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Broken beat

Broken beat or "BRUK" is an electronic music genre that can be characterized by syncopated rhythm typically in 4/4 meter, with staggered or punctuated snare beats and/or hand claps. It has heavily influenced music in the UK. [1]

Artists in this area mostly have a drum and bass, house, hip hop, techno or acid jazz background. Broken beat also has its roots in 1970s 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-1970s), Herbie Hancock, George Duke, and others. One might also hear echos of disco, 1980s contemporary R&B and funk (Shalamar, Prince), early electronica (Kraftwerk), hip hop ("Planet Rock"), 1980s new wave (Depeche Mode, New Order), house and techno in broken beat.


Broken beat first appeared in the 1990s and was pioneered by IG Culture, and the release of the 4hero album, Two Pages, was influential on the emerging sound and scene. John Bush from All Music called it "about as fusion-soaked as it gets."[2] 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.

IG Culture is credited with kick-starting the scene with his New Sector Movements releases for People Music. The sound he created combined a variety of music styles including funk, soul, and hip-hop.[3]The transition was to a more abstract form of drum and bass. Many artists that started releasing through 4hero's Reinforced label are now considered 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 names in the genre are Bugz in the Attic, Atjazz, Jazzanova, Seiji, Kaidi Tatham, Domu, Afronaught, IG Culture, Stephane and Alex Attias, Mark De Clive-Lowe, 4hero (Dego and Marc Mac), Manchester's Phuture Lounge collective label boss Zed Bias (AKA Maddslinky), Somatik, and Opolopo. In the U.S., prominent artists are Columbus, OH-based Titonton Duvanté, John Arnold, Jeremy Ellis aka Ayro, and Recloose, Harlem-based Spymusic, and Philadelphia-based King Britt.

The scene

Regular nights that play this genre of music include Co-op, which was held at Plastic People, a famous club located in London, for a number of years before re-launching at East Village - both in Shoreditch. In 2008 Orin Walters and Bruce Q (Liquid Fusion) teamed up for a monthly Co-Op sessions which was launched at Concrete in Birmingham, UK. Liquid Fusion ran every Sunday at The living Room (2000-2002) first then onto Zinc (2002-2008). It had a following of several Hundred weekly. Another night is Inspiration Information, previously at Notting Hill Arts Club but now at East Village in Shoreditch. Elsewhere, DJs from the Kyoto Jazz Massive regularly play at The Room in Tokyo.

Magazines and sites reviewing the music include Straight No Chaser and Commercial Break. 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.



  • [[[:Template:Allmusic]] AMG Allmusic: Broken Beat]