Breaking The Beats: A personal selection of West London sounds
£6.00 – £20.00
Breaking The Beats: A personal selection of West London sounds. Compiled by Dave Lee & Will Fox.
At the end of the 90s, a movement began in West London that birthed a fresh direction in dance music. Though this movement never got mainstream press coverage, never had a crossover chart single, and never really transcended its community roots, there was a unique alchemy at work – a fertile moment of creativity, where a group of friends began to experiment with new cadences, rhythms and distilled influences, crafting a new direction in the attics and bedrooms of their neighbouring postcodes. Their music was a head-on collision between the sounds they had been raised on; the reggae sound system culture of Notting Hill Carnival, the sophistication and sheen of Electro-Funk, Jazz Fusion, Soulful House and Disco, the Afro-Beat sounds of Tony Allen and Fela Kuti, and the raw minimalism of early Hip Hop.
Though “Broken Beat” was never a tagline that the producers anticipated, and one that they often publicly resisted, those two words would gradually come to represent the scattered rhythms, rolling basslines and soaring changes that were inherent to this exciting new sound. It’s not clear who first coined the term “Broken Beat”, but try to imagine how it felt to hear it for the first time; the production was grounded in MPCs and SP1200s, the hand-me-down samplers of the Hip-Hop and Jungle golden eras, and the drums that tumbled out of these machines at the hands of these creators had a jagged, stuttering feel, almost as though the groove was close to collapse.
Much respect due to Dave Lee for truly using his DJ power, and taking the time and dedication to bring a solid selection of these optimistic, afro-futuristic jams to a fresh audience
Mr Beatnick, May 2020
As a music lover I was always a fan of the broken beat records that came out of west London in the late 90s/early 2000s. I preferred the jazzier soulful end of it to the harder edged drum driven, rap led bruk sound. Like Jungle & UK garage it was a very UK sound, but one that spread worldwide, be it on a very underground level. So there’s songs on here from Germany (Jazzanova and Lars Bartkuln) Japan (Jazztronik and Hajime Yoshizawa ) to represent that. When putting this album together it is hard not to notice the presence of Kaidi Taitum on many of the songs, he was such an instrumental force in the evolution of the sound. ‘Breaking the Beats’ isn’t a best of broken beat album and due to some licensing issues we were unable to include every song I would have liked but I think it does give the listener a good taste of the sound.
Dave Lee, 2020
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