Archive for January, 2013
Breakbeat as a term can be traced back to the 1970s with the origin of hiphop in the USA, and the early rave scene in the 1980s in the UK. There is a lot of argument about which was more prominent, but its safe to say that they developed their own styles in parallel
Breakbeat is the cornerstone of hundreds of genres of EDM giving the suffix “-step” to many of them to describe the syncopated or polyrhythmic beat structures.
Breakbeat usually takes the form of a non-standard 4/4 drum pattern to add creativity to what can be seen as a very monotonous 4 on the floor beat patterns of house or techno for example.
In the 1960s and 1970s during the rise of funk and soul music, bands would have “breaks” in the song where the drumer has a short 4 or 8 bar solo. With the invention of synthesizers in the 1980s people would sample these breaks, and “chop” them into their individual components. This allowed the DJ to create their own drum patters, miles away from the synthesized drum hits that the machinery could manage. The most famous of this is from the song “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons, becoming known as the Amen Break.
Without this particular breakbeat, its widely accepted that hiphop, jungle and subsequently drum and bass would not be the powerhouses they are today.
Ambient house traces its origins to the late 80s when DJs branched out from the popular Acid House elements of the day and added Ambient backdrops to the usual four on the floor beats.
The music gained popularity in the rave scene for ravers to come down from drug trips to relaxing music in smaller side tents or rooms.
Ambient music started (as a lot of them do) in the UK. With the emergence of electronic equipment into music from the early 1970’s artists such as Brian Eno and Mike Oldfield began creating “Background Music” solely for the purpose of being “actively listened to with attention or as easily ignored, depending on the choice of the listener.”
With the emergence of Disco music in the mid 1970s Ambient saw a fall in popularity, but with the creation and development of house and techno, by the 1990s it was again at the forefront of musical creativity with artists such as Aphex Twin and Moby achieving commercial success with Ambient singles and albums.
Ambient music is defined as having very few components in its composition, mostly containing no distinguishable rhythm, or if there is one, incredibly slow. Long time-stretched samples give an eerie space-like quality giving the “Ambient” distinctive sound.
Ambient music plays a prominent role in art, whereby physical installations of art are complimented with so-called “Sonic Sculptures” to give a multi sensory experience.