In the mid to late 80s, DJs began to notice that crowds in the Bronx would wild out the hardest during the drum breaks in the middle of dance songs. In their infinite wisdom, the sound selectors slowed down the breaks, looped them up, acquired an emcee to hype the crowd, and hip hop was born. Since then, producers have been exploring the possibilities of the break. Whether you’re DJ Shadow, Amon Tobin, Just Blaze, Kanye, or an amateur bedroom beat-smith, a producer must be a master of manipulating breaks.
Here’s an example of a break-centered track we created:
Drum breaks lend your music an authenticity that’s difficult, if not impossible, to capture via MIDI. The crackle and hiss of the vinyl, the groove of a real drummer, the lo-fi recording–it all combines to give your music an organic texture that just makes it sound better. Breaks can also provide a great starting point for your beats. One of the best ways to overcome writer’s block is to loop up a tried-and-true break and use that as inspiration. Add layer upon layer, make it your own, and eventually you could even delete the original loop, leaving you with a completely original work.
Traditionally, you’d have to dig through record after record, listen through the whole thing, find that one 8-bar section, loop with with delicate precision, and add elements from there. Today, however, we’re equipped with better tools to find and loop breaks, and it’s easier than ever for anyone to create a crunchy, bouncy beat. There are those out there that lament this, we believe that, the more people making art, the better it is for art. Sure, there’ll be a lot of crap out there. But this also raises the bar. In order to stand out, musicians need to go beyond the norm.
In that spirit, we compiled 25 of our favorite breaks for all of you to play with:
To entice you further, we’re giving away a $100 gift code to the person who can create the best beat out of any one of these breaks. Here’s how it’s going to work:
1. Follow GURU on Soundcloud.
3. Choose one (or more), and use it as a starting point to create a banger.
4. Upload your track to Soundcloud and tag it #GURUBreaks. Submit by 11:59 PM on Sunday, 12/8/13.
5. We will choose the winner based on originality, groove, and weirdness.
6. We announce the winner in one week, on Monday, December 9th.
The winner win receive a $100 gift code to Karmaloop. Get creating, and good luck!