Big Beat Essentials

Apple Music
Big Beat Essentials

Big beat—an expression of ’90s dance music at its most crowd-pleasingly boisterous—was always upfront about its intentions. Its philosophy was right there in the name: The bigger the beats, the better. Coldcut and M/A/R/R/S lay the foundation in the late ’80s, fusing acid house and turntablism with infectious hooks. By the mid ’90s, at club nights around the UK, DJs like Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers were bringing ravers and rockers together under the umbrella of the eclectic new sound. Big Beat’s early incarnation joined hip-hop breaks, rock guitars, and attention-grabbing vocals with a distinctly gonzo sensibility that helped entice American fans previously immune to electronic music’s allure. Long past the style’s chart-topping late-’90s heyday, its super-sized sonics helped pave the way for DFA’s dance/rock crossovers, French electro, and the '10s EDM boom. Just like the Big Bang’s gravitational waves, ripples from big beat’s collision of rave, rap, rock, and pop keep spreading outward.

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