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Monday, 03 September 2012 10:39

Breakbeat Hardcore - Your Ultimate Guide

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To those already ‘in the know’, and, by equal measure, those who might love hardcore, but are looking for something a little different, the pulsing groove of the breakbeat hardcore sound either already is, or might just be, what is required.



Still very much an underground movement, but one which is exploring new avenues, breakbeat hardcore’s popularity is on the rise, both amongst hardcore fans, and also reaching out to new fans – offering, along with freeform, a new alternative .

Core presents a two-part special on breakbeat hardcore, exploring a little more about the sub-genre, looking at its history, and asking a few of the leading lights of the advancing scene about what drives them, and what they love about the breakbeat sound. And it is a sound of quality and diversity, encompassing many influences. If you are just catching on to the movement, we hope that the below will lead you to search for more, and become familiar with some of the amazing artists and music which is out there.

2012 has seen a glut of amazing breakbeat hardcore releases, and in part two we’ll discuss just a few of them here. We’ll look at a few singles and albums which are available now, and give you a guide to some of the places you can hear more.

Part 1: A History Of The Future

Breakbeat hardcore has its roots in the early 90s rave scene, and indeed breaks predominated in rave music between approximately 1990 and 1993 or so. Many rave classics were built around the breakbeat, notably Slipmatt’s seminal SMD series.  Hardcore has always been, and remains, an ever-changing scene, and, with the advent of influence from bouncy techno, breakbeats started to fade somewhat into the background. Happy hardcore took on a form which did not use breaks (in the main), and the ‘mainstream’ sound lost touch with the breakbeat-dominated music which had come before it. However, the breakbeat was always there in the background, and breaks sounds have been favoured by certain sections of the rave community right through the music’s development – it’s not simply that those who liked breaks went into darkside hardcore/jungle/d&b. The breakbeat scene, focussed around a few artists, such as the perennial Luna C and CLSM continued to exist, behind the advances in (what was to become) UK hardcore (UK etc) and drum & bass.

As Entity (http://www.facebook.com/DJEntityUK) explains; 

“(the scene) had a resurgence back in 2002 or so, when CLSM came onto the scene, and artists such as Reese, Ponder, Luna-C, Stargazer/Cube::Hard, Wizbit, Skampy, Mayhem, Darwin, Dave Skywalker, and so on kept producing it, and the number of artists that have started to produce breakbeat keeps on growing. Full credit to CLSM for sticking to his guns and putting all his weight behind breakbeat, as he's basically shown everyone that it is a credible platform. He's got a track in his store from Gammer - need I say any more?”

Whilst not wanting to ignore the related hardcore breaks/rave breaks sound of the mid-2000s and beyond, what I are focusing on here are the gains made in the last 12 months, with names like CLSM,  Skampy, Bustin and Entity and the new names who are bringing new vision and new vitality to breakbeat hardcore –  names like Gavin G, Strife II, and Karl Future.

As mentioned above, there are a number of clear Influences on the sound – namely old skool, the breaks themselves, hardcore in all of its many shades, drum & bass (especially liquid) and trance. Much of the breakbeat hardcore of the late 2000s and early 2010s take queues, sonically and musically, direct from the early 90s breakbeat sound. It does this both obviously and subconsciously. Whilst the breakbeat moulds and evolves as much as any other musical feature, the original feel and movement is never too far away. However, the modern breakbeat hardcore sound is a thing all of its own, and producers in 2012 are at the helm of the creation of something new. It takes cues from past, but crafts something new with them. Projects such as the Breaking Free album (http://www.breakingfreethealbum.com/)  ably demonstrates the music’s links to liquid drum & bass, a style breakbeat hardcore can be said to sit ‘next’ to on the electronic continuum and its ability to blend into d&b (both in terms of the music itself, in mixes and in terms of the  scene –which prides itself on its wide ranging, open minded vision). Breakbeat hardcore is laying the foundations of the future directly from both its past and other styles around it.

We chatted with some of the leading names in the current breakbeat hardcore scene, and who better to start with than Jon Doe from CLSM (http://www.clsm.net) . We started by asking him about his DJing and production history.

JD:  My DJing started off in ‘92, influenced by a lot of ‘91 hardcore which was very varied. Each beat was different in each tune. My influences are wide ranging, from old skool, through to trying new stuff out on synths. I am still learning new things, so I try and keep new music coming in and listening to new music as well, I love the tough snares used in modern music.

Core: Why do you think the breakbeat hardcore scene is so strong now?

JD: A year ago only a few people were releasing the music and the releases were few and far between. I got in touch with a lot of artists and encouraged them to put forward releases whilst also focussing the CLSM studio efforts on breakbeat. Most weeks last year the CLSM store released 3 new tracks per week, also doing a podcast every 4 weeks for the first few months. Soon other things were being announced such as the Breaking Free album. The release schedule was carefully matched up to alternate between the drum and bass edged stuff verses the rushy breakbeat sound. The release schedule being so busy and keeping the pressure up was hard work but worth it. This year the CLSM label has been releasing every week to all the major stores to take the sound further.

It has been successful as it is something different, varied and we are all doing it for the love of the music with no pressure and no politics.
Core: Bearing this in mind, where do you think the scene is going?

JD: There are more releases every week in the store. I like making the music and some other people do, it’s really simple and pretty unrestricted but I don't know what happens next.

In part two, we’ll also speak to DJ Bustin (http://www.facebook.com/LuckyBreaksRecordings) , Entity and Karl Future, and give you more information on some top releases.

Part 2: The Ways Forward

Following on from Part 1 of our breakbeat hardcore special, we speak to DJ Bustin, who told us how he got started in production:

“Wizbit talked to me about doing some production with Ponder and it was with Ponder that I wrote my first 6 tracks including Truffle Shuffle. I was also on Eruption FM that i met DJ Skampy and we agreed to meet up and have a bash at some remixing and things just clicked, tune after tune got signed and now here we are running Lucky Breaks.”

Bustin goes on:

“To me the scene has always been growing, sometimes faster than at other times but nevertheless hasn't taken a step back, Demo kind of kick started it with the Vital Elements label and for quite a while Luna-C carried the torch with a lot of the stuff that came out on KFA. These days however it’s a testament to that growth that we can't say that one DJ is carrying the music or one label is stand out dominant. There are now a multitude of labels and promoters promoting breakbeat hardcore and we're seeing more and more promoters booking DJs that play breakbeat hardcore, and it’s still growing."

Asked about how the scene is spreading, and what the next stage is, Bustin told us:

“I think it was massive when the Jon Doe re-opened the CLSM store focusing on breakbeat hardcore. Darwin is another DJ who has really pushed the sound both through production and DJing and he has helped to get it played on the dancefloors of some of the bigger raves in the UK.”

“I think the scene is going to and has to spread internationally, I have always said foreign dance markets seem more willing to embrace new styles of music. In the UK in can be harder to break down preconceptions of music. We've already been out to Belgium where we went down a storm and I think as the scene spreads Europe will become a breakbeat hardcore playground.”


We also spent some time with Karl Future (http://soundcloud.com/karlfuture), who has been producing/DJing for over a decade now:

“The scene has changed a lot since the ‘good old days’, around ‘95 onwards. I came in at a time when some tracks were breakbeats, some were big kicks, and some were a combination of the two. What I love about breakbeat hardcore, the diversity and freedom to be creative."

“I take influences from quite literally every genre I come across, and too many artists to mention. I guess what I do is drum and bass written from a hardcore perspective. I don’t really use hardcore sounds in my tracks, but I think 15 years of hardcore record buying, raving and music producing has made its mark on me and definitely influences my production style."

“At the moment I’m really enjoying Fracus and Darwin, Gavin G and Entity. One to look out for is definitely Strife II!!”

Entity (http://www.facebook.com/DJEntityUK)  takes up his own story:

“As a producer I became active back in 2005/2006. My first two notable tracks were 'Fallout' and 'Stargazer', both of which were breakbeat. 'Stargazer' (along with the Reese remix) against all my expectations totally exploded, and is arguably my most popular track to date. I've seen a club in Poland sing along to it, played an event in Canada named after it, and I've been told both in person and online by so many people how much that song means to them, and how many couples have said it's "our song", which means more to me than what I can put into words really.”

“Since then I've still kept producing breakbeat, but diversified into UK hardcore, freeform, big-kick and now 4-beat hardcore."


“I was signed to Hardcore Undergound three years ago (I think), and have featured on all of their compilation albums. I've played at various parties across the UK, spun in Poland twice, and had a mini-tour (of sorts) in Canada early last year. “



“I'd be here listing my influences all day: Nu Foundation, Ham, Justin Time, Force & Styles/Evolution, Hattrixx, CLSM, Luna-C, Ponder, Skampy, Bustin, Cube::Hard, Darwin, Fracus, StrifeII, Slipmatt, Eruption, Demo, Jonny L, John B etc. etc. etc. but I'd have to say my main inspiration is Omni Trio. “


“Stylistically? I like to think I'm fairly eclectic which is a good thing! I don't want to pigeon-hole myself really. I'm really happy that I've got my own "Sonic Signature", but I like to keep doing different things to keep things interesting."

“I wouldn't be surprised if BBHC tracks became more popular with the DnB crowd seeing as the lines between the two are practically blurred. It's pretty much only the name behind the track which stipulates which genre it falls into. My track with Chwhynny, 'Can You Hear The Silence', topped the Trackitdown DnB chart for 12 days, and some of Gavin G's stuff has featured on the popular YouTube channels Liquicity and MrSuicidesheep, so who knows? As for who to watch out for, if I had to pick one person, it would be StrifeII. He actually produces what I call "music". He's got a real talent, plus he has the right attitude too. He will quite happily upload a track that's rough around the edges, because he said that if he cleaned it up, then it would "take the passion you've put into a track straight back out of it", and I think that's commendable in today's age of super-clean mixdowns.”

We at Core would like to show you just some of the amazing music which is coming out of the breakbeat camp in 2012. We’ve selected a few recommendations for you as a way of illustrating the quality and diversity of today’s sound.

Gavin G – Afrika/Culture

http://www.hardcoreunderground.info/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=93&cntnt01origid=15&cntnt01returnid=40

Sky/Imagine

http://www.moas.co.uk/store/releases/sky
http://www.moas.co.uk/store/releases/imagine

Gavin G really is something a little bit special. His sound *is* breakbeat hardcore in 2012. His musicality and technical brilliance is something to behold, and all of his tracks are pure gold. If I had to pick one above the others, it would be Sky, which was the first of the new Gavin G tracks I heard. As much at home on drum & bass channels such as Liquicity, the pure emotion of ‘Sky’ will lift you off into another place. All of his catalogue is worth checking out, be in on Hardcore Underground Breaks or CLSM.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn5Dw-aS2qc

Lucky Breaks 1 – Capacitor/Off The Rails

http://www.beatport.com/release/__/927494

Both of these tracks are killers, and form the first release from the new incarnation of the Lucky Breaks label. Bustin and Skampy have remixed ‘Capacitor’ by former label boss Wizbit, and have backed it with ‘Off The Rails’, which has already been picked up for a number of forthcoming drum & bass compilations. The release is available via Beatport at the moment, with all other retailers being fulfilled very soon.

http://soundcloud.com/luckybreaksrecordings/lucky-breaks-clip-1

CLSM – I Will Wait (CLSM and Fracus & Darwin remixes)

http://www.beatport.com/release/i-will-wait/904070

Originally from 2011, I Will Wait has been reissued in a number of remixed forms, and we pick out the CLSM and Fracus & Darwin remixes. Each add a new dimension to the track, focussing on different elements, yet the original still shines through. CLSM is a legend in breakbeat hardcore circles, and he is still producing and performing at the top of his game. The CLSM store is your first port of call for quality breakbeat hardcore.

http://soundcloud.com/clsmstore/clsm-i-will-wait-clsm-remix

There’s just about time to tell you about some albums and new tracks to check out before we go. One of the definitive releases of the year so far has been Breaking Free The Album. Three mixes, from Ponder, Skampy and Luna-C, showcasing the finest in bbhc. Free, from http://www.breakingfreethealbum.com/

Although not a bbhc album in its entirety, the breakbeat work on Fracus & Darwin’s new album, Point Of No Return, is outstanding. The rest of the album’s not half bad either. Available from high street stores, find out more at http://www.hardcoreunderground.info/ponr/

You can check out new music from Gavin G here:

http://soundcloud.com/gaving/forthcoming-tracks-teaser

and Karl Future here:

http://soundcloud.com/karlfuture/karl-future-production

You can tune into breakbeat hardcore on line as well. DJ Bustin plays Wednesdays at 8pm on Nu-Rave (http://nu-raveradio.com/) and Sundays at 2pm on Eruption Worldwide (http://www.eruptionworldwide.co.uk/), and you can also catch DJ Skampy on the one and only Krafty Radio (http://kraftyradio.com/) Thursdays at 9pm. Your central hub for new breakbeat hardcore releases is the Breakbeat Hardcore Collective at:  http://www.youtube.com/user/bbhccollective

 

 

Read 3340 times Last modified on Monday, 03 September 2012 10:57

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Gideon Thomas

Senior Contributor

I am the Senior Contributor for Core as well as an independent writer, reviewer, and researcher. I currently contribute a range of websites and magazines, and I am a press agent and music reviewer for a selection of labels and bands. Please get in touch if you want to know more.

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