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Genres / Big Beat / Information

Summary

Big Beat is a term employed since the mid 1990s by the British music press to describe much of the music by artists such as The chemical brothers, Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, Propellerheads and The Prodigy, typically driven by heavy Breakbeats and synthesizer-generated loops and patterns in common with established forms of electronic dance music such as Techno and acid house.

Style

Big Beat tends to feature distorted, compressed breakbeats at moderate tempos (usually between 90 to 140 beats per minute), acid house style synthesizer lines and heavy loops from 60s and 70s Funk, Jazz, rock and pop songs. They are often punctuated with punk-style vocals and driven by intense, distorted basslines with conventional pop and Techno song structures. Big Beat tracks have a sound that include: crescendos, builds, drops, dramatic sound effects such as explosions or sirens and extended drum rolls. As with several other dance genres at the time the use of effects such as cut-off, phasing and flanging was commonplace.

Big Beat is also characterized by a strong psychedelic influence comparable to a wide range of artists from Serge Gainsbourg and Jean-Jacques Perrey to The Beatles and Led Zeppelin to Funkadelic and the Acid House movement of the late 1980s. Celebrated instigators of the genre such as Fatboy Slim tend to feature heavily compressed loud Breakbeats in their tracks which are used to define the music as much as any melodic hooks and sampled sounds. Based on the primary use of loud, heavy Breakbeats and basslines, Big Beat shares attributes with Jungle and Drum & Bass but it has a significantly slower tempo.

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