Lost Guide: Broken Beat


Chances are, you've not heard of broken beat. But back in the late ninties/early noughties the UK was on the cutting edge of more than just house, techno and electronica.

A new sound was rising up, predominantly in London and artists like Alex Phountzi, Kaidi Tatham, Domu and Seiji were pioneering the Broken Beat genre. While the mainstream was firmly getting into the groove of 2-step garage, house and techno, this underground movement, initially instigated by a close group of friends was taking electronic music in new directions.

My introduction to Broken Beat was via the FabricLive 12 CD. It was like nothing I had heard before. Elements of soul, garage, house, latin and r'n'b all infused with a distinctively UK feel. 

The club night Co-op, held at both the Velvet Rooms and Plastic People was the Mecca for the Broken Beat scene. Dubplates and one off versions gave the soundtrack of the night a truly exclusive feel. It was here where the scene heavyweights came together, Afronaught, 4Hero, Dego, Domu, Daz I Kue and more all bringing their own flavour into the mix.

The variation in style across the scene was also one of it's defining factors. Tracks like Loose Lips by Seiji & Lyric L brought the rough, dark MC lead style, Mark De Clive Lowe brought a soulful side and Afronaught's Dreams Come True featuring the sublime vocals of Alison David made for pure summertime terrace material.

Throughout the early and mid noughties broken beat continued to grow and more and more artists were drawn to the scene, it's influences and reach took inspiration from multiple established genres and stood tall as its own movement, its own community and it's own family.

Gradually sub genres started to form, the NuJazz and NuSoul movements for example and elements of urban chill and electronica, with tracks like the sublime I Want You To Know Me by Dyampert feat. Desney Bailey a particular personal highlight.

Percussive diversions that swayed more toward Latin and Afrobeat also rose to become part of a lot of sets and mixes. My personal journey with Broken Beat lead to my love of more experimental electronic music, something that I'll always be grateful to it for.

Take a listen to some classic tracks from the scene below.

Umod - Tromboline

Kaidi Tatham & Dego - Got Me Puzzled

Jazztronik - Samurai

Mark De Clive Lowe - Slide

Amy Winehouse - Take The Box (Seiji's Buggin Mix)

Seiji Feat. Lyric L - Loose Lips

DKD - Future Rage

Shades of Soul - Give It To Me (4Hero Mix)