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Breaks, is the popular name for Nu Skool Breaks, a term used to describe a genre of electronic music that emerged in the UK in the mid-1990s, usually characterized by the use of break beat samples, combined with elements from various other genres, including techno, electro, drum and bass, house, funk and hip-hop, at a speed of approximately 125-140bpm.
The term ‘Nu Skool Breaks’ is credited to Rennie Pilgrem, who used it to describe the sound played at Friction, a club night he started in 1996 with Adam Freeland, Tayo and promoter Ian Williams. Rennie Pilgrem has stated that the name was designed to differentiate the sound from Big-Beat. Together with Danny McMillan, Rennie Pilgrem compiled the mix ‘Nu Skool Breakz’, which was recorded live at Friction and released on Kickin Records in 1998, further cementing the tag. Over the years, the genre has simply been shortened to ‘breaks’.
The origin of the sound is more difficult to pinpoint. Influences appear to include Hardcore Breakbeat, Drum & Bass, Hip-Hop and Electro, but over the years, many different genres have been assimilated into the Nu Skool Breaks sound, as producers look to other styles for fresh sounds or cross over to the scene, from other genres. This has resulted in the genre being very diverse.