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.