Various Artists

Breaking The Beats: A Personal Selection Of West London Sounds

Image of Various Artists - Breaking The Beats: A Personal Selection Of West London Sounds

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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.

"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

TRACK LISTING

CD1
1. 4hero - Hold It Down (Bugz In The Attic's Co-Operative Mix)
2. Agent K - Feed The Cat
3. Fourth Kind - Take Me To Your Sky
4. Domu Feat. Face - Save It
5. Jazztronik - Samurai
6. Nova Fronteira - Baila Conmigo (AtJazz Remix)
7. Kaidi Tatham - Organic Juggernaut
8. Vikter Duplaix - Manhood
9. Taylor McFerrin - Broken Vibes (feat. Vincent Parker)
10. NSM - DJ Power (Use It)
11. The Sunburst Band - Turn It Out (IG Culture Remix)

CD2
1. Blakai Feat. Bembe Segue - Afrospace
2. Agent K - Hands
3. Daz-I-Kue Feat. Colonel Red - Rokstone (Soon Come) (Several Small Furry Bugz CoOperating In The Attic Remix)
4. Afronaut - Transcend M.E. Feat. Melissa Browne
5. Lars Bartkuln - Dimensions
6. Homecookin’ - Lazy Days
7. Hajime Yoshizawa -Endless Bow
8. Incognito - Get Into My Groove (Jazzanova Remix)
9. Mark De Clive-Lowe - Shine
10. East West Connection – Mint Sauce
11. Likwid Biskit - The All New Ummm

2LP
A1. 4hero - Hold It Down (Bugz In The Attic's Co-Operative Mix)
A2. NSM - DJ Power (Use It)
A3. Domu Feat. Face - Save It
B1. Jazztronik – Samurai
B2. Kaidi Tatham - Organic Juggernaut
B3. Vikter Duplaix - Manhood
C1. Agent K - Feed The Cat
C2. Fourth Kind - Take Me To Your Sky
C3. Taylor McFerrin - Broken Vibes (Ft. Vincent Parker)
D1. Agent K - Hands
D2. Nova Fronteira - Baila Conmigo (AtJazz Remix)
D3. Blakai Featuring Bembe Segue - Afrospace

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