Chemical breaks, better known as Big Beat, is a form of breakbeat that was popular in Britain during the 90's. It's used to describe the music of artists such as The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, and Fatboy Slim.

History[edit | edit source]

The term Big Beat was coined by Iain Williams of Big Bang to describe their band's musical style, during an interview in an article published in the London magazine Metropolitan. The term didn't really catch on until the 90's, however. By that point, The Prodigy already had chart-topping singles, some of which earned them platinums. Fatboy Slim earned a platinum with his album You've Come A Long Way, Baby. Eventually, around 2001, the scene's decline was inevitable. The Chemical Brothers began adding 4/4 beats to their songs, and associated them more to house/techno. The genre still left a humongous impact on electronic by bridging a gap between ravers & indie rock fans.

Structure[edit | edit source]

Big beat has tempos around 120-140 BPM. It features heavy & distorted beats, TB-303 synth lines resembling acid house, and heavy loops from 70's funk, soul & jazz. They are often driven by punk vocalists and intense, distorted synth basslines. They usually follow conventional house, techno, and pop structure. The songs include many effects, such as crescendos, builds & drops, extended drum rolls, and spoken word samples. They also add non-conventional instruments such as Middle Eastern strings & sitars. Fatboy Slim used heavily compressed, loud breakbeats in his songs. This associates it with jungle & drum & bass, the only difference being a slower tempo.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_beat
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