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Nu skool breaks

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Nu skool breaks

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Nu skool breaks is a form of breakbeat music genre, combining the futuristic sense of drum and bass, the sounds of techno, the bass of dub and the beats from real drummers and drum machines. The genre also prominently features electro and hip-hop influences and tracks typically run at 130 to 140 bpm.


TCR label founder Rennie Pilgrem coined the term to promote his then club night, Friction, differentiating it from the increasingly boorish Big Beat scene. He also released two highly successful compilations, Nu Skool Breaks, Volume 1 and 2, through UK based Kickin Records in 1998. The first volume of these was recorded live at the aforementioned London club night Friction, an influential breaks night that provided a springboard for the careers of producers Adam Freeland and Tayo, as well as promoters Ian Williams and Pilgrem who collectively founded the night. Friction became a focal point for their emerging styles of breakbeat-centered music and the night was boosted by its initial launch at Bar Rumba, a club known for it's competent soundsytem and intimate basement space.

Recently, the UK sound has begun to devolve, losing the characteristic breakbeat that defines the sound, and replacing it with a beat that more resembles house music. The term 'plod' has been coined for this style - describing the nature of the beats sound as if they are plodding along like a horse's hooves. This new style of nu skool has also gained a bad reputation among the nu skool "purists", and in most circles is frowned upon as even being called "Breaks".

The sound is now split into two main camps - Tech-Breaks and Bassline-Breaks. The former sound runs closer to Techno and Progressive House, but with a tougher sound, while the latter borrows heavily from electro, two-step, ragga and dub. Although the sounds are different there are many similarities and the current trend in the world of Breaks would appear to be the two sounds are uniting as Breaks continues to expand as one of the most adaptable and progressive undergrounds dance music styles. There has also be a recent trend towards rock/breaks crossover tracks, but the original specific sound of Nu-Skool Breaks is beginning to fragment into many new styles.


Popular breakbeat producers include Tipper, Uberzone, Freq Nasty, Ils, Influenza, Koma & Bones, Peo de Pitte, Baobinga, Aquasky vs. Masterblaster, The Breakfastaz, Hybrid and The Plump DJs. The major producers have remixed and/or produced tracks for big acts such as Orbital, *NSYNC, Kelis and New Order.

In the UK the scene is dominated by acts like the Autobots, Plump DJs, Krafty Kuts, Evil Nine, Precision Cuts, Adam Freeland and Lee Coombs. In the USA, known for its more acid-based breaks sound, the sound has gained popularity, especially on the West Coast. American artists include DJ Icey, Crystal Method, ESKMO, Influenza, FACTORe. Australia also has a burgeoning scene with popular artists including Bass Kleph, Nick Thayer, Nubreed, Phil K, Luke Chable, Dopamine, Andy Page and Kid Kenobi.

Newer artist albums include "Midi Style" by General Midi and "Teamplayers" by Aquasky.

External links

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

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