Breaking The Beats: A Personal Selection of West London Sounds


"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 neighboring 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. 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." --Mr Beatnick May 2020

"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 . . . 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 Tatham 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

Double-CD version features 4hero, Bugz In The Attic, Agent K, Fourth Kind, Domu, Jazztronik, Face, Nova Fronteira, AtJazz, Kaidi Tatham, Vikter Duplaix, Taylor McFerrin, Vincent Parker, NSM, The Sunburst Band, IG Culture, Blakai, Bembe Segue, Daz-I-Kue, Colonel Red, Afronaut, Lars Bartkuln, Melissa Browne, Homecookin', Hajime Yoshizawa, Incognito, Jazzanova, Mark de Clive-Lowe, East West Connection, and Likwid Biskit.