In Review: The Best of 2020 Drum and Bass

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One of the most challenging years in recent history and we managed to make it through. Big up to each and every one of you for holding it together while the world was falling apart, I know many of us faced not only the global struggles but those on a personal level as well. When everything is in total chaos the only thing that keeps us together is the power of drum and bass. This is some of the best neurofunk to come out of the worst year; it kept us alive; breathing life into the monotony of lockdown until we can rave together once again.

Take a listen to my Best of 2020 DNB mix and read on for more about the great music we’ve heard in the past year from some amazingly talented artists and labels. Thank you all for the continued support!

Eatbrain has been eating up my library this year and I am seriously impressed with the quantity and quality of the tracks coming out of this camp. Kicking off the year with the Teddy Killerz, who also smashed releases across multiple labels in drum and bass from RAM and Neuropunk to Souped Up,the ‘Negative Thoughts EP’ was only a glimpse of the carnage they were about to ensue on the dnb scene. EP’s from well known names like Burr Oak, Tobax, MNDSCP and Redpill rampaged the rotation with fierce sounds and monster vibes. A fresh face on the roster turned some heads and broke some necks when Liveon’s Stutter EP dropped in October boasting big bad basslines and ravenous rhythm as it smashed the sound waves. Clearly we are ready for more from Liveon this year.

That wasn’t even a fraction of what Eatbrain had in store for 2020 following up with Gydra’s first full length LP: Snake Monastery. Wrapping up the year with Nais Testing Lab EP and the powerful Variation in Production release bringing new life to classic favourites like Dub Element’s POW VIP and label boss Jade’s TV Says to name a few. Eatbrain kept on annihilating with the nastiest neurofunk including these releases and more hitting consistently week after week feeding the machine proving there’s no stopping this dominating force in neurofunk dnb as they continue pushing forward into 2021 ready with releases to continue to consume playlists worldwide.

Korsakov Music is hot on their heels coming up as one of the most reliable labels for consistent releases of powerhouse tracks and introducing the world to new sounds and fresh faces in drum and bass. A massive year for Korsakov saw epic releases from Dub Elements on the Wobbledah EP, Akov’s Rebirth and MC Coppa’s Leap of Faith EP. Droptek took us to new levels with the Time Travel EP with basslines to blow your mind and we heard some insanely energetic tracks from High Maintenance and label boss AL/SO on the Hypersonic EP that brought one of my personal favorite tracks to life; “Party Every Day”. You can expect some banging remixes of that track this year from Korsakov, count on that!

Bringing it big with some massive compilations Korsakov Music kept the big guns blasting with hefty releases like The Story so Far and Korsakov Future Stars Volume 1 where we were introduced to some of the talented up and coming producers in drum and bass. This is where I admittedly first found one of the best USDNB producers I have heard to this day, Dropset with his track “Source Error” which he followed up impressively with an EP on Close 2 Death and partnered on “Descent” with Volatile Cycle on C4C. I’ll be keeping a close eye on him this year so massive respect to Korsakov for bringing attention to the full spectrum of artists pushing this sound.
Speaking of new favorite artists how about PRFCT Mandem coming in hot on the Korsakov roster taking a spot as one of the most impressive acts gaining major attention this year with their out of this world energy and masterfully produced sounds. The Formation EP hit early and it hit hard blasting the bass bins with astounding tracks like “Formation” and “Oscillation” following up with another monstrous release with the Hyperdrive EP that spiked the energy straight into space with “Hyperdrive” and “Stay Quiet” two of my personal favorite tracks of the year. Beastly rolling vibes shined through in tracks like “Conflict” and “Innosense” proving they are a multi faceted machine. PRFCT Mandem wrapped up the year with a stellar free download “Airway Breeze” it’s funky and fun just like everything they do. Expect to see a lot more from them on Korsakov Music this year as they continue to command attention from the scene.

There’s a whole lot more in store for Korsakov Music 2021. Look out for big names rolling through the releases, massive remix projects and some more surprises from Korsakov this year, there’s no stopping them now!

Mob Tactics had an impressive year as always kicking off 2020 with the Eject EP on RAM Records. Tracks like “Clipped” and “Bulldozer” set the bar high for the rest of the year and “Thumper” still bangs at the top of my sets every time. They followed up with some smashing singles like “Pure X” with a hint of an old school jungle vibe and a release on Bassrush including “Mindhunter” and “Hit the Deck”, another track that gets the floor moving steady to those fierce neurofunk vibes. A few more on RAM rounded out the year nicely for Mob Tactics with “War City” full of massive breaks and booming basslines and “Insomniak” another masterpiece from this dangerous duo that shows diversity in their production techniques time after time. Mob Tactics also continues to supply the scene with their monthly MobCast full of incoming tracks and fun surprises creating a connection between listeners within the scene. Hands down one of my favorite production teams and one of the reasons I got into drum and bass to begin with I hope to hear a lot more from them moving forward.

More madness from RAM Records in addition to Mob Tactics in 2020 as they continued the RAVE series featuring various artists across the spectrum of drum and bass. Releases from Smooth, SyRan and Skantia brought deep growling basslines to the RAM releases while Junk Mail smashed the grisly guitar licks on Yellow Jacket one of the most energetic tracks to twist the floor into a frenzy. Some more fire from label veterans DC Breaks and Killbox graced our playlists and Revolutions finally hit this year. Stacked full of remixes of classic favourites like Shimon’s remix of “Titan” and Benny L’s remix of “Human Future” satisfied the cravings for these long sought after tracks and selections like “No Reality” remixed by Andy C and “Iron Lung” remixed by SyRan can’t be missed. Holding steady as one of the top labels in drum and bass there was a hefty list of releases in 2020 that I barely even scratched the surface on here and I’m sure they’ll keep chugging through 2021 full force.

Formation Records celebrated 30 years in the game this year and loaded up our playlists with some groovy jungle, smooth vocals, and tons of other surprises as they continue to mold the sound of the future of drum and bass combining the knowledge of the past with the sounds of the future. EP’s from Fabric8, Mistic and Green Vibes Outbreak EP gave us a taste of something fresh while DJSS continued to bring the classic vibes on tracks like “Love is Found” and “Messing with my Head”.

Rene Lavice’s label DeVice deserves a mention on this list as well. One of the breakthrough labels of 2020 the hits have been rolling out since inception featuring top shelf artists such as S.P.Y. on “Hollywood” and A Plus on the beefy bass filled single “Lockdown”. Benny L brought his burly rolling style to 1000 Days, a brilliant ballad full of emotion as it flows through the mix.
Timeless anthems like “Out of Love” from Halflight and “Make or Break” from Future Cut and Cameron Cox  bring some serene vocals to the list as well as other selections like “Bad Luck” with Jess Young. Dirty and dark Chromatic gave us “Switcher” and Flowidus and Lee Mvtthews charged up the dance floor vibes with “Reason” to wrap the year up. DeVice is only moving up already established with an impressive list of tracks they are one to keep a close eye on in 2021.

I already touched on a bit of what Dub Elements has done this year with releases across Korsakov and Eatbrain but they have also continued to pump tracks through their personal label DEM Recordings with full force. Forward thinking sounds on releases like their top track on Beatport “Shit” and “Acid, Acid, Acid” and “Y.O.U” smashed through mixes while the Better World Part 1 EP brought life to one of the most beautiful ballads to hit drum and bass in recent years with the title track from the EP. Harmonious vocals, perfectly placed keys and smooth composition on the drop solidify this as a personal favorite for years to come. I’m also really glad they are from Spain and celebrate fools day on the most bizarre day of the year because the thought of them parting ways is too much to bear. Check out the BEST OF DEM coming soon.

Last but not least High Resistance has been making some waves with their roster recently and I think they’re one to keep watch on as we move into 2021 and beyond. One of the most powerful and fierce songs in drum and bass this year, also a home town favorite on the dance floor, is 2Whales Vitalik. Hard, fast, heavy, banging neurofunk puts this one at the top. The Despersion Wake Up EP also hit full force, one of the most solid releases of the year each track precise in composition and balance we’re certainly keeping tabs on High Resistance and these artists moving forward pushing the boundaries in drum and bass.

2Whales – Vitalik [High Resistance]

I know this isn’t even close to all of the amazing music that has come out across the sub genres of drum and bass in 2020 but it’s certainly a good place to start. Keep it locked to Best Drum and Bass as we continue to bring you all the news and reviews of the freshest tracks to hit the shelves.

OCTANE AMY BEST OF 2020 DNB TRACKLIST:
JADE – TV Says (VIP) [Eatbrain]
Disphonia & IHR – Tailwind [Eatbrain]
Mob Tactics – Hit The Deck [Bassrush Records]
Shadow Sect & Mizo – Genesis [Eatbrain]
A.M.C – Look Out VIP [Titan Records]
Ram Trilogy – No Reality (Andy C Remix) [RAM Records]
Gancher & Ruin – Chemtrail
Despersion – Wake Up [High Resistance]
Disphonia – Can’t Hold Back [Blackout Music NL]
Gydra – Wipe Feat. IHR [Eatbrain]
Mob Tactics – Thumper [RAM Records]
PRFCT Mandem – Oscillation [Korsakov Music]
Liveon & Dati – Horsepower [Eatbrain]
Gancher & Ruin – 5g
Nais – Testing Lab [Eatbrain]
Grinder – Go Like [Ozriderz]
IHR, Shadow Sect – FCKNGJMP [PRSPCT Recordings]
Phace & Was A Be – Rave Changing [Neosignal Recordings]
High Maintenance & ALSO – Party Every Day [Korsakov Music]
Notequal – Set Point [SIN.FULL MAZE]
Audio – Marauder [Snake Pit Records]
2Whales – Vitalik [High Resistance]
Junk Mail – Yellow Jacket [RAM Records]
V O E – Where You Belong (Club Mix) [Protocode]
Dub Elements – POW (VIP) [Eatbrain]
PRFCT Mandem – Hyperdrive [Korsakov Music]
Mean Teeth – Keepin It Dirty [C4C Recrdings]
Redpill – Mosh Pit [Eatbrain]
Fourward – Wölfe VIP [Eatbrain]
Dorian – Monsta [Mainframe]
PRFCT Mandem – Formation [Korsakov Music]
K MOTIONZ/AMC – Gunshot (AMC remix) [K MOTIONZ]
Gydra – Hangjaw [Eatbrain]
Dropset – Source Error [Korsakov Music]
Mob Tactics – War City [RAM Records]
Nais – Ooh Nice [Eatbrain]
Teddy Killerz – Excited [Souped Up Records]
Liveon – Stutter [Eatbrain]
Teddy Killerz – Negative Thoughts [Eatbrain]
Smooth – Roly-Poly (VIP) [Eatbrain]
Tobax – Frenemies (Instrumental) [Eatbrain]
MNDSCP – Vertigo (VIP) [Eatbrain]
Dillinja – Hard Noize (Break Remix) [Valve Recordings]
Ram Trilogy – Titan (Shimon Remix) [RAM Records]
A Sides – Tower [Eastside Records]
Roni Size – Dayz (Benny L Remix)[V Recordings]
Myth – Junkyard [Lockdown]
Tantrum Desire – Bass in the Place [Technique Recordings]
A.M.C – Machine Gun Southpaw [Titan Records]
Audio – Scanners (Prolix Remix) [Virus Recordings]
Ice-O-Later – Subdual [Ignescent]
Black Sun Empire – Don’t You Stasis (V O E Remix)
Despersion x 2Whales – Freefall [High Resistance]
PRFCT Mandem – Stay Quiet [Korsakov Music]
Phace & Subtension – Oh Dear [DeVice]
René LaVice & Future Cut – Eyes [DeVice]
Xeomi & Kaiza – Majestic [Hanzom Music]
Dubra – Light [Westwood Recordings]
Ripple – Talking [Ripple Music]
Audio – Jibba Jabba (Agressor Bunx Remix) [Virus Recordings]
PRFCT Mandem – Airway Breeze [Free Download]
Tesen – Us [Technique Recordings]
TREi – My Eyes [Rampage Recordings]
Rockwell – Vent [Obsolete Medium]
Dub Elements – Better World [DEM Recordings]
Halflight – Out of Love [DeVice]

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