Florida breaks

Written by on January 9, 2018

Florida breaks, referred to as Florida breakbeat and Funky Breaks, is an early genre of today’s electronic dance music. Its sound was born of a mixture of original Hip Hop breaks, plus freestyle, electro and Miami bass from the 1980s, as well as electronic music/techno/house from the 1990s as well. The 1990s techno influence can be heard in the use of pianos and keyboards. The electro influence can be traced back to Kraftwerk and Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Planet Rock’ which is widely accepted to have started the Miami bass scene with its 1982 release. More modern day sub genes such as the UK’s nu-skool dirty breaks, can be traced back to Florida Breaks.

It was a unique set of circumstances and location that allowed Central Florida to shape the sound of the late 1990s techno underground. Orlando had a very large number of professional dancers due to Disney World and other attractions throughout the central Florida area from coast to coast, Tampa to Daytona, that had hired dancers. This, together with Florida nightlife and a large number of DJs meant there were cliques and sub-scenes all around. Many of these dancers were b-boys and b-girls, more publicly known as break dancers. Since many of these people worked entertainment and service jobs their nightlife did not begin until very late at night when most were home sleeping or the bars were closing. This easily led to late night underground parties. Backing the timeline up to 1988 and what is widely known as the second Summer of Love which occurred in the UK bringing the term rave, where underground parties were thrown in unknown locations, and the famous techno “acid” sound was born, thanks to the Roland 303 bassline, and early pioneers of the music.

Central Florida is credited with this sound due to the large number of producers living in this area and DJing there music at local parties and clubs. A few party promoters began bringing over larger electronic music DJs and acts since the DJs had been hearing about what was happening in Central Florida and wanted to come and check it out for themselves. They then went home and their music was then influenced by their experiences, as seen in the 1994 UK release by Newton called “Orlando.”

By 1997 Orlando’s city council passed the “Rave” ordinance shutting down clubs at by 3 a.m. By this time acts like Sasha and Digweed were headlining shows in Orlando, and AK1200 was beginning to play local drum and bass, but the big beat subs had been carried into the main stream by the likes of the Chemical Brothers, Moby, Crystal Method, or Rabbit in the Moon. Much of the Florida Breaks music produced and released in the mid to late 1990s in Central Florida was on a local record label, and only released on vinyl records.

Also may be referred to as Orlando breaks, Tampa Breaks, or The Orlando Sound. genre of breakbeat dance music that originated in central region of the State of Florida, United States. Florida Breaks originates from a mixture of hip-hop, Miami bass and electro that often includes recognizable sampling of early jazz or funk beats from rare groove or popular film. Florida’s breakbeat style feature vocal elements and retains the hip-hop rhythms on which is based. The Florida breakbeat style however is faster, more syncopated, and has a heavier and unrelenting bassline. The beat frequently slows and breaks down complex beat patterns and then rebuilds to creative an uplifting, happy, or positive mood in the listener.


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