Classifying Drum and Bass


New Member
Jan 27, 2017

As a dj, I usually sort my tracks by keys, but I find it limiting.
I have all kind of drum and bass, heavy to dark Neurofunk, classic to crazy jump up, uplifting liquid, liquid funk, liquid soul, minimal dnb, ragga dnb, jungle, etc...
I found this method which looks really cool, but now I'm looking for a consistent hierarchisation of the drum and bass genre.

It's hard to make a list of all the sub-gender of dnb, and it may not be the solution because there are nearly as many sub-gender as there are tunes. Also, sometimes the frontier between subgenres is really weak, there are some minimal neurofunk tunes, some minimal jump up, etc...

In the example of the site, they classify the Hip Hop genre using this classification:
  • Time (by decade): [80s] [90s] [2k] [2k10] (this tag could be eliminated by using the Year ID3 tag instead)
  • Region: [East] [West] [South] [MW] (for midwest)
  • Subgenre: [Bay] [Chill] [Crunk] [Drill] [Trap] [Twerk] [UG] (underground) [Pop]
  • Production Quality: [Dirty] [Clean]
  • Sound/Vibe: [Deep] (pitched-down vocals, bass focused) [High] (pitched-up vocals, melody focused)
It sounds good for hip hop, but dnb is different.
So what would be a good classification method for you ?
I am looking for ideas to make a consistent tag classification of my playlist.
Any ideas ?

PS: I tried to write the better english I could, please be kind ^^
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Myself, I just sort by sub-genre. There are plenty of grey areas but oh well, it's for my use only and I usually know which folder to go to. Failing that I would search by artist. I would classify by: a) sub-genre b) artist c) year

Your English is fine ;)
Thanks :)
Yeah but for example how do classify Break - Who Got Da Funk
, and L33 - The Crypt
Few years ago I would have said that Who Got Da Funk is Neurofunk, but it's not the kind of Neurofunk as The Crypt.
I think what it would help me if others try to decline dnb subgenres with me, and then the different tastes within a subgenre, examples would be appreciated :)

To me the main subgenres are:
  • Neurofunk: (Typical Example :) L33 - The Crypt (awesome beat!)
  • Jump Up: Taxman - Revenge Vip
  • Liquid: Nu:Logic - WaterColors
  • Jungle: Break - Right Now
  • Ragga Dnb: Chopstick Dubplate - Worldwide Traveller ft. Top Cat & Mr. Williamz
  • Half Step (not really a subgenre, too vague): Noisia - Mantra
This is ok at first, but then, in which subgenre would I put Skeptical - Elephant Dreams
? It's dark, like neurofunk, but definitely not the same genre, more minimalistic, kind of like M-Soul & S27 - What Matters The Most
Also tracks like Jam Thieves - Alcatraz
, on Playaz recordings, heavyweight but not really jump up to my ears...
In the liquid department, tracks like Calibre - Vice
doesn't feel the same genre to me...
Also Tracks like Calibre - Tempo Dub (killer track)
seems just to be plain dnb.

Do you have other sub genres in mind ?
Or do you have tastes for subgenres, or declinations for sub-sub-genres ?

You might think that I am overthinking it, but I plan to retag all my library and I would like to do it once in a consistent way cause it's huge!
It is important to me because I mix on CDJ and I always need to make selections for my usb keys. I usually prepare mixes using harmonic mixing but I find it limiting, and I'd like to classify the library in a good way so I can mix freely without preparing anything, so when I have tracks that are so different and I cannot sort them easily it takes to much time to mix without preparation.
I hope it make sense ^^
to be fair mate think your overthinking it too much, as long as you know where the tunes are it doesn't matter to anyone else cause you will be the one dropping it!

I mix vinyl and realised there is no point organising them cause they just gonna be a mess again the next time I mix haha
Yeah but on vinyl it's easy to find random next tunes, on CDJ, tracks are always sorted in a certain way, so it is better to find a sorting that suit your need!
When you have a lot of tracks, it is also hard to navigate through all of the tracks to find a certain one, on vinyl you have your stack of vinyls and all your vinyls are at your fingertips!

Having tracks sorted by alphabetical order makes it hard to pass from a tune whose name start at A to one that start from Z, mostly if you have a lot of tracks.
Sorting them by key kind of force you to mix in a way and I find it limiting my creativity.

That is why I'd like to try this techniques. If they can do it for hip hop, why not for dnb?
Ok, here is how I proceed:

Labels are indeed very specific in their criteria to sign releases, as they have to preserve their label spirit. So classifying tracks by label may seem a good solution at first, but then you get easily lost by widely open labels like Med School or Shogun.
I therefore don't use labels to classify my library anymore, I try to use sub-genres at best, but I'll put names of representative labels next to the different subgenres (I gathered - not without some research I confess) as examples:

- Vocal DnB (for some part, the purely commercial synthy ones) : Hospital, Shogun, Ram, Technique, Lifted, Liquicity...

- Neurofunk : Blackout, Eatbrain, Bad Taste, C4Crecordings, Tam...

- Darkstep (= must be the sub-genre you were looking for trying to separate 'Who Got The Funk' from 'The Crypt'. It is - to me at least - the darker yet calmer part of neurofunk) : Cyberfunk, Demand, Tech Itch, Invisible...

- Techstep (= techy and cleaner than neurofunk) : Metalheadz, Critical, EXIT, C.I.A....

- Liquid : Spearhead, LV, Soul:R, Liquid Drops, Fokuz...

- Jazzstep : Jazzsticks, SoulVent...

- Jungle : Metalheadz (for some part like from Mikal)...

- Jump Up : Playaz, Multi Function...

- Reggae DnB : Serial Killaz...

- Half Time (or Half Step) : Division, 20/20, 1985...

- Crossbread (once called Hardstep) : PRSPCT, Forbidden Society Recordings, Algorythm...

- DarkSide neurofunk (= almost like crossbread but keeping a breakbeat instead of a hard 4-step beat) : same labels as in the Crossbread section, Crash Pang Wallop...

- Breakcore (or Drill'n'bass if less black metal inspired and techier) : Woulg (artist) for the typical drill'n'bass example, Breakcore artists : Venetian Snares, Ruby My Dear (PRSPCT), Igorrr...

Hope it helps.
I think you're on the right path. Thanks to this method I can now very easily run across my whole library and create playlists fitting my mood in no time, despite my 100Go+ of DnB ;)
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In my humble opinion you new school Computer DJs are obsessive-compulsive freaks that are worried about keys and blah blah blah back in my day we just played whatever sounded dope together by ear we did not organize it should except for that
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