Miéville on Jungle and Drum 'n' Bass:
Mieville explains, "Drum'n'Bass -- and Jungle in general -- is a kind of dance music that uses lots of samples, which is based around the use of the breakbeat. That's a rhythmic pattern made by stretching short snatches of music -- breaks -- from source-records and looping them. It tends to take its basslines from Reggae or Reggae-influenced music, and it takes a lot of its beats and samples from funk and HipHop, but is much faster than either. What distinguishes it from most dance music like Techno is that its beats and basslines are much funkier."Not all reviewers are as uncritical as I:
"It's often seen as a black subculture, and its probably true that more black people are into D&B than other forms of dance, and that black musicians have always been at the forefront of the genre, but it's always been a multicultural scene."
"D&B's got into a bit of a rut recently. The high point was probably around 1994-95, when there was some fantastic cross-fertilization and experimentation going on. I don't think there's been anything really exciting for a couple of years now. There's still good stuff being made, but it's not cutting edge like it was. I think people are kind of waiting to see what happens with D&B now. There was a move, a couple of years ago, to make it all much more 'intellectual', and the beats got much more messy and broken up and samples started appearing from Steve Reich and so on. Some of that was quite interesting, but it meant that you couldn't *dance* to it any more, and for me that's the bottom line of D&B. It's sophisticated and intelligent and fierce and all that, but you react to it physically.
...the frankly embarrassing passages dealing with Jungle music, which serve only to instantly date the book. Using a certain genre of music as a pivotal plot point in a novel is never a good idea, as the visceral experience of listening to that music never seems to come across in prose (particularly if you're like me and know precisely zilch about the relatively obscure genre of Jungle, thus making you feel at times as though this book is a club you're not cool enough to be a member of).