Written by George on 2001-07-25 Categories: Posts

Broken/not broken: … These are a few of my favorite beats — as well as a primer. (Tom F. at work tipped me off)

But while broken beat may be the newest buzz out of the London dance scene, another genre, 2 step, monopolizes the press’s attention. Unlike 2 step, broken beat operates under uncertain guidelines and is therefore less appealing to genre-obsessed marketing schemes, which rely on singular musical trends to forward a commercial agenda. Could the elusive styles of broken beat-future jazz producers be in any form a conscious reaction to the aggressive mainstreaming of dance music or to the way in which another West London producer, bigwig 2 stepper MJ Cole, garners all of the spotlight? Seiji, who claims to derive inspiration from 2 step, says no: “The broken beat thing hasn’t had much reference to another scene. It hasn’t been in response to anything. No one sat down and said, ‘Lets do that; maybe we can make a scene.’ Its just genuinely people making music and doing something different and realizing other people were doing the same thing, so we managed to get together a little community, which has sustained it.”

Still, Seiji admits that broken beat isn’t exactly moneymaking music. The European glossies haven’t been clamoring to put IG Culture or Dego on their covers, none of those artists seem to have press agents, and finding the music in the stores is a challenge. Hence, the music has taken an outcast stance: its refusal to conform places it on the outskirts of the commercial market. And also unlike 2 step � a black-innovated music whose media darlings, MJ Cole and Artful Dodger, are white � the West London scene is defined to the media at large by IG Culture and Dego, and therefore retains a black identity, even while the broken beat and future jazz scenes have a multicultural character. The 2000 Black label leaves no doubt as to what influences the music is rooted in, nor do names like Nubian Minds or Afronaught.

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