Florida breaks, which may also be referred to as The Orlando Sound, Orlando breaks, or The Breaks, is a genre of breakbeat dance music that originated in the central region of the State of Florida, United States.[1] 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[2] and retains the hip-hop rhythms on which is based.[1] The Florida breakbeat style however is faster, more syncopated, and has a heavier and unrelenting bassline.[2] The beat frequently slows and breaks down complex beat patterns and then rebuilds.[2] The genre has been described as being easy to dance to while creating an uplifting, happy, or positive mood in the listener.[2]


Late 1980s – early 1990s

The unique Florida style was first encountered during the late '80s inside the historic Beacham Theatre in Orlando.[2] The breaks genre started to gain local popularity as a local underground music subculture developed during Orlando's Summer of Love era from roughly 1989 to 1992.[3][4] Eddie Pappa, influenced by nights spent at the Beacham, honed his skill at The Edge when it opened in 1992 and is considered a pioneer in the Breaks genre. It gained prominence state-wide in 1993. By mid-1993, Large events at the Edge helped launch the popularity of the Florida breaks elsewhere in the U.S. Europe began to take notice of Orlando's expanding culture.[5]

Mid 1990s popularity

External audio
audio icon Passion by K5 is an example of Florida Breaks, YouTube video
audio icon Nick Newton's - Planet Acid combines acid, electro, and breakbeat elements for a grittier Florida sound,
audio icon Set U Free by Planet Soul exemplifies the vocal and breakdown elements of Florida Breaks, YouTube video
audio icon Nick Newton's Orlando mix of Screamer the progressive style defined the Orlando Sound
audio icon Orlando Mix 96 Mixed Florida breaks, acid breaks from all over the state recorded live in Orlando

The Breaks strongly influenced other producers who mixed breakbeat with progressive, and trance. This mixture became known as "The Orlando Sound."[5] The sound gained acclaim and became wildly popular among DJs and club goers during the mid 1990s and was marketed internationally as "Orlando friendly."[2]

Nick Newton, an English breaks DJ and producer, called his 1996 record Orlando and the Orlando Sound was also referred to as Florida breaks.[5]

However, there did not seem to universal consensus on the exact elements that constituted the Florida Sound.[2] The genre's inspirational influences have created regional and preference variations of the Breaks within Florida that have made the genre more difficult to define. For example, the Orlando Sound of Central and Northern Florida were strongly influenced by new beat, trance and progressive house sounds. Producers in South Florida and Tampa kept with a deep house flavor or retained more of the funk and hip-hop influence of Miami's so-called "ghetto-bass" that evolved and is sometimes called the funky breaks.[2][6][7]

The genre received limited local radio play in Central Florida on radio stations WXXL (106.7 FM)[2] and on college radio WPRK (91.5 FM),[2] as well as WUCF (89.9 FM), WFIT (89.5 FM on Space Coast), and WMNF (88.5 FM in Tampa).[5]


The international and local popularity of Florida breaks peaked and began to wane in 2000.[2] However, the genre is still quite popular in Central Florida as well as among those who remember the era and the genres unique role in electronic music history.[1][4]

Early Florida breaks venues

AAHZ at the Beacham Theatre (Orlando),[1] The Edge (Orlando).[1] The Abyss (Orlando),[1] The Club at Firestone (Orlando),[2] The Beach Club (Orlando),[5] Icon (Orlando),[2] Simon's (Gainesville),[8] Marz (Cocoa Beach),[5] The Edge (Fort. Lauderdale),[8] and Masquerade (Tampa).[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Le-Huu, Bao (November 28, 2015). "AAHZ respects the breaks that made Orlando global, overdue propers for DJ Stylus (The Beacham)". Retrieved December 1, 2015. The AAHZ days, though absolutely foundational, were an elementary phase in the late '80s and early '90s that heavily featured European house sounds. But the breaks – a breakbeat subgenre braided of hip-hop, Miami bass and electro – was the Orlando sound, our original chapter and contribution to the EDM world. And when the breaks surged in the mid '90s, it was the Orlando dance scene at its apex, when we weren't just playing the leading sounds but making and exporting them. When it comes to breaks, the names that really jump out on this heavyweight lineup are Icey and Stylus, the two DJs who actually specialized in the style.{blog of Orlando Weekly's music column}
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Gettelman, Parry (February 9, 1997). "The Orlando Sound: Although Hard To Define, It's Hot Among Lovers Of Underground Dance Music". orlandosentinel.com. The Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  3. ^ Kelemen, Matt (September 2, 1998). "Wizards of Aahz: The Florida winter had ju..." orlandoweekly.com. The Orlando Weekly. Retrieved November 30, 2015. Collins could not be aware of it at the time, but those Saturday nights -- eventually known as "Aahz"-- would kick-start an underground culture and spawn countless DJ careers. Orlando would never be the same...By 1991-1992, Orlando experienced its own "summer of love" through the culture that sprang up around the weekend acid-house nights at the Beacham Theatre presided over by Collins and Dave Cannalte, and nurtured by Beacham promoter StaceBass...only New York, San Francisco and L.A. had similar scenes, and they were characterized by warehouse parties. Orlando had a headquarters in the heart of its downtown district...From then on the crowds would refer to the Beacham as "Aahz" no matter what the owners called it.
  4. ^ a b Moyer, Matthew (November 21, 2017). "Orlando lord of the dance Kimball Collins is serious about throwing a party". orlandoweekly.com. The Orlando Weekly. Retrieved September 23, 2019. The last thing on DJ and Orlando dance music linchpin Kimball Collins' mind back during the fabled Orlando Summer of Love in the early 1990s was that he would someday be responsible for preserving the legacy of Florida Breaks...Collins explains that this is...a celebration of an era when Orlando was ground zero for a new type of dance music, and a survey of how that music has changed over the years: "Florida, and Central Florida in particular, gravitated heavily to all types of genres that relied on a type of break-beat from electro, techno, freestyle, Miami bass to straight-up U.K. rave breaks. Those influences went on to develop what would soon become the signature 'Florida break-beat sound.' That explains [Orlando audiences'] love of breaks and why we are happy to do another...event celebrating this style"
  5. ^ a b c d e f Ferguson, Jason; Le-Huu, Bao (July 2, 2013). "Dance dance revolution". orlandoweekly.com. The Orlando Weekly. Retrieved July 28, 2016. The 1990s was formative in the electronic dance music awakening of America, and that fire-catching cultural momentum would vault Orlando to the vanguard of it all. As one of the premier global epicenters of the rave big bang, the city found itself on equal footing with not just New York or Los Angeles but also with the trailblazing U.K. scene (English breaks DJ-producer Nick Newton named his 1996 record Orlando), even siring its own sound (Florida breaks).
  6. ^ Gentile, Jessica (November 4, 2014). "Florida Breaks in the 1990s: Beats Get Sleazy in the Weirdo Armpit of America". thump.vice.com. VICE. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  7. ^ Ireland, David. "Electronic Music 101: What Are Breakbeats?". Magnetic Magazine. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  8. ^ a b c Gentile, Jessica (November 5, 2014). "The Essential Rave Nightclubs of Floridian History". thump.vice.com. VICE. Retrieved February 27, 2017.