Doing The Housework To Hardcore Breakbeat 91-93

I’ve wanted to write something regarding breakbeat music for a while now. This has all come about through spending Saturday mornings at home doing the tidying up whilst dipping into Youtube in search of old dj sets from 90s rave parties whilst my Wife has been out of the house in town 

So, some context first and foremost. Having been a keen club dancer up until 1991 and a black music enthusiast from the days of Electro Funk and Street Soul some years earlier, my initial dancing years were spent enjoying all kinds of music geared towards dance floors

For me and as I have come to understand, for anything to positively register there has to be two elements.  A great bassline helps so that my hips get some stimulus and secondly I need to be able to visualise how a piece of music would come across at a dance which is probably why I got into djing and throwing parties 

In regards to dancing I spent many an hour busting moves either on my own or with a dancing partner (shout to Mark Cook on this one) up until the late 90s. Around late 91 I was beginning to realise that the key element in Hip Hop music which I had loved for many a teenage year was beginning to be replaced

The flow and groove on 80’s to mid-90s Hip Hop was beginning to be replaced with a focus on The Gangster Life Style and as such I wasn’t feeling that one bit

Like many breakbeat Djs and dancers who made the move from Hip Hop I followed suit in late 91 early 92 (with my first visit to an all-night rave called Rezerection)
For the following 18-24 months before the gradual demise of breakbeat in Scotland as the ravers opted for a more tougher and harder European sound (Gabber) and in England the split into Darkside  / Happy Hardcore, I immersed myself in the culture of the time 100%

Records were purchased, tapes were collected or exchanged with mates and all- nighters were visited, namely Rezerection (Scotland) where I became a resident DJ for a few months and Fantazia and Universe in England, probably the two most famous of all rave parties England will ever enjoy

Around 94/95 I departed the rave scene and moved into more house based music through the Southwest UK Free Party Scene and the hugely loved Sketch Nights near my home in Somerset where the music was more conducive to dancing and my hips

From then until most recently I’ve ignored those years dancing and listening to Breakbeat but just recently I’ve returned to those days through the wonders of Youtube and with what I think is a more mature and better appreciation of the music than when I was a younger man in search of a thrill

My go to Youtube clips are from three areas. 2 artists/djs and 1 record label that for me have provided my later appreciation of the flow and set arrangement in some of these sets and also that amongst all the speed and harshness of the music there were great moments of musicality although some may scorn at it’s rudimental presentation compared to today’s standards

DJ/artists for Me have to be, Top Buzz and Ellis Dee and in regards to musical output of this brief era Basement Records always were consistent and on point with their ability to combine the darkness of the break with the warmth of the arrangements on top  

Having the benefit of hearing both Top Buzz and Ellis Dee sets taken live from the parties now via Youtube also cements the appreciation once again of why a party is so important and for Me trumps any studio mix recording in terms of actually being at a dance when physically you are not (in my case at home doing the house work on a Saturday with a big grin on my face)

So, which are the Youtube clips that keep me smiling that I would like to share

The Top Buzz one’s are from NYE 91 and Summertime 92. I think 91 has the edge on sense of occasion while Summertime takes the musicality top spot. Both however are superbly put together sets with some superb music topped off with Mad P on the mic for that little extra pomp and ceromony

In regards to Ellis Dee, I was actually at Fantazia’s  The Big Bang which was held in Glasgow. I remember wondering how he would go down considering the Scots love of Bouncy Techno and Gabber. Surprisingly he pulled it off with the help of MC MC and a splendid arrangement of music

The second clip is from a Vision party where about 4 mins 20 seconds in he plays something that sounds absolutely wonderful that supports my view that hardcore breakbeat did have it's more beautiful and less tougher moments

My final clip is from a Basement Records artist called Wax Doctor with the legendary  “A New Direction” which was one of the most loved Jungle Techno tunes of the era

Check out the bassline on this one and also all The Basement Records output between 91-93 to hear why I still hold them in such very high regard within a changing scene at that time that was going in many directions

As MC Ribbz would say “Here We Go Party Crew”


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