Broken beat  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Broken beat is an electronic music genre first appearing at the end of the 20th century and pioneered by Goya Music Distribution. Appearing in the western parts of London, the genre is also referred to as West London, mainly because Goya Music's offices were in London's Ladbroke Grove, W11, as were most of the participating artists studios. Regular nights which play this genre of music include Co-op at Plastic People in Shoreditch and Inspiration Information at Notting Hill Arts Club. Elsewhere, DJs from the Kyoto Jazz Massive regularly play at The Room in Tokyo. Distribution outlet Goya Music played an influential role in establishing the early UK sound, supporting early labels such as People, Bita Sweet, Mainsqueeze and numerous others.

Artists in this area mostly have a drum and bass, house, hip hop, techno or acid jazz background. As a result of these various influences, broken beat is sometimes considered more sophisticated than regular dance music, on the scale of jazz, soul or funk. It can be characterized by syncopated rhythm typically in 4/4 metre, with staggered or punctuated snare beats and/or hand claps. Broken beat also has its roots in 70's jazz fusion and has been influenced by artists such as Lonnie Liston Smith, The Mizell Brothers (producers for Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphrey and Johnny Hammond in the mid-70's), Herbie Hancock, George Duke, and others. One might also hear echos of Disco, 80's Rn'B (Shalamar, Prince), early Electronica (Kraftwerk), hip hop (Planet Rock), 80s New Wave (Depeche Mode, New Order), House and Techno in Broken beat.

IG Culture is credited with kick-starting the scene with his New Sector Movements releases for People Music. The transition was to a more abstract form of drum and bass. Many artists that started releasing through 4 Hero's Reinforced label are now considered as the pioneers of broken beat (a landmark artist for the label being Sonar Circle aka Domu). Meanwhile in Detroit, established techno artists like Carl Craig and Stacey Pullen experimented with the music they were making, trying to add jazz elements and breaks to their sound. As the music is still based on classic Detroit techno and usually has a harder sound, it is sometimes referred to as broken techno. This eclectic mixture was picked up by the Detroit and jazz affiliated UK techno producers Kirk Degiorgio or As One and Ian O'Brien, who tried to form it into a more soulful variation which further influenced the development of the broken beat genre.

Popular London based names are Bugz in the Attic, Seiji, Kaidi Tatham, Domu, Afronaught, IG Culture, Stephane and Alex Attias, New Zealand born Mark de Clive-Lowe, or 4 Hero (Dego and Marc Mac). Elsewhere in the UK, Manchester's Phuture Lounge collective - Daco, Jonny Miller and label boss Maddslinky Zed Bias, who has a UK garage background, has recently moved towards a more Broken beat sound. In the U.S. prominent artists are Detroit based Titonton Duvanté, John Arnold, Jeremy Ellis aka Ayro, and Recloose (now based in New Zealand), Harlem based Spymusic, and Philadelphia based King Britt.One has to add Wales-based Brad Munn aka Somatik as being influential for this scene. Also Peter Major aka Opolopo, who is Stockholm based, can be mentionned as being one of the highlights of this scene.

In Australia, Melbourne artists like Steve Law (Zen Paradox), Andrez Bergen (Little Nobody) and Damian Stephens (Isnod), along with other members of Clan Analogue, IF? Records, and the Frigid posse in Sydney, all worked within the perimeters of this style at the turn of the millennium.

See also

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