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Big beat music will feature harder, heavier and more distorted basslines and percussive breakbeats. It may sometimes use acid's sound-defining synthesizer, the Roland TB-303. In a sense, it can been argued that this genre is more like a fusion of acid breaks and breakbeat, but it does have characteristics of its own, as well.
Like its name may suggest, this style of music will focus on beats which are big. Loud, distorted, powerful and heavy, the beats will form the face of this genre. In addition to that, it may also incorporate intense sound effects (crashing, explosions, glass shattering, etc...), the attention to dynamics (primarily when referencing its volume) and the sudden builds and drops, following a drum roll or other percussive transition.
Having a pretty average tempo of around 120-140, it can more easily have different styles of music mixed in, and sometimes, techno and pop musical structures can be found within it. In reference to specific qualities, it can be compared to drum and bass, even though it has a much slower tempo.
The term "big beat" was actually first used at the very end of the
1980s, to describe the first band in this genre's sound, and to try and replace acid
house, but wasn't considered a genre until the mid-1990s. During the mid-1990s, many DJs started to follow the trend that this band had created.
The actual genre came into existence around that time, the mid-1990's. It was in the United Kingdom where it originated and was developed. The popular British artists of this time helped to define this genre's characteristics and split them apart from similar breakbeat genres.
It didn't have very much success in the early stages of its creation, but during the late 1990s, it did reach a wider audience and gained much more popularity. It also found some success in America due to the similarities to rock, and the growing number of record labels for this genre. Many festivals and events were being held at this time and the sound was being heard is more parts of the world.
A little after the start of the 2000s, however, this genre of music began dropping in popularity due to people losing interest in the once exciting and unique sound of this music. People were starting to move to other genres. But it's no argument that this genre made an impact on the music industry and left its mark and influences for the future of breakbeat and music in general.
Average Beats Per Minute: 120-140
Where It Originated: The United Kingdom
Stylistically Similar To: Breakbeat, Acid House, Techno
Year Developed: Mid-1990s
General Break - Back to the overview of break.
Acid Breaks - By combining the styles of breakbeat and acid, a new genre is born.
Baltimore Club - Influenced by hip-hop and breakbeat, join the club!
Big Beat - Characterized by its unusually big and powerful presence.
Broken Beat - If it's not broken, don't fix it... Oh, wait...
Nu Skool Breaks - Harder. Darker. Heavier. This is the new school.
You are at big beat.