Looking a genres can be a beautiful thing, especially when one really looks at where the division lines occur, when one questions what is the specific sound that would divide this genre from the next. This is where one will see blurred lines between genres and where these blurs occur new genres are bound to pop up. Broken beat is one such genre that is unique in much the way that is the same as a lot of of other genres, which is why I thought I should write about it.
Broken beat music is a genre that describes where the rhythm of the particular piece of music originates. Most of our current music has its rhythm in the 4-4 beat pattern, which is known as the time singature; where you have four beats to make a bar, four bars put together will make a phrase but this usually changes between the genres. A song will usually be made by creating repeating phrases sometimes with a break in between the length of the song. Where broken beat comes in is at the level of the time signature, becuase most music is made with a 4-4 beat pattern (time signature), any music that is made with a pattern that does not conform to this time signature would be what gives rise to broken beat music.
Now, the beauty of broken beat lies in its non conformist structure for music production, this gives the true artist all freedom to play with the form of the rhythm, and time signatures. This allows one to open up possibilities that would otheriwse make it difficult or constricting to do in other genres. I will be a little bit personal here and state my love for jazz, so I tend to look at the creatively evolving jazz, nu-jazz, jazz fusion as well as hip hop beats made from jazz samples. The beauty about broken beat is that one can compose a hip hop style beat using a brazilian samba drum loop on a 1-4 beat and still include some crafty piano keys that make a sound thats completely new and refreshing.
It may be a wonder why I have used ‘hidden genre’ as the title to describe this music. Well, it is simply from an observation that I have made when looking through collections titled deep house, often one would find a lot of tracks that should be classified as broken beat. This popped some questions as to why this is almost always often the case, it could perhaps be through a lack of awareness on the music and the roots of its genre, as well as an unpopular choice probably due to the unconventional nature in which the music is structured. Many of the artists are based in Europe, which is the area where the genre originated in the first place. It would perhaps be that the music is only exposed to those that continuously search for new music and a different sound that one would be open to this music. The fact is broken beat is embedded in most if not all of the genres that music is divided into today. You can find broken beat versions of songs from reggae, jazz, nu-jazz, soul, hip hop , samba, deep house and this is due to unrestricted nature and structure.
If you want to check out a lot more broken beat tracks and music, there are some artists to follow, mostly from Europe, coming in from deep house, electic music, reggae and dubstep. Sonar Kollektiv records (http://www.sonarkollektiv.com/) has a catalogue of a range of different recording styles and un-conventional sound, which is worth a check out. The online digital download store traxsource (www.traxsource.com) is also a good place to get a catalogue to purchase some broken beats, these would mostly have a deep house influence. Another big option is to keep following four4beats simply because that is a sound we are following and a sound we contiously try to get more people to be aware of.
I have attached a selection of some good broken beat tracks to check out if you may build an interest in listening to this genre of music.