In the early 1990s, the British music scene was a melting pot of different styles and genres, with underground artists exploring new and exciting sounds. Among them was Lennie De Ice, a producer who would go on to create one of the most influential breakbeat hardcore tracks of all time: “We Are I.E.” Combining elements of breakbeat, jungle, and rave culture, this seminal track would forever change the landscape of electronic music and serve as the foundation for the drum and bass genre.
A Pioneering Producer: Lennie De Ice
Born in London in 1970, Lennie De Ice (born Lennie Dwyer) grew up surrounded by music. As a teenager, he began to experiment with producing his own tracks, inspired by the sounds of hip-hop, electro, and reggae. As the acid house and rave movement swept across the UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Lennie De Ice became immersed in the burgeoning breakbeat hardcore scene, where he would create his most famous and influential work.
“We Are I.E.”: A Genre-Defining Track
Released in 1991 on the independent label Reel 2 Reel Recordings, “We Are I.E.” (short for “We Are Inner Experience”) immediately stood out from the crowd. At a time when the breakbeat hardcore scene was dominated by piano-heavy, uplifting melodies, Lennie De Ice’s track brought a darker, more aggressive edge to the table.
The track’s relentless, chopped-up Amen breakbeat, combined with deep, growling basslines and eerie synth stabs, created a haunting atmosphere that would later become synonymous with drum and bass. The vocal sample “we are I.E.” is repeated throughout the track, adding an element of mystery and intrigue that further cements its status as a classic.
Impact and Legacy
“We Are I.E.” sent shockwaves through the UK’s breakbeat hardcore scene upon its release. The track’s innovative use of breakbeats and its distinct sound made it a hit on the dancefloor, and it quickly gained traction as a rave anthem. Its success also caught the attention of other producers and DJs, who began to incorporate similar elements into their own tracks. As a result, “We Are I.E.” can be seen as a turning point in the evolution of breakbeat hardcore into jungle and, eventually, drum and bass.
The track’s influence did not stop there. It has since been sampled and remixed by countless artists and remains a staple in the sets of drum and bass DJs worldwide. In 2011, to mark its 20th anniversary, Lennie De Ice released a remastered version of “We Are I.E.,” featuring new remixes by leading artists in the genre, further solidifying its legendary status.
“We Are I.E.” by Lennie De Ice is a testament to the power of innovation and experimentation in music. As a pioneering track in the breakbeat hardcore scene, it laid the groundwork for the development of drum and bass, a genre that continues to thrive today. Decades after its release, “We Are I.E.” remains a timeless classic, a testament to Lennie De Ice’s talent and his enduring contribution to electronic music.