Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Bringing back the (big) beat
Are you ready for the Big Beat revival? Yes? Then check out Kids in Tracksuits. There’s not really a ‘scene’ yet, but you’ve always got the likes of NME around to invent one. When I first heard this Nottingham-based group, doing a session for John Kennedy on Xfm I was immediately transported back to the heyday of what was known as ‘Big Beat’ in around ’96-‘97.
I was fresh in London, an indie kid from Glasgow in a big new place with lots of big new things to offer. Including beats. Big Beat was often-criticised for being dance music to appeal to people who really only liked rock music, but it was my way in. Apart from the likes of Saint Etienne and Screamadelica, I was never really into anything that could be called dance music, but Big Beat did it for me.
It lured me in. It led me to a whole new world of music – hip hop, drum ‘n’ bass and techno mainly, but I even flirted with house. It also led to the capital’s dancefloors – so then, many happy evenings at the likes of The Heavenly Jukebox at Turnmills, its successor Headstart, Sonic Mook Experiment (before it went rock) and The (Big Beat) Boutique at the Scala, early days at Fabric and many, many more.
Kids in Tracksuits help to conjure up these ghosts of the past, especially now that I’ve largely reverted to my indie default. Midfield General. Fatboy Slim. Lo-Fidelity Allstars. Heck, the whole Skint label in the mid-late 90s. All that scratching, silly samples and chunky beats. A lot of it was great, until it began to wear a bit thin as the new millennium approached. Fatboy Slim should have given up long ago.
Yet these Kids bring a fresh approach, sense of fun and the sort of tunes that I never knew I was missing from my music collection, but somehow, now seem to have been. Check them out. Maybe it’s time for a Big Beat revival. Just the good stuff though. Like this.
Download: Kids in Tracksuits – Make it Rock (Xfm session)
Download: Kids in Tracksuits – Bugged (Xfm session)
Another great thing about KIT is that they’re a download-friendly band. There are a load of decent mp3s available from their website. Here’s one of them.
Download: Kids in Tracksuits – Uprock Theme
And finally – just as I was thinking about this post, I was surfing round blogland and came across Good Weather For Airstrikes’ mammoth Justice post. He’s posted a snip from a Justice set at Trash last year, including their reworking of The Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up. How appropriate! I thought. They’ve mixed in Wildchild’s Renegade Master. It doesn’t come much more Big Beat than this! And if it’s good enough for these lords of cool, it should be good enough for you. I’ve nicked the tune for my blog. Hope that’s OK.
Download: The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up (Justice mix)