大节拍 Big Beat

Big Beat是自约1997年左右兴起的音乐形态,其基本概念,就是将摇滚乐和电子乐结合起来,即是将演奏取向的摇滚乐,以电子乐方式制作,变成舞曲的形式。(不过外头也不乏以摇滚乐为主的舞会。)
  Big Beat最明显的特征,应是它节奏的部份。Big Beat的节拍走Hip-Hop方向,但是被加重、加快很多。又重又碎的拍子,有时比Techno这类4/4拍强力机械式的舞曲更具有爆发力。因此Big Beat不只受舞曲迷欢迎,更受摇滚迷喜爱。
  其实早在1990年The Prodigy乐团成立时,他们便有将摇滚和电子结合的概念。但当时他们的音乐电子成份还是很重,其节奏和音色的使用,可能较接近于Techno。直到1995年The Chemical Brothers的专辑Exit Planet Dust推出后,才将摇滚的部份明确化。那时乐评们称他们的音乐为Brit-Hop。很明显这个字源自于Hip-Hop,又因为The Chemical Brothers是英国团体,才使用"Brit″这个字。(简化了British,"英国的″之意。)
97年The Prodigy的专辑The Fat Of The Land推出之后,大家才见识到摇滚和电子结合的威力。相较于Exit Planet Dust的松散,The Fat Of The Land的制作更加成熟,节奏变得更肥厚,音色也接近于工业摇滚,更有爆发力。这张专辑更在英美两地的流行音乐榜上有非常好的成绩,表示大多数的人都很认同这种音乐,此时Big Beat这个字才正式浮现。不过这可能表示,Big Beat是电子乐中"最不电子的一种″。 虽说The Prodigy的气势好像压过了The Chemical Brothers,但说他们是都是电子摇滚的代表,绝对不为过。电子和摇滚的结合也花了六、七年才趋于成熟。又由于Big Beat实为摇滚乐建构在电子乐上,因此也有人称它为"Techno-Punk″。

Rescuing the electronica community from a near fall off the edge of its experimental fringe, Big Beat emerged in the mid-'90s as the next wave of big dumb dance music. Regional pockets around the world had emphasized the "less intelligent" side of dance music as early as 1994, in reaction to the growing coterie of chin-stroking intellectuals attached to the drum'n'bass and experimental movements. Big beat as a distinct movement finally coalesced in 1995-96 around two British labels: Brighton's Skint and London's Wall of Sound. The former -- home to releases by Fatboy Slim, Bentley Rhythm Ace, and Lo-Fidelity Allstars -- deserves more honors for innovation and quality, though Wall of Sound was founded slightly earlier and released great singles by Propellerheads, Wiseguys, andLes Rythmes Digitales. Big beat soon proved very popular in America as well, and artists attached to City of Angels Records (the Crystal Method, Überzone, Lunatic Calm, Front BC) gained a higher profile thanks to like-minded Brits. Other than Fatboy Slim, the other superstar artists of big beat were the Chemical Brothers and Prodigy, two groups who predated the style (and assisted its birth). Both the Chemical Brothers and Prodigy were never tight fits either, given productions that often reflected the more intelligent edge of trip-hop, and rarely broke into the mindless arena of true big beat.

The sound of big beat, a rather shameless fusion of old-school party breakbeats with appropriately off-the-wall samples, was reminiscent of house music's sampladelic phase of the late '80s as well as old-school rap and its penchant for silly samples and irresistible breaks. Though the sample programming and overall production was leaps and bounds beyond its predecessors, big beat was nevertheless criticized for dumbing down the electronica wave of the late '90s. Even while recordings by the Chemical Brothers,Prodigy, and Fatboy Slim hit the American charts and earned positive reviews -- granted, from rock critics -- worldwide, many dance fans rejected the style wholesale for being too reliant on gimmicky production values and played-out samples. Big beat lasted a surprisingly long time, given the constraints of a style reliant on the patience of listeners who've heard the same break dozens of times, as well as the patience of DJs to hunt local thrift stores to find interesting samples on old instructional records.

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