Few electronic artists can claim they’ve impacted the genre as much as Noisia has, and even fewer have experienced the same prolonged success. It’s no exaggeration to say that, when it comes to the darker, grittier side of the genre, the trio may go down in history as some of the most successful artists the electronic community has ever seen. Indeed, if there were a Mount Rushmore equivalent for “drum and bass” music, it would be a crime not to devote three of those vacancies to the prolific group. It is for that exact reason, however, that the trio’s recent retirement announcement has flipped the electronic community on its head.
Noisia is the brainchild of Dutch musicians Nik Roos, Martijn van Sonderen and Thijs de Vlieger, all of which hail from Groningen, Netherlands. The three artists found success as early as 2003 when one of their songs took off on a production message board. Not too long after that, Noisia’s first release, a collaboration with a producer named Mayhem called “Tomahawk,” found a home on Shadow Law Recordings. From that point on, Noisia’s career just continued to flourish at an exponential rate.
Noisia has taken on a number of hefty projects since then, including the creation and management of three different record labels. Similarly, the trio has expanded upon their signature drum and bass style to include various experimental subgenres.
For example, Noisia’s side project “I Am Legion” sees the trio collaborating with the famous UK hip-hop group Foreign Beggars, while their other side project, Drifter, is more of an experimental approach to a subgenre called liquid funk. Though not all of Noisia’s experimental sounds derive from a different moniker, each side project nonetheless shares the same meticulous attention to detail as their primary alias.
Sadly, it’s this attention to detail that makes it so difficult to say goodbye to the electronic pioneers. From 2003 to 2019, Noisia has not only touched the hearts of dance floor enthusiasts everywhere but has also been an inspirational force to a younger generation of artists. Immediately after Noisia announced their retirement, artists like Jade Cicada, Supervision, Mat Zo and many others have already made it apparent just how far-reaching the trio’s influence has been for the electronic community as a whole.
Although Noisia won’t be hanging it up until the very end of 2020, the question still remains how fans will begin to cope with their disappearance. Catching one of their final shows might be a great way to do it, but sadly this option won’t be available to those living in less populated regions.
Even so, Noisia fans are sure to reach a point where the only way to cope is by diving deep into their expansive discography. It’s nearly impossible to rank Noisia’s greatest tracks in a way that achieves universal agreement, so we won’t even try. Instead, let’s just talk about a few of Noisia’s songs and how those songs help make their discography one of the deepest across the genre.
1. “Dead Limit“
A vital piece of the trio’s discography, “Dead Limit” shows just how unrelenting a Noisia bassline can be. They’re joined by the New Zealand-based duo The Upbeats, who are certainly known for bringing their own special brand of firepower to the studio. When you bring two powerful drum and bass forces into the same studio, the result is sure to blow the hinges completely off the genre. “Dead Limit” becomes a testament to that fact as it takes the listener on a chaotic ride through Noisia’s vicious and hard-hitting soundscape.
2. “Square Feet“
Similar to “Dead Limit,” “Square Feet” also showcases how masterful Noisia is when it comes to supplying their fans with hard-hitting music. But while the former takes more of a drum-and-bass approach to attain its “banger” title, the latter represents one of the moments in which Noisia steps beyond their roots to flex their dubstep muscles. While drum and bass’s claim to fame is centered around fast-paced basslines meant to get an audience bouncing on their toes, dubstep takes a slower, halftime-oriented approach to get a crowd moving. “Square Feet” not only shows the flexibility of Noisia’s electronic prowess, but it also proves that, if the trio wanted to, they could consistently dominate the dubstep community the way they do drum and bass.
3. “Get Deaded“
You’re probably noticing a huge pattern with Noisia’s music at this point: It’s all heavy and it’s all meant to tear up the dance floor. Yet another song that fits this bill is “Get Deaded,” and since it first premiered on their hit album “Outer Edges,” the song has been a massive success. Maybe it’s the catchy drum and bass hook that attracts fans and artists alike. Maybe it’s the wonky halftime drop that never ceases to knock a crowd off kilter.
In either case, the number of DJs that consistently work “Get Deaded” into their sets is all the evidence you need of its popularity. Popular artists like Bassnectar, Moody Good and Machinedrum have even felt inspired enough to create their own remixes on the song, each of which have gained their own popularity. It’s obvious that “Get Deaded” ought to be considered a huge staple in Noisia’s already-impressive discography.
Once again, Noisia flexes their ability to experiment with different forms of music. “Shellshock” features the UK hip-hop group Foreign Beggars, who deliver fierce vocals over an equally fierce track. Foreign Beggars have always been known for their sharp-witted vocals and rapid-fast delivery, which is why it might not be surprising to hear that their style merges wonderfully with Noisia’s. The two groups prove that both electronic music and hip-hop know no bounds, which is why “Shellshock” should be considered a vital piece of Noisia’s career.
5. “Tommy’s Theme”
This song has earned a spot on the list because of how purely epic it is. The slow, monumental buildup immediately grabs the attention of anyone nearby as they feel like they’ve been transported into the middle of a dramatic wasteland of sounds. The scene quickly evolves into a battlefield when a wave of heavy dubstep synths washes over the track and shakes your speakers to their core.
Considering Noisia is undoubtedly one of the most epic producers and performers in the electronic community, “Tommy’s Theme” is, in many ways, the perfect embodiment of the trio’s boundary-breaking approach to music. There might never be another group quite like Noisia, but by keeping their revolutionary music on heavy rotation, fans can at the very least continue to bask in their immortalized career.