Don’t be fooled by the title. Just like big beat itself, the large living and equally huge sounding musical fusion of dance and rock cultures, there’s nothing little about ‘The Little Big |Beat’ book.
Its author, Rory Hoy, was barely born when the genre played out its final moves at the end of the 90s, but that hasn’t stopped him falling seriously in love with the genre. Hoy as well as being a DJ and remixer of some note, has really thrown himself into the task of not only cataloging and explaining but also translating his passion for the music of the big beat genre.
For a start, the book features an exhaustive selection of interviews from the genre’s major players from Fatboy Slim and Wall of Sound‘s Mark Jones, through to the acts that came through after their success had opened the door like Apollo 440 and Groove Armada. Whereas much of the press surrounding the big beat phenomenon at the time focused more on the sex and drugs and ignored most of the rock ‘n’ roll, the inkies still apparently unable to get their head around dance music a decade after acid house. This book, however, while not shirking from the salacious details when they arise, is all about the music,
Which is fascinating to explore, given that big beat absorbed everything around it, from hip-hop and drum ‘n’ bass, house and techno to indie and rock, and created numerous classic tunes by re-configuring them in their own image, ‘The Little Bit Beat Book’ manages to capture the spirit of those times, the fun of breaking musical rules left, right and centre at a time when most guitar music was slavishly adhering to the backwards looking restrictions of Britpop.
There an in depth dissections of all the major anthems of the time. Who knew, for instance, that Cornershop‘s ‘Brimful of Asha’, taken to the top of the singles chart by a Fatboy Slim remix in 1998, was about the political situation in India at the time?!
But there’s an equal emphasis on those who played a significant role in the genre’s development, the Monkey Mafias and Freddy Freshes of the parish, but who never made it household name status. The final appendix of the publication is an invaluable archive in itself, with many of the contributors listing their all time big beat top five tunes. As a starting point for anyone looking to dip their toes into the big beat ocean, it’s the perfect resource,
While clearly being a labour of love, ‘The Little Big Beat’ is an authoritative and comprehensive look at this much celebrated but often misrepresented genre. No small achievement, in other words.
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.