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Hardcore Techno

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Title: Hardcore Techno  
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Hardcore Techno

Stylistic origins Techno, acid house, new beat, EBM, industrial
Cultural origins Late 1980s;Netherlands
Typical instruments Keyboard, synthesizer, drum machine, sequencer, sampler, bitcrusher
Derivative forms Happy hardcore, gabber
Breakbeat hardcore, Makina, UK hardcore, mainstream happy hardcore, freedom hardcore, trancecore, hardcore breaks, early hardcore, mainstream hardcore, darkcore, industrial hardcore, breakcore, speedcore, terrorcore, Frenchcore
Fusion genres
Digital hardcore, breakcore, cybergrind, happy hardcore, dubcore, jumpstyle, hardstyle, dubstyle, crossbreed

Hardcore or hardcore techno is a type of electronic dance music typified by the rhythmic use of distorted and industrial-like beats and samples. The tempo of various kinds of hardcore ranges from about 95 beats per minute (Belgian "New Beat" and rave/techno), to over 300 bpm ("speedcore"), with the more popular styles ranging from about 150 bpm to 200 bpm..


The origins of hardcore emerged in the late 1980s. It largely derived from the combining of techno with EBM and new beat sounds coming from the Belgian club scene at the time. A number of artists such as Leather Strip began to call their music Hardcore Techno.[1][2] à;GRUMH...'s "Sucking Energy (Hard Core Mix)", released in 1985, was the first track ever to use the term hardcore, within an EDM context. The origins of the name are largely rooted in this scene, although hardcore also regularly incorporated elements of house into its sound.

In the early 1990s, the hardcore sound began to introduce sped up hip-hop breakbeats, piano breaks, dub and low frequency basslines and cartoon-like noises, which has been retrospectively called 'old skool' hardcore, and is widely regarded as the progenitor of happy hardcore (which later lost the breakbeats) and jungle (which alternatively lost the techno style keyboard stabs and piano breaks).

Around 1993, the style became clearly defined and was simply named hardcore, as it left its influences of the techno of Detroit.[3]

Production techniques

Hardcore is usually composed using music sequencers, and many earlier tracks were produced on home computers with module tracker software. Some examples of the software used are FL Studio, Ableton Live, Cubase, Logic, Nuendo and Reason. The wide availability of computers, combined with the absence of financial remuneration, means that many hardcore musicians write for their own enjoyment and the pleasure of innovation.


Hardcore spawned several subgenres and derivative styles, including:

  • Breakbeat hardcore (often referred to as 'old skool' hardcore) - This retrospective term is usually reserved for tracks produced in the early 1990s, a large period of growth for the UK rave scene. These tracks are characterized by piano sections, bouncy basslines, breakbeats, and high-pitched vocals.
  • Breakcore - Uses distorted, fragmented breakbeats and sampling to create a hectic effect. This is usually achieved by using a large number of off-beats, ranging from 4/8ths to 4/32nds.
  • Darkcore (Not to be confused with darkcore jungle) - Broad categorical description characterized by elements of breakbeat, hardcore, and dark musical themes. Emerged in response to the happy party sound of UK hardcore.
  • Digital Hardcore - Hardcore punk/hardcore techno fusion. Closely related to hardcore punk music.
  • Freeform Hardcore - Sub genre of UK hardcore with strong influence of trance, mainly instrumental.
  • Frenchcore (or Tribalcore) - Originated in the French rave scene of the early 1990s. Involves the re-creation of a distorted bass drum sound with a synthesizer. It is also considered a type of free tekno.[4] Frenchcore achieved wider recognition in 1998 with the release of Micropoint's first album Neurophonie.
  • Hardcore breaks (a.k.a. nu rave) - A genre written in the style of breakbeat hardcore and produced using modern technology and production techniques.
  • Gabber
  • Happy hardcore - Form of dance music known for its high tempos, usually around 165-180 bpm, often coupled with male or female vocals and sentimental lyrics. Popular in the UK, Australia and Spain, amongst other countries.
  • Industrial hardcore - A form of hardcore that was primarily influenced by notable French producers such as La Peste, Joshua, Laurent Ho, NKJE, Micropoint, Speedy Q, Armaguet Nad, Taciturne and producers from the UK, such as Dj Freak, UK Skullfuck and Pressurehead. The beats were typically hard, but often the industrial factory "organised chaos" sounds layered on the bass were more prominent than the bass itself in comparison to a speedcore track from Noize Creator's Brutal Chud label. The speed could typically range from 160 bpm to 350 bpm, but the usual set was played at 220 bpm.
  • Makina - Fast electronic dance music from Spain, fairly similar to happy hardcore.
  • Speedcore (Not to be confused with thrashcore or speed metal) - Subgenre of gabber, distinguished by very fast tempos (300 bpm to 500-600 bpm), infused with heavily distorted percussion and aggressive themes.
    • Splittercore — Microgenre of speedcore, usually 700-800 bpm.
    • Extratone — Applied when the tempo exceeds 1000 bpm; the individual beats can no longer be distinguished and are perceived as audio tones.
  • Terrorcore - Faster, darker form of gabber with highly aggressive themes.
  • UK hardcore - Modern adaptation of happy hardcore, distinguishable from its predecessor by a style that is less "happy" and features harsher sounds such as saw leadlines.

Notable producers

See also


External links

  • "Classic Hardcore Glossary" – Various sounds/instruments used in the production of hardcore are explained
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