Where Have The Breaks Gone?

I started out in 2001 with 2 turntables, a mixer and a crate of vinyl.

I did not have the knowledge or funds to get a quality set of gear. I started with belt drive tables which do not keep a consonant pitch required for beatmatching. I had a cheap mixer. The only thing I had that was quality were my vinyl, my records, my crate, my message to the world.

I eventually got a high quality setup and it was so easy for to mix after learning to constantly adjust the pitch in order to keep the two records matched. This was good, because I could do more things to give my mixing a bit of my own flavor. The tracks were abundant, I had a real record store with listening stations and loads of vinyl. Breakbeats were my thing and I had a big choice. The only hard part was limiting my purchase to the budget I had. There were numerous times I went over and had to sacrifice other areas of my life for that month. It was worth it.

I started playing out and was able to finally speak to the world. I am an introvert, so I did not have a desire to meet a bunch of people. I had to overcome that limitation and I did. It would be impossible if I had not. When I really interacted with people was the record I was playing. Breaks combined my love of Hip Hop with the tech sounds. Then there was the rare and absolutely necessary track with lots of love and soul – a vocal hitter that opened up that part of me – the part of my that was inside and longing to spread my pain to the world.

Buying vinyl was expensive and in order to make a mix tape, I needed about 12 – 15 tracks. The lowest new vinyl breakbeat track I paid for was $10. So already that is $120 for one mix. I did not like to reuse tracks, but I had to keep creating mixes with new tracks and ones I already owned. It was funds that held me back from my desire for a huge collection, not the lack of breakbeat records.

So 17 years later I am still a breakbeat DJ. I have my vinyl, although a couple of boxes of my vinyl mysteriously disappeared – they must have fallen off the truck… So now I am faced with the explosion of the availability of edm tracks. The problem was and still is that I cannot find a record pool that has breaks as a genre in the library. I am once again forced to limit the amount of tracks I can purchase because of having to buy single tracks. It is a double edged sword – on one hand I cannot get a steady stream of breakbeat tracks for a set price every month – the other side was that I can quality control the tracks I purchase. It is not as expensive as vinyl, although I do purchase some vinyl here and there. I have ripped my collection into mp3s so I can play them with today’s technology.

So where have the breaks gone?

They have been replaced by the new edm/pop scene. Sure, you can still get tracks and there are plenty of great Breakbeat DJs, but do they get the attention? There is almost a weekly new edm/pop star that is flung into the upper echelon of Super Stars. The music has turned into cheesy pop/quasi deluge of repetitive songs that follow that same format.

“All your records sound the same” – Dead Prez

I guess this is just an extension to my previous posts about Superstars in the EDM world. I guess there was more I needed to say.

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