Breakbeat hardcore

From Academic Kids

Breakbeat hardcore (or rave) is a style of electronic music. It was an early 1990s offshoot of the Acid House scene of late 1980s Britain. It added a hip-hop influence with the addition of break beats, and increased the tempo. A strong reggae and ragga influence emerged in 1991/92, with Jamaican reggae samples used at normal speed layered on top of frenetic 150 to 170 bpm breakbeats. Example artists include Spiral Tribe, SL2 and the early Prodigy.

The scene revolved around the M25 motorway (London's orbital motorway), and its audience was mainly urban teenagers and lower middle-class suburban teenagers with cars. The audience was very much multi-cultural, with black and white influences resulting in a unique sound. The scene expanded rapidly in 1991, with large raves of 30 to 50,000 people attending in open air venues around England, put on by Spiral Tribe and other free party soundsystems held at numerous locations up and down the length of England.

The music itself very much reflected the scene's drugs of choice, Ecstasy, LSD and amphetamines, with its bombastic beats, manic synths, ear-piercing vocal shots and rumbling bass-lines. The music, although in retrospect poorly produced and amateur (part of its charm), was generally extrovert, uplifting, gritty and hypnotic. Uplifting piano riffs layered on top of frenetic breakbeats were one feature, which were juxtaposed alongside darker, grittier more techno like tracks.

The scene also spawned the idea of holding huge parties rather than small clubs.

Around 1994 the scene fragmented, and forked off into the more sophisticated sounds of Jungle (with its heavy black influences) and Drum and Bass (which, it could be argued, takes its cues from 1970s synth-based progressive rock - though it would be unlikely that practitioners of this style would admit this!).

During mid-late 1994, breakbeat hardcore re-emerged as happy hardcore or 4-beat which combined the manic synths with a faster, techno based beat, and happier, commercial tunes. By around 1996, most 4-beat had dropped the breakbeats, and most drum and bass had dropped the techno style synth stabs, leaving the two sounds almost entirely different.

Important breakbeat hardcore artists include Acen, Micky Finn, Nicky Blackmarket, Two Bad Mice, Nookie, Spiral Tribe

Nowadays, breakbeat hardcore is also referred to as old skool

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