BREAKCORE

Since the very beginning of the 90's producers in the UK used breakbeats rather than the 4/4 kickdrum as the rhythmic backbone of their tracks. In the rapid and stormy developments of the period, both strains developed harder and more experimental versions of their sounds.

A first wave of Breakcore (as it was already called then), primarily influenced by the 'Ardkore sound - sometimes copying, but usually transgressing it, and fused with the energy of the new industrial hardcore sound, emerged with releases from Force Inc./Riot Beats, White Breaks (PCP) and Pod, all Frankfurt-based labels, and DHR (based in Berlin and London) radicalising the new sounds coming from England.

A second wave may read like a response from South London, but from a new generation: The first Ambush, all releases on Amputate, Praxis 21, 24, 27... this was the early beginnings of the Hekate sound system and Zhark London (later Zhark International). Strong relations also existed with Audio Illusion and the Spiral Tribe hardcore renegades from Stormcore, forming a "sub-net" for independent distribution. The aim was to bypass the traditional channels not only of distribution, but also of all other mechanisms of the culture industry.

Everybody involved at this point was to a greater or lesser degree linked to the underground sound system culture, with a clear memory of the earlier rave scene and its adventurous spirit, and everybody was deeply dissatisfied with the way the whole of techno and rave culture on the one hand, as well as its underground antagonist, the free party scene, on the other hand were going.

While there was a consensus that the free party scene remained a form that was antagonistic, it seemed to have given up this position in most of its content, creating or succumbing to its own star systems and commercial mechanisms pushing the music itself into the background, at least as far as this music was trying to be innovative and radical.

Whether or not the free party scene was realistically a base for a cultural change by this point (I'm fast forwarding to the late 90's), the potential it still held was soon eroded by the extreme wave of repression that the scene saw itself faced with on the European continent as well as in North America, following the introduction of the 1994 Criminal Justice Act in the U.K. (which ironically spawned some of the developments on the continent as it forced British sound systems into exile). Another chapter of history that also still needs to be written.

Breakcore is a hybrid strategy rather than a style or genre. It draws its influences and sources from industrial hardcore, jungle/drum'n'bass and everything in between and neighbouring it, engaging in an alchemy of sounds, pillaging the rave culture and sharpening, radicalizing and intensifying it.