Words: James Keith
Photography: Sarah Ginn

One of the most celebrated names in drum & bass, James ‘Breakage’ Boyle has notched up just over twenty years in the game and boasts one of the most formidable discographies around. He first cut his teeth putting out records on revered jungle outlets like Reinforced Records, Bassbin, Scientific Wax and Critical, before ultimately finding a home on Shy FX’s Digital Soundboy, his home for roughly a decade before setting up his own Index label and club night. Through all of that, he’s stuck largely to drum & bass and jungle, earning a reputation for immediately recognisable drum sounds. But while the bulk of his work is built on grizzled bass lines and sonic boom percussion, arguably one of his biggest tracks of all time, “Hard”—a vocalled version of “Together”, with D Double E, Footsie and David Rodigan—is knee deep in dubstep hallmarks.

Breakage’s albums are probably your best look at his chameleon-like output. 2010’s Foundation remains a staunch fan-favourite across the board, beloved for its balance of D&B, jungle and dubstep, as well as impressive collabs with Liam Bailey, Roots Manuva, Donae’O and Burial. Five years later, he released When The Night Comes, an even more varied album that delved into various strains of house and techno. “Revelation” with Liam Bailey and “Future” with Madi Lane offered some soulful 4x4 highs and the latter inspired some pretty special remixes (particularly the Mella Dee one we’ve included in the playlist).

Recent releases like last year’s Darker Than Blue with Shy FX and At The Controls Vol. 2 have given us pretty much all of the above, all stirred into a surprisingly cohesive whole. We’ve had caustic jungle, punchy D&B, smooth and soulful vocal tracks (including a disarming appearance from Children Of Zeus’ Tyler Daley) and his DJ sets in 2022 are more unpredictable than ever. Ahead of his appearance at Outlook’s first UK festival (30 June — 3 July 2022 at Cholmondeley Castle), here are 20 reasons to love Breakage.

Posted on June 22, 2022