Big Beats: A Genre That Defines The 90’s

By Guest Writer: Faris Al-Mahdi

Edited by: Nawaf Al-Mahdi (Contributor Author)

Short Bio about the Guest Writer:-

Faris Al-Mahdi is the younger brother of Contributing Author Nawaf Al-Mahdi, he is a young man diagnosed with autism and is full of musical knowledge. Faris is a huge fan of a variety of musical genres, particularly Rock, Metal, Alternative, Jazz, and New Age.

He also likes to read novels and autobiographies in his spare time, and his favorite author is Stephen King!.

Every era has it’s popularized genre of music, and the 1990’s was an era full of experimentations in the field of music. My personal favorite genre of music is known as ‘Big Beats’, and I will explain what it is.

Big beat is an electronic sub genre music that began in the early 1990’s – 2000s, a blended style of music consisting of: Electronica, Techno, Acid House, and Hip-Hop! In the early 1990’s, genres like English rave scene, ambient, beatbreak, chillout and ambient were combined with each other as an early design for ‘Big Beat’ music, but how did they do that ? Was it mixed with Heavy loops, synthesizers, sampling? Yes, it was! Its popularity rose by infusing different genres.

Many musicians who are associated with ‘Big Beat’ music are well known for their record breaking tracks were quiet popular in its time for its originality, and I compiled a compiled list of famous bands and musicians whose fame was in said genre.

  1. The Prodigy

the-prodigy

‘Big Beat’ music relies on using samples, in addition to using tuning effects such as filter, drop, and Sound FX. The Prodigy is an English band that combines rave music with blended punk rock, and its lead singer. What made the band unique was “The Prodigy spent much of 1994 and 1995 touring around the world, and made a splashy appearance at the 1995 Glastonbury Festival, proving that electronica could make it in a live venue. The group had already made a transition from the club/rave circuit to more traditional rock venues” (Bush). Check out their  iconic album “The Fat of the Land”, in addition to their hit song “Fireststarter”, reaching No.1 in UK’s charts, making it well known in pop culture.

2. Fatboy Slim

FATBOY_SLIM_WONDERFUL+NIGHT-317946

Next on the ‘Big Beat’ list is Norman Cook AKA Fatboy is the popular, an English DJ , Musician, and Producer, who helped popularise the genre in the 90’s. His tracks combine ‘Big Beats’ with funky electronica, helping his career rise with stardom. Before starting his career as a Disk Jockey, Norman cook was the bass guitarist and member of the band called The Housemartins, and after the band split up , Norman decided to start his DJ-ing career and played shows around the world. Some of Fatboy Slim’s popular songs such “Right here”, “Right Now”, “Praise You”, were rather popular in nightclubs and parties.

3. The Chemical Brothers

Chemical-Brothers-Surrender-Press-Shot-25-CREDIT-Kevin-Westenberg

The chemical brothers are notorious in the ‘Big Beat’ genre, infusing trip hop and house genres in their music. They won a grammy award for the best electronic rock/ dance music performance, and in 1996, “Dig your own hole” was the no.1 album in the U.S and U.K  as well. They collaborated with Korn in the track called “Kick the P.A”, to which I find this song as one of their best works in my honest opinion.

4. The Crystal Method

©Merc Photography - www.MercPhotography.com

The Crystal Method is an American electronic music act formed in Las Vegas, Nevada by Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland in the early 1990s, and Sean Cooper, a writer of the website All Music, describes the band as “America’s answer to the Chemical Brothers. A dance-based electronic duo with a definite rock-band feel”. They had a long successful career in Las Vegas, Nevada, and they had many hit songs in the 90’s, among them is their no.1 song “The Name of The Game” in 2001.

What Happened to Big Beat Music later on?

In 2001 and beyond , Big beat declined due to the novelty of the genre’s formula fading. In addition, many criticized the genre’s fusions from other musical styles, and “big beat was nevertheless criticized for dumbing down the electronica wave of the late ’90s… many dance fans rejected the style wholesale for being too reliant on gimmicky production values and played-out samples” (allmusic.com). I must admit, the ‘Big Beat’ genre had a good run, but of course, like all things, everything has an end.

If you wish to try something new, I highly recommend exploring songs and music from previous eras, for they contain a distinct vintage aesthetic from their time, making them unique in their own way.

Word Cited

 “Big Beat Music Genre Overview.” AllMusic, www.allmusic.com/style/big-beat-ma0000004997.

Bush, John. “The Prodigy: Biography & History.” AllMusic, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-prodigy-mn0000492162/biography.

Cooper, Sean. “The Crystal Method: Biography & History.” AllMusic, www.allmusic.com/artist/the-crystal-method-mn0000136124/biography.

Categories: Art, Media, Uncategorized

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2 replies

  1. Wow – this is incredible. Your brother is TALENTED and his insightful, well informed knowledge is reflected through his thorough writing style. I did some listening to The Prodigy because I’m into alternative music (Slipknot, System of a down, Tally Hall, Mother Mother) and I couldn’t help but notice how the Prodigy in this video in particular https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmin5WkOuPw&list=PL9E839C3AD87DDBDF is a spitting image of Yung Bluds image today. Yung Bluds style is so fascinatingly similar to The Prodigy. I would love to see your brother cover an article on our modern day punk artists and how they’re influenced by old timers like the Prodigy!

    Like

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