Tuesday, February 21, 2006

History of the "Amen Break," possibly the world's most important drum loop

Nate Harrison explains the history of one of the most important drum loops in pop-culture today, the "Amen Break." It's a b-side of a Grammy award winning single from 1969, and Nate submits that it was one of the first drum samples to be experimented with, heavily influencing the development of hip-hop, jungle, drum & bass, and pop culture in general:
I'd like to talk about drums, or rather about a particular drum beat. I'm sure you've heard it dozens of times before. It's a ubiquotous piece of the pop-culture soundscape. It's been used as a rhythmic backdrop in everything from late 80's gangsta rap to corporate America's recycling of hip-hop forms to sell things like jeeps and blue jeans to suburban America. In fact, just last week, i saw a TV commercial for a pharmacutical company where this drum beat was used to promote some sort of purple pill.

It's been used so much I might argue that it's now entered into the collective audio unconscious, and did so about three or four years ago. It's been somewhat glossed over now, but it has quite a history to it. This particular drum beat, or rather this break-beat, as it is more accurately called, or even more simply just "break." Well this particular break is called the "Amen." The "Amen Break."
Link (via BoingBoing)

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