Just when you thought conversations about tempo were over, along comes 2020 with the hot, new, must-have bpm: 150. Though technically there’s actually nothing new about it — nosebleed techno has been happily ramping itself up to around that speed the past few years, and hardcore/ jungle producers like Foul Play and LTJ Bukem were doing it in the early ’90s — this year has seen a fresh wave of 150bpm beats sweep the UK scene.
There are two main reasons for this. The first is practicality; the past decade has seen multi-genre DJing explode like never before. With sounds from across the world evermore accessible, and DJ technology making once complex tasks evermore simple, artists have become more adventurous with what and how they play. Though there have been tricks for jumping between ‘unmixable’ tunes since the dawn of DJing, to achieve smooth blends when moving from, say, 140bpm dubstep to 160bpm footwork, stepping stones are needed: enter 150bpm.
The second reason for the rise of 150 is that the aforementioned hardcore/ jungle sound is very much back in vogue among non-purist acts — Foul Play in particular, after Sneaker Social Club dropped their fantastic ‘Origins’ compilation earlier this year. The 160 end of jungle has been rampant with rave sounds for a while now, as has the 140 end of breakbeat; artists like Mani Festo, Special Request, Yazzus, Local Group, Dead Man’s Chest and Coco Bryce are now filling the void in between.
Whether 150bpm evolves into a scene of its own or stays part of a larger spectrum remains to be seen, though the latter seems rather more enticing a prospect. Ben Hindle
Album: AceMoMA ‘A New Dawn’ [HAUS of ALTR]
“AceMo and MOMA Ready have been leading the charge with joint projects and amazing compilations on the latter’s HAUS of ALTR label. Their debut collaborative album has a primordial, proto-rave vibe, making it my number one for 2020.”
Compilation: V/A ‘Worst Behavior Vol. 3’ [Worst Behavior]
“Futuristic rave fission from artists like Swisha, Nikka Nair, Yazzus, Jon1st, bastiengoat and Stranjah — it’s crystal clear from the tracklist how hard this compilation slaps."
EP: Sully ‘Swandive’ [Astrophonica]
“Sully is one of modern jungle’s most unique talents, and 2020 saw him drop his best release yet, packed with his signature cluster-bomb breakbeats and enough hype to keep Tempa T satisfied ‘til Judgement Day.”
Track: Dillinja ‘Sovereign Melody VIP’ [Deep Jungle]
“It feels vaguely counterproductive to pick a tune produced in 1995 as my favourite of 2020, but it’s simply a fact that no other track comes close to being rinsed as hard as this one has. An instantly recognisable intro and a spring-loaded bassline make this utterly irresistible.”
Mix, radio show or podcast: Rupture, Rinse FM
“It’s been tough without the best party on the planet to look forward to. Thankfully, Double O and Mantra have provided a lifeline through their Rinse FM show. Want to know what the biggest jungle tracks of the year are going to be? You heard them here first.”