I’m of the belief that there is no better music in the world to drive to than Drum & Bass, the speed and rawness is just the best accompaniment to ploughing down country lanes at 60mph with your mates in the back and a party ahead of you. Here at Ninja Ninja our goal is ensuring your ears are being treated right, and driving to work, the shops or your gynaecologist is no excuse for this not to be happening. So, in no particular order, here’s our ten favourite tunes for hopping in the car, turning up the sub and going for a cruise….
1) S.P.Y – By Your Side
Powering along the motorway needs a big sound to accompany it, and Brazilian legend S.P.Y brings that here in spades. One of his most well known tracks, By Your Side is a masterclass in blending orchestral and dance music influences. The introduction wouldn’t be out of place at the Last Night of the Proms and S.P.Y uses it to create an atmosphere unlike any in other DnB tune; it’s simultaneously euphoric and melancholy – perfect for those long road trips.
2) Birdy – Wings (Nu:Logic Remix)
Next up is the always brilliant Nu:Logic remix of Wings by Birdy a track that for me epitomises sick driving music, and I have good memories of blasting this on the down way to fabric (RIP). It’s rolling nature makes it perfectly suited for the road, and the combination of Birdy’s incredible vocals with some of Nu:Logic’s best percussion work to date is beyond soulful. You won’t be able to resist singing along, trust me.
3) Emperor – I Was
Taking things in a heavier direction is Emperor with I Was, one of the best cuts from his Dispositions album earlier this year. This track simply doesn’t stop moving from start to finish, a relentless stream of frantic synth lines that work impossibly well with the accompanying lower end. If you’re cueing this one up on the road you’d better make sure you have a sub because it’s a necessity for enjoying the full range of sounds Emperor has given us here, and regular stereo speakers just don’t cut it. Breakneck stuff from Critical’s musical magician.
4) Jaheim – Put That Woman First (Calibre Remix)
The music library of any car has to have variety, you never know what mood you’ll be in behind the wheel so a wide selection is a must. This track is a worthy addition to anyone’s automobile audio experiences, and it’s courtesy of ‘that guy’ – Calibre. If anyone is going to create the ultimate driving tune it’s this man, and whilst this isn’t it his remix of Jaheim’s Put That Woman First is still an easy choice for this list. Smooth, sultry and with some gorgeous vocal work, this tune is for those long hungover drives home the next morning. Chill out, and give it a listen.
4) Technimatic – Night Vision
Technicolour and Komatic, or Technimatic as they’re now known, are two men that seriously know how to make a liquid track. Their second album was released this year, and whilst Better Perspectives is full of great music I’ve opted for a cut off of Desire Paths, their 2014 debut LP. The track in question is Night Vision, a tune that I’ve had on repeat for over two years now and one that always gives any car journey some much needed summery vibes. The instrumentation is phenomenal all the way through, with funky pianos and infectious horns creating the catchiest of catchy instrumental hooks. Technimatic have created an anthem here, a sublime driving track.
Dark, murky and unstoppable; all adjectives ideal for describing any music produced by legendary tech duo Ed Rush & Optical. Founders of Virus Recordings and general nutjobs, the pair have been instrumental in creating the now thriving heavier side of Drum & Bass and it’s in part due to tracks like Chubrub. What I love about Chubrub is how it just doesn’t stop, the monotony really drives this one home and it’s absolutely classic Ed Rush & Optical. It was released in 2009 but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was earlier, because they’ve retained that late 90s roughness to their production style. Insanely aphotic, Chubrub is obligatory for any car.
6) Hugh Hardie – City Soul
So far we’ve covered artists both old and new, and one producer firmly in the latter category is Hugh Hardie, a recent Hospital Records signing that looks set to be a big name over the coming years. His City Soul EP dropped over the summer, putting smiles on faces all over the world with a selection of 4 achingly beautiful tracks. But there can only be one in this list, and for driving it really doesn’t get a whole lot better than City Soul. The drums are incredible, and his use of soaring piano chords really make listening to this one a fully immersive experience. It’s almost like Hugh Hardie and Silence Groove wrote this with staring out a car window in mind, because that’s exactly what it’s perfect for.
I’m not sure what it is about Brazil that breeds such notorious producers; maybe it’s the beautiful scenery, sprawling expanses of rainforest or vibrant culture. Either way we’ve got two of South Americas best here, because DJ Marky and Bungle know how to get down unlike anyone else and you’re going to be hard pressed finding a better driving tune than No Time 2 Love. This track is full to the brim with character, the drum section is crisp, the pads are jaunty and it’s such easy listening. But the ace in the hole, and the main reason for this tunes inclusion, is that bassline switch up at around 2 minutes in. Have a listen now, thank me later.
9) Danny Byrd & MC Risky – B.R.I.S.T.O.L
There wasn’t a hope in hell a Danny Byrd track wouldn’t make this selection, it was just a case of deciding which one. A veteran of over 15 years, he’s has given us a lot of incredible tunes but for driving B.R.I.S.T.O.L featuring MC Risky has to be the best. The constant variations in style throughout are something I wish more artists would copy, and the sheer bounciness of this track never fails to brighten up my day. B.R.I.S.T.O.L goes to swingstep and back multiple times, and the dynamism Danny has managed to create here is remarkable. Above all else though this tune is just so much fucking fun, check your seat belt and don’t spill your drink.
10) Calibre & High Contrast – Mr Majestic
Last up is a complete and utter classic, one of my favourite tracks of all time and without a doubt one of the best from either of the producers involved. Nothing brings the waves of nostalgic pleasure crashing over you quite like the introduction on this one, and the drop into a flurry of breaks and subtle bass manipulations will never, ever get boring. The whole thing is tied together by that rusty, slightly unfinished quality only tracks from that era have making it even better. Although now relegated to the odd play before the lights go on and everyone leaves, Mr Majestic will, in my opinion, always be the ultimate driving tune.