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Breakbeat hardcore (also called oldschool rave hardcore) is a genre of hardcore music of the late 1980s and early 1990s that combines four-on-the-floor rhythms with breakbeats, and is associated with the UK rave scene. In addition to the including of breakbeats, the genre also features shuffled drum machine patterns, upbeat piano rolls and old-school hoover sounds.

Rave sceneEdit

The scene was driven around the M25 motorway (London's orbital motorway), and its audience was mainly urban teenagers and lower middle-class suburban teenagers with cars. The scene expanded rapidly in 1991, with large raves of 30–50,000 people attending in open air venues around England, put on by Spiral Tribe and other free party sound systems held at locations up and down the length of England. The late 1980s house music raves such as Sunrise UK spawned the idea of holding huge parties rather than hosting more intimate parties at small clubs. The breakbeat hardcore raves modeled their events after these early raves.

Effect and fragmentationEdit

In the early years, the underground sound became more mainstream. Even without radio play, many hybrid and regional styles made their way into Top 20 charts. However, during the early 1990s, the three main subdivisions of this underground rave movement were primarily either "house" "techno" and New beat (often used interchangeably or vaguely used to define a multitude of subgenres of house music) or "breakbeat hardcore". In approximately 1993, the latter scene fragmented, and forked off into two distinct styles—jungle music (later giving rise to drum and bass) and 4-beat (alternatively known as happy hardcore). This split was evident at the early Roast events. Roast was England's largest most respected original jungle promoter. The promoters of Roast referred to it as the house scene branching off and going in their own direction, not accepting the new jungle sound (which largely dropped the 4-on-the-floor house kick drum). Jungle's sound was more focused on basslines, often with jazz-like undertones, while 4-beat retained the rave synths, the 4/4 kickdrum and happier piano elements. By 1996, most 4-beat had dropped its breakbeats (in part due to bouncy techno), while drum and bass had long dropped the techno style synth stabs, further separating the two styles. The almost independent evolution of styles created distinct sounds of "bleep and bass", brutalist techno, hardcore jungle, pop-rave, UK garage, and ragga-techno sounds.

Selected informationEdit

Record labelsEdit

It is worth noting that many of these (most notably Moving Shadow) went on to release jungle and even later drum and bass as those genres began to rise and breakbeat hardcore began to decline.

Notable releasesEdit

  • 4hero - "Cookin Up Yah Brain" (Reinforced Records, RIVET 1216, 1992)
  • Acen – "Trip to the Moon" (Production House Records, PNT 42, 1992)
  • Altern-8 – "Frequency" (Network Records, NWKTR 34, 1991)
  • Awesome 3 – "Don't Go" (Entity Records, 1992)
  • Baby D – "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" (Production House, 1992)
  • Blame – Music Takes You (2 Bad Mice Remix) (Moving Shadow, 1992)
  • DJ Krome & Mr. Time – "The Slammer" (Suburban Base, SUBBASE 26, 1993)
  • DJ Red Alert & Mike Slammer – "In Effect" (Slammin' Vinyl, 1993)
  • DJ Seduction – "Hardcore Heaven" (FFrreedom, TABX 103, 1992)
  • Foul Play – "Finest Illusion" (Section 5, 1993)
  • Fat Controller – "In Complete Darkness" (Uphoria Records – UPHORIA 001, 1993)
  • Harmony & Xtreme — "Come On And Treat/Music" (Lucky Spin 07, 1993)
  • Joint Project – "Total Feeling" (Soapbar Records 001, 1992)
  • Liquid"Sweet Harmony" (XL Recordings, XLT 28, 1992)
  • Lords of Acid – "Lust" (Antler Subway Records, 1991)
  • Manix – "Oblivion (Head in the Clouds)" (Reinforced Records, RIVET 1212, 1991)
  • Nebula II – "Seance/Atheama" (Reinforced Records, RIVET 1211, 1991)
  • N-TranceSet You Free (1992)
  • The Charm - "De-men-tation" (Bass Overdose E.P. Bass Overdose Records, 1991)
  • The ProdigyExperience (XL Recordings, XLCD 110, 1992)
  • The Scientist – "The Exorcist" (Kickin Records, KICK 001, 1990)
  • Shades of Rhythm – "Shades Of Rhythm" (ZTT Records, 1991)
  • Shut Up and Dance – "The Green Man" (SUAD Records, 1991), Raving I'm Raving (1992)
  • SL2 – "DJ's Take Control" (Awesome Records, SL002, 1991)
  • Sonz of a Loop Da Loop Era – "Far Out" (Suburban Base, SUBBASE 008, 1991)
  • Tekno Too – "Jet-Star" (d-zone, DANCE 12/DANCE CD12/DANCE 12R, 1991)
  • The Criminal Minds - "Baptised By Dub" (White House, 1992)
  • Urban Hype – "A Trip to Trumpton" (Faze 2, 1992)
  • Wax Doctor – "A New Direction" (Jack Smooth, Basement Records, BRSS 0011, 1992)

See alsoEdit



  • Simon Reynolds' Energy Flash: a Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture (ISBN 0-330-35056-0)
  • Simon Reynolds' Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture (ISBN 0-415-92373-5)
  • Chris Sharp, Jungle: Modern States of Mind, Modulations, ch. 8 pgs. 130-155