Eurobeat

Eurobeat

Unreferenced|date=June 2008Infobox Music genre
name = Eurobeat
bgcolor = #BB0022
color = white
stylistic_origins = 1985-1989: The UK version of "Italo Disco". 1987-current: Dance music with elements reminiscent to Italo Disco produced mostly for Japan.
cultural_origins = 1985-1989: UK 1985-Present, Italy and Japan
instruments = Synthesizers, drum machines, electric guitars
popularity = Original Eurobeat popular in UK & Europe between 1985-1990. Few hits marketed "Hi-NRG" very popular in USA. Modern Eurobeat:Large following in Japan. Very popular throughout the 1990's and early 2000's. Sizable communities throughout Asia, niche in the United States.
derivatives = Italo Disco, Hi-NRG, Eurodisco, Spacesynth, J-Pop, Para Para
regional_scenes = 80s:UK. Mid 80s to today: Japan, Hong Kong, cities in the United States with large Asian communities

Eurobeat, as the name implies, is a music genre from Europe. It is a sub-genre of 80s italo disco (a.k.a. 80s Eurodisco). In the USA, it was sometimes marketed as Hi-NRG and for a short while shared this term with the very early freestyle music hits.

"Eurobeat" is also directly related to the Japanese Para Para dance culture, but in a completely different way, explained later in this article.

The first use of the term "eurobeat"

The term "eurobeat", was first used in the UK, when the Stock Aitken Waterman team, created a commercial music genre, labelled - at the time - "eurobeat". Those mid 80s hits (Dead or Alive, Bananarama, Jason Donovan, Sonia, Kylie Minogue, etc) were heavily based on how "Italo-disco" sounded to the Brits, during their holidays on popular 80s destinations (especially Greece, where Italo-disco was very popular). The same term also was used to describe the first hits from Pet Shop Boys and other UK-based dance electropop groups of the time. Those "eurobeat" hits (Dance Pop songs with a European-like beat), toped the UK charts, so they end up having some (underground) airplay on USA's radio stations helping from that stand on the evolution of New York's "Freestyle". MTV Europe also had a show called: "Braun European Top 20" at the time, that aired on MTV USA during summer 1987 to 1989, helping the spread of UK's Eurobeat sound. But after the summer of 1988 (UK's summer of love), UK's "eurobeat" music declined from popularity, with the exception of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. By the summer of '89 the term "eurobeat" replaced from various terms and the music changed to 90s european dance music and mostly eurohouse.

It must be noted, that the term "Eurobeat" also used only in the UK and during 1986-1988, for specific Italian 80s Euro Disco imports, especially those from Sabrina Salerno, Spagna and Baltimora.

The use of the term "Eurobeat" in Japan

Meanwhile, in 1985, the term "eurobeat" moved to Japan's music market, to describe all the European (non UK based) dance music imports. Those imports were "Italo-disco" hits, produced mostly in Italy and Germany. That sound became the soundtrack of the Para Para nightclub culture, that has existed, since the early 80's. Japan knew the "italo-disco" sound, through the success of the German group "Arabesque", which broke up in 1984. This did not prevent the release of 2 singles in 1985 and 1986, produced and mixed by Michael Cretu (of Enigma), that sounded very "italo-disco"-like. The later solo success of Sandra (lead singer or Arabesque) further assisted the introduction of this sound in Japan. That attracted the attention of many italo-disco producers (mostly Italians and Germans) and by the late 80's, they created a new sound especially for Japan, but virtually unknown in the rest of the world. This music styles end up being called Eurobeat in Japan or Super Eurobeat/Eurobeat Flash.

Despite being European in origin, "this" Eurobeat's main market has always been Japan, where its synthetic and emotionally upbeat stylings are popular. Even though many Europeans and Americans have heard of Eurodance, Eurodisco and Euro House, this flavor of Eurobeat is largely unknown in Europe and only recently became somewhat popular in the Western world. It has some popularity between open-minded "italo-disco" fans and some Euro-House fans.

The anime series "Initial D", based on the manga by Shuichi Shigeno, uses Eurobeat music regularly in its episodes during racing scenes between the characters, and because of this it has come to the attention of some anime fans outside Japan.

Eurobeat's sound (in the Japanese market) is its main link to its italo disco origins, where it was just one of many different experiments in pure-electronic dance. There are certain synth instruments that recur across the entire genre: a sequenced octave bass, Characteristic are the energetic (sometimes wild) and heavy use of synths, distinctive brass and harp sounds, and tight, predictable percussion in the background. These sounds are layered with vocals and natural instruments (guitar and piano are common) into complex, ever-shifting melodies that, at their best, burst with energy.

In 1998, KONAMI a video game company made a hit video dance machine, Dance Dance Revolution. The game acquired eurobeat songs from the record label Dancemania from Toshiba-emi, at the press time, DDR has featured Eurobeat songs on-and-off in recent games; however, their number has dwindled due to efforts to make DDR more marketable to US markets. KONAMI's Japan-only music game series Beatmania, however, enjoys a large number of Eurobeat songs and they also released a Para Para game; Para Para Paradise.

The Sega AM2-developed arcade fighting game, Sonic the Fighters (Sonic Championship in the US) uses a eurobeat influenced soundtrack.

Explanation of the Eurobeat genre from the Japanese point of view

Eurobeat can create a number of different genres, while still keeping its own originality intact. In the late 1970s and early 1980s there were many new genres emerging from the creation of electronic music. Hi NRG Disco, 70s Eurodisco, Space Disco, Canadian Disco and Italo Disco (a.k.a. 80s Eurodisco) are some of them. When disco music became unpopular in North America (because of the Disco Sucks events took place in 1979), it remained in the limelight in Europe for many more years. In USA, the early 80s, disco linked with P-Funk artists like George Clinton, disco funk artists like Earth, Wind & Fire and the Hi-NRGdisco music scene.

What follows in the article, is the description of "Eurobeat" (a.k.a. Super Eurobeat) as formed during the late 80s and 90s in Japan.

While modern music is often recognized by its lyrics, Eurobeat is recognized not primarily by its lyrics, but by its synthesized chorus known as the Sabi (short for Sabishigaru, not to be mistaken for the Japanese Wabi-sabi), which means "to remember someone or something" in Japanese. This of course refers to the generally acknowledged fact that you mostly remember the Sabi as opposed to the stanzas of the Eurobeat song. This broad genre can create a great number of different "sub-genres" within it because of this combination of harmony and rhythm. Sometimes it can still sound like the old disco music we know, sometimes it can be very "fast and happy" like Happy Hardcore or Speed Music, and occasionally it even uses guitars as a method of Saiba.

One peculiar thing about Eurobeat is the fact that each artist is often credited with a variety of different aliases (See "Popular Eurobeat Artists" below for details). Artists usually adopt different stage names according to the mood of each song, or depending on who wrote their lyrics. For instance, Ennio Zanini has stated on the SCP Music website that he goes by the name of "Fastway" on songs which are more upbeat and sprinkled with high-pitched female backing vocals, and goes by "Dusty" on his more "serious" tracks. Also a popular theory is that Eurobeat artists such as Clara Moroni and Giancarlo Pasquini manufacture the same acts under many different names in order to "compete with themselves". (Compare to legendary House producer Thomas Bangalter, who is infamous for the same practice).

Eurobeat also has notoriety for name recognition, lifting titles from popular songs and using them as the names of Eurobeat tracks. Examples are "Like a Virgin", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", and "Station to Station." The Eurobeat songs that reuse song titles typically have nothing to do with the song it lifted its title from (i.e., not a cover).

The Eurobeat formula (for the Japanese market)

Like most musical genres, (modern) Eurobeat has a fairly specific formula to it:

intro → riff (musical synth) → a melo(verse) → a melo2(bridge) → a sabi (chorus) → riff (musical synth) → outro

The intro is the introduction into the song, the "riff" is the musical part without voices. The "a melo", or a-melody is the first verse in the song, the "a melo2" (a-melody 2) is the bridge of the song, and the "sabi" is the chorus of the song. The "outro" is the ending. There will also be a c melo (the second a melo) after the first sabi, as well as another a/b melo variant after the second sabi.

Eurobeat is notorious for its complex rhythm, always attempting to throw the listener in another direction, but the flow is usually a one way ticket. After the synth, the song usually repeats the verse, bridge, and chorus (although with different lyrics most the time) and then goes into a "breakdown" where there can be a variety of new parts to the song including a guitar solo, the dropping and adding of percussion, or a plain instrumental version of the track. Typically though, this only encompasses the verse and bridge; the chorus is usually sung once again, and then the synth and extro play. The extro can either be the synth played again, or something reminiscent of the intro. Another thing to note is that the intro is somewhat like an instrumental rendition of the verse, bridge, and chorus, while the synth is a lot like a synthesized version of the chorus. They don't have to sound completely similar, but they do in fact fit on top of each other most of the time.

Another theory is that in order to possibly qualify as a Eurobeat, a song must have one or more of the following in the title or somewhere in the song's lyrics - Love, Baby, Tonight, Fire. The title of the song is almost always within the first line of the chorus, and most of the time, is at the very beginning of it.

There's a particular style of formula when it comes to the different "labels" of the Eurobeat world:

A Beat C: Typically follows the formula above, rarely straying away from a different type. This label is considered by the majority of the Eurobeat world to be the most "mainstream" label, taking a little bit of everything and adding it to their own style. They also have the largest amount of singers, which gives them variety.

Notable A-Beat C songs:
"Try Me" by Lolita
"Space Boy" by Dave Rodgers
"Sunday" by Nuage
"Hurricane" by Karen
"Fever the Night" by Matt Land

Boom Boom Beat: This label can resemble house music very much if you listen closely. They typically use the formula of adding a new section of percussion, bass, and synth after every 4th measure. After the last synth (sometimes after the chorus is goes straight to the following) there is typically a percussion drop until there are only 4 measures of a "kick" or "hat" left. As with Vibration, BBB can be somewhat unpredictable, but they don't tend to stray away from this formula.

Notable Boom Boom Beat songs
"Sexy Sexy Sexy" by Ken Martin
"Little Don" by The Factory Team
"Simon Samurai" by Tipsy & Tipsy
"Boom Boom Dollars" by King Kong & D. Jungle Girls

Delta: Usually drops percussion during the breakdown while the singer sings the first verse and bridge again. Synths are typically very "harsh"-sounding, and bass is relatively low depending on the producer of each track.

Notable Delta songs:
"Night Of Fire" by Niko
"Yesterday" by Cherry
"Speedway" by Niko
"Running In the 90's" by Max Coveri

Hi-NRG Attack: As with Delta, percussion usually drops during the breakdown. The thing with this label is that it's known for its relatively "quirky" lyrics and rhythm, with lyrical subjects such as cows, Russia, getting drunk, and various weaponry. Synths are known to be very wild, sometimes playing a different note at every 1/4 beat.

Notable Hi-NRG Attack songs:
"Velfarre 2000" by Bazooka Girl
"Bandolero Comanchero" by Franz Tornado
"Caballero With Sombrero" by Franz Tornado & Bazooka Girl
"Foxy Lady" by Jeff Driller

Time: The interesting thing about Time is that most of the label's music includes a very long Intro and typically ends with a fade-out of the synth instead of an outro (which most labels don't do too often). To many, their synth can either be very intense, or can be a rather subtle, somewhat duplicated synth from previous songs. The outro of the song usually ends with a "fade-out" of the synth. This is still not unsure if it's the label's choice or AVEX.

Notable Time songs:
"Dark In The Night" by Maio & Co.
"Melodies of Love" by Helena
"Always on My Mind" by Lou Grant

Vibration: This label can surprise you. Sometimes they'll put in a simple percussion drop during the breakdown, and sometimes there is a very intense guitar solo or even new lyrics. Very unpredictable. Also goes under "LED Records" and "Eurobeat Masters", depending on to whom they are licensing.

Notable Vibration songs:
"Harmony" by Regina
"Poison" by Elisa
"Million Dollars" by Max Ducati
"Hot Limit" by John Desire

SCP Music: SCP almost always follows A Beat C's formula. Rarely is there ever a percussion drop, but instead you can find a guitar solo or "ad-libbing" of lyrics or synthesizers.

Notable SCP songs:
"Not For Sale" by Go 2
"Big on Emotion" by Lisa Lion
"Easy Busy" by Kiki & Kika
"Fantasista" by Ace

Popular Eurobeat artists

Eurobeat compilations

There are many Eurobeat compilations series, the most famous (and longest running) are Super Eurobeat and the various "Super Eurobeat presents..." compilations by Avex Trax. Other notable compilations include:

*Aerobeat Eurobeat
*EuroPanic!
*Eurobeat Disney
*Eurobeat Flash
*Gazen ParaPara!!
*LovePara²
*Maharaja Night
*ParaPara Paradise
*Super Euro Best
*Super Euro Christmas
*That's Eurobeat
*The Early Days of SEB
*Tokio Hot Nights
*VIP Mega Euro Star

Eurobeat labels

* [http://www.rodgersmusic.com A-Beat C / Rodgers Music]
* [http://www.newfield.it Akyrmusic] (Defunct label Run by Laurent Newfield and includes Vocal Trance projects such as [http://www.nrelement.com/ nR Element] from California.)
* [http://www.myspace.com/deltadance Delta]
* [http://www.dimamusic.net Dima Music]
* [http://www.farm-records.com Farm Records]
* [http://www.gogosmusic.it GoGo's Music]
* [http://www.livemusicstudio.com Hi NRG Attack]
* [http://www.ledrecords.it LED Records] (Includes Vibration, Eurobeat Masters)
* [http://www.saifam.com The S.A.I.F.A.M. Group] (Includes Boom Boom Beat, Asia Records, etc.)
* [http://www.scp-music.com SCP Music]
* [http://www.sinclairestyle.net Sinclaire Style]
* [http://www.timerec.it Time Records]

External links

* [http://www.avexnet.or.jp/eurobeat Avex Japan Eurobeat] - Official web site for Super Eurobeat.
* [http://www.eurobeat-prime.com Eurobeat Prime] - Extensive Eurobeat information and database.
* [http://www.nrgexpress.com NRG Express] - Eurobeat information from Japan.
* [http://www.eurobeat.org Eurobeat.org] - Eurobeat forums and info.
* [http://www.eurobeatevolution.com/ Eurobeat Evolution] - Outdated Eurobeat website.
* [http://www.paraparastage.com ParaParaStage.com] ParaPara/Eurobeat Forums
* [http://www.eurobeat.se Eurobeat.se] - Some Eurobeat and Eurodance samples.
* [http://www.eurobeat-Italia.net Eurobeat-Italia] - Italian Eurobeat Website with its own [http://www.eurobeat-Italia.net/wiki.html Forum] .
* [http://www.eurobeat.cl Eurobeat.cl] - Chilean web site for Eurobeat and Eurodance.
* [http://www.lentoviolento.eu] - Lento Violento site


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