heaters like ‘Cult Process’ to steppy and diced-up numbers like ‘Bang’. Particle is fresh off his release with Sam Binga, which features four brand new, jittery tunes. Still, our pick remains to be ‘Fall 2 Fast’ which brings out the producer’s love for Jungle, Techno and Breakbeat extraordinarily.
MOLLIE COLLINS & RUTH ROYALL – REMEDIES
Next up is one of the biggest and finest tracks of the year. DJ wizard Mollie Collins and the amazing Ruth Royall came together to deliver a magical tune that will send shivers down your spine and evoke so many emotions you have been holding inside. We won’t’ speak too much. Just sit back and listen!
PAIGE JULIA – LIVE AND DIRECT
Kiwi producer Paige Julia debuted on Unchained Recordings for a 4-track EP, and smashed every tune out of the park. She also delivered her debut album, ‘Morphling’, this year, but the ‘Dreams’ EP on Unchained stands out for many reasons; it’s modern yet old-school, it’s raw and it’s fierce. ‘Live and Direct’ is a compelling mix of art, ambience and energy that makes the tune for hardcore junglists, tastemakers, and punters alike.
TECHNIMATIC – EVERLASTING
One of the masters of Liquid Drum & Bass released one of the most stunning tracks of the year with ‘Everlasting’. Having bossed the art of crafting smooth-as-silk rollers, Technimatic took a slightly pop-friendly route on this one with its strings, pianos and soulful vocal samples delivered with supreme progression. A Liquid Drum & Bass beauty.
JUBEI & DBRIDGE – SHOW ME
Our next pick is one of the most sought-after tunes from 2021 that was a dubplate for an eternity. ‘Show Me’ featuring Bridge was finally brought to life by Jubei on his Carbon Music imprint. The tune is structured around a hypnotic vocal sample that revolves throughout the whole arrangement, with the backdrop featuring a penetratingly dark bassline that collides into the listener with frightening force. It’s hard to quantify tunes with the kind of year Drum & Bass has had, but ‘Show Me’ definitely sits in our Top 3 tunes of the year.
PYXIS & EIDNA – GUIDE YOU HOME
If by any chance you slept on this tune, maybe it’s time to forgive yourself and hit play right away! One of the queens of Liquid Drum & Bass teamed up with Eidna to create a gorgeous vocal-led stunner. Sunny Moves have had a brilliant year but for us, ‘Guide You Home’ by pyxis sits right on top of the label’s best releases this year and truly is one of TFword’s most cherished tunes of the year.
WINSLOW – LOSING DIRECTION (FT. MR. PORTER)
Like we said in our previous pieces, Goldfat Records’ scouting is second to none, and Winslow is a prime example of how good they are at bringing in prospective talent and journeying with them on their rise to the top. ‘Losing Direction’ featuring one of label heads, Mr. Porter, is a poignant Drum & Bass tune that brings Winslow’s unique style with Mr. Porter’s euphoric vocals. The tune is part of the label’s Full Fat compilation which you need to check out if you haven’t already. We interviewed Mr. Porter and he had some really strong words to say about the tune!
MANDIDEXTROUS & BISH – TECHNO ON MY MIND
One of the most unique releases this year where Jungletek met Drum & Bass. Teaming up with Bristol-based producer, Bish, Mandidextrous, who is the pioneer of the 190 BPM sound, brought Jungletek, Jungle, Techno, and Drum & Bass into a single tune. Proper festival fire-starter.
RIYA & COLLETTE WARREN – STEPPING STONES FT. KYRIST & SOFI MARI
Birmingham-born and bred vocalists Riya and Collette Warren first met at Sun And Bass 2011 and since then, they have solidified a friendship that has now resulted in the first-ever collaborative female vocal album in Drum & Bass. ‘Stepping Stones’ from their ‘Two Sides of Everything’ which features the queen of technoid bass Kyrist and spoken delivery champion Sofi Mari brings all the four influences immaculately on the tune, featuring Kyrist’s weighty bass, Riya and Collette Warren’s vocals followed by Sofi Mari’s electrifying bars.
THE CARACAL PROJECT & ROHAAN – TURBOCHARGED
Propellant sonics meet intricate sound design on this humdinger from The Caracal Project & Rohaan. ‘Turbocharged’ which is part of The Caracal Project’s release on Pilot Records features an off-kilter beat that draws the attention of the listener right from the outset. The track grows further, and climaxes into a sonically rich Drum & Bass tune that has sound effects filter in and out over crisp percussions.
ETHERWOOD – AKASHA
‘Soulful and inspiring’ has been Etherwood’s modus operandi since he started releasing music in 2012, and this approach has been the reason behind Etherwood’s name being regularly cited as one of the top 10 Liquid Drum & Bass producers today. One of our absolute favorites this year is a part his ‘Neon’ album called ‘Akasha’, – a meticulously crafted song with long and melancholic piano rolls and crisp drum production with flickers of eastern elements, which will go down as one of the finest tunes Etherwood has ever produced.
With so many labels and artists geared up for 2022 already, it’s safe to say that Drum & Bass is ready for another enthralling ride! And we, of course, can hardly wait!