Breakbeat hardcore

Breakbeat hardcore (also referred to as hardcore rave or oldskool hardcore) is a music genre of the very early 1990s that spawned from the UK rave scene. It combines four-on-the-floor rhythms with breakbeats usually sampled from hip hop. In addition to the inclusion of breakbeats, the genre also features shuffled drum machine patterns, hoover and other noises originating from new beat, acid house squelches and bleeps, and often upbeat house piano riffs and vocals.[1]


Early 1990s: originsEdit

Fantazia Summertime rave, May 1992

The rave scene expanded rapidly in the very early 1990s, both at clubs up and down the country including Labrynth, Shelley's Laserdome, The Eclipse, and Sanctuary Music Arena, and large raves in warehouses and in the open air attracting 20–50,000 whether put on legally from promoters such as Fantazia and Raindance, or unlicensed by free party sound systems such as Spiral Tribe. Breakbeat hardcore drew its melting pot of sound from a vast array of influences - from the Belgian new beat sound that had for a short period been prominent in the UK rave scene, to house and acid house, and furthermore drawing on hip hop and reggae culture.[2][3]

Mid-1990s: fragmentationEdit

By late 1992, breakbeat hardcore started to fragment into a number of subsequent genres: darkcore (piano rolls giving way to dark-themed samples and stabs), hardcore jungle (where reggae basslines and samples became prominent), and happy hardcore (retaining piano rolls and more uplifting vocals).[4]

2000s: revivalEdit

In the 2000s, the style experienced a revival as part of the nu-rave scene.

Hardcore breaks is a style of breakbeat hardcore that appeared in early-to-mid 2000s as part of growing nu-rave scene. The style is inspired by the sound and characteristics of old school breakbeat, while being fused with modern production techniques that distinguish the genre from the classic hardcore breakbeat sound.[5] The music is composed of from looped, edited and processed breakbeat samples, intense bassline sounds, melodic piano lines, staccato synthesizer riffs, and various vocal samples (mostly taken from old house records). The speed of this genre typically fell between the range of 145-155 bpm, while the speed may variate on live sets. Originally being produced by a small group of artists with the vision of carrying on where oldskool hardcore left off before the jungle and happy hardcore split using new production techniques and technology, its appeal has now expanded to include artists from the original breakbeat hardcore scene creating new productions.[6] By the late 2000s, hardcore breaks tend to be produced and played at a bit faster tempos, often between 160-180 bpm. Therefore, it is often played at UK hardcore, freeform hardcore and drum and bass events.

Notable releasesEdit

Notable releases include:[7][8][9][10][11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Reynolds, Simon (1998). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Picador. 1990 also saw the genesis of a distinctively British rave sound, 'hard core', which decisively broke with the mould of Detroit and Chicago, and ended the dependency on American imports. By 1991 this underground sound - actually a confederacy of hybrid genres and regional styles - was assaulting the mainstream pop charts.
  2. ^ Reynolds, Simon (1998). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Picador. Influenced by reggae and hip hop, hardcore producers intensified the sub-bass frequencies, used looped breakbeats to funk up house's four-to-the-floor machine-beat, and embraced sampling with deranged glee. Following the lead of the bombastic Belgians and Germans, UK producers deployed riff-like 'stabs' and bursts of glaring noise.
  3. ^ Reynolds, Simon (1998). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Picador. Between 1990 and 1993, hardcore in Britain referred by turns to the Northern bleep-and-bass sound of Warp and Unique 3, to the hip-house and ragga-techno sounds of the Shut Up And Dance label, to the anthemic pop-rave of acts like N-Joi and Shades of Rhythm, to Belgian and German brutalist techno, and, finally to the breakbeat-driven furore of hardcore jungle.
  4. ^ Reynolds, Simon (1998). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Picador. Back in 1993, when hardcore plunged into the 'darkside', a breakaway faction of DJ-producers like Seduction, Vibes and Slipmatt continued to make celebratory, upful tunes based around hectic breakbeats. By the end of 1994, happy hardcore had coalesced into a scene that operated in parallel with its estranged cousin, jungle.
  5. ^ "Lone Resists the Rave Revivalist Title on "Levitate"". Bandcamp Daily. 2016-07-20. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  6. ^ "Calling The Hardcore release first compilation". BN1 Magazine. 2018-10-24. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  7. ^ "20 best: Hardcore records ever made". FACTmag. 3 June 2012.
  8. ^ "The 10 best rave tracks, according to 2 Bad Mice". Dummy Mag. 2 June 2016.
  9. ^ "The 50 greatest rave anthems of all time". Four Four.
  10. ^ "10 great lost rave anthems". RBMA. 23 May 2019.
  11. ^ "10 ultimate rave anthems chosen by acid house heroes Altern-8". DJMag. 24 August 2018.

Further readingEdit