Monday, September 8, 2014

Genre Research Project 65/1360: Breakcore


Breakcore or noisecore is a style of electronic dance music largely influenced by hardcore, jungle, digital hardcore and industrial music that is characterized by its use of heavy kick drums, breaks and a wide palette of sampling sources, played at high tempos.

The most defining characteristic of breakcore is the drum work, which is often based on the manipulation of the Amen break and other classic jungle and hip-hop breaks, at high BPM. The techniques applied to achieve this differs from musician to musician, some preferring to cut up and rearrange the breaks, while others merely distort and loop breaks or apply various effects such as delay and chorus to alter the break's timbre.

Melodically, there is nothing that defines breakcore. Classic rave sounds such as Acid bass lines, Hoovers and Reese bass are common, but breakcore is mostly known for sampling sounds from all over the musical spectrum to accommodate the frantic and fast paced nature of the rhythm section. Around the turn of the century, more and more breakcore musicians began employing traditional synthesis techniques to compose elaborate melodies and harmonies. There are a growing number of musicians who make use of recorded live instrumentation in their music, such as Istari Lasterfahrer, Hecate, Benn Jordan, Q√ľatros and Venetian Snares.

According to Simon Reynolds of The New York Times, breakcore is "purveyed by artists like DJ/Rupture and Teamshadetek, the music combines rumbling bass lines, fidgety beats and grainy ragga vocals to create a home-listening surrogate for the bashment vibe of a Jamaican sound system party. Others within the breakcore genre, like Knifehandchop, Kid 606 and Soundmurderer, hark back to rave's own early days, their music evoking the rowdy fervor of a time when huge crowds flailed their limbs to a barrage of abstract noise and convulsive rhythm. It's a poignant aural mirage of a time when techno music was made for the popular vanguard rather than a connoisseurial elite, as it is today."

One of the most controversial issues in breakcore is that of the mere existence of the genre. Because it pulls liberally from other musical genres, there is not a consensus on what is and what is not breakcore, or even over the usefulness of the term itself.

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