ABC History Sessions: Bleep N Bass (1989 – 1990)

It’s funny how sometimes local scenes can pop up and exist within their own little bubble. One such scene was ‘Bleep N Bass’ which originated from Northern English cities such as Leeds, Bradford, and Sheffield.

Bleep N Bass was probably the first uniquely British take on House & and Techno, which until now had been a subculture largely reliant on imports from the U.S. The first commonly referenced Bleep N Bass record was produced by a Bradford outfit called Unique 3. Their track ‘The Theme’ combined Chicago house with Hip Hop elements which would undoubtedly serve as an inspiration for artists looking to further develop the relationship between the two different music styles.

What is striking about some of the Bleep N Bass releases (particularly those on the infamous Sheffield label, Warp) is just how well they still stand up to today’s standards in terms of production. Careful crafting of the tracks using only simple base ingredients rather than a carefree ‘chuck-everything-into-the-pot’ attitude has helped to disguise the age of the records. The tracks are rich with warm textures produced by analog synths and drum machines rather than a reliance on samples which has caused some of the other early British genres to sound so dated.

Bleep N Bass is characterised by funky minimalism, speaker-breaking sub-bass, electronic bleeps and other futuristic sounds. This early Yorkshire movement was inner-city, multi-racial and aggressive, and went on to influence not only Jungle and Drum & Bass, but many other forms of urban underground music including 2-step and Grime.

Download “Bleep n Bass Mix” Eazyflow - 1989-1990 Bleep n Bass Mix.mp3 – Downloaded 272 times – 174 MB

Unique 3 – The Theme (Ten)
Rhythmatic – Take Me Back (Robert Gordon Edit) (Network)
Nexus 21 – Self Hypnosis (Mr Whippy Remix) (Network)
Nightmares On Wax – Aftermath #1 (Warp)
Ability II – Pressure (Bass-ic)
Forgemasters – Stress (Network)
Demonik – Labyrinth (Rham)
Quartz – Meltdown (Phonogram)
Sweet Exorcist – Testone (Warp)
Forgemasters – Clap (Network)
Ital Rockers – Ital’s Theme (Bass-ic)
Rhythmatic – Demons (Raw Mix) (Network)
Njoi – Techno Gangsters (Deconstruction)
Tricky Disco – Tricky Disco (Warp)
Forgemasters – Track With No Name (Warp)
Man Machine – Man Machine (Cyber Sonik) (Outer Rhythm)
LFO – Mentok 1 (Warp)
Sweet Exorcist – Clonk (Warp)
Cabaret Voltaire – Easy Life (Parlophone)
Forgemasters – Pump Me (Network)
Psychotropic – Hypnosis (02)
Nightmares On Wax – Aftermath (LFO Remix)
About the Author

Alasdair Watson

Facebook

Obsessive record collector and old skool enthusiast who still spends most of his time living in the 80's and 90's.