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Thread: Endless Rush: UK Hardcore 1992-1994

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    Default Endless Rush: UK Hardcore 1992-1994

    Hey Dissensus,

    Dubstep has gotten me thinking about hardcore lately. Cluekid and LD are doing these retro-themed tracks, Tubby from Newham Generals did a 1994 jungle set for his Rinse show a few weeks ago, and even the BPMs are starting to converge. As Dubstep creeps into the mid-140s, suddenly 155 bpm hardcore records are looking compatible.

    All of this has prompted me to go back to my UK hardcore roots. This is the music that got me started as a deejay. When my high school classmates were listening to Guns N Roses, House of Pain, U2, or Boyz II Men, I would play some Nebula II for them and give them a good scare. I borrowed $500 to buy decks at age 15 and was playing out as soon as I could. I followed as hardcore became jungle, and jungle became DnB, and DnB became dreck, but I digress.

    Now I listen to Rinse FM all day long and covet dubs and fantasize about making beats. Dubstep has plunged me back into the same musical mindset I inhabited in high school. So I thought it was high time to touch the old vinyl again, and really get back to my hardcore roots.

    I've made a mix that I'm calling Endless Rush - UK Hardcore 1992-1994, and if you're interested in a little retro, please check it out. It's on my site at http://musicfornightclubs.com

    The experience of making this mix has been wonderful, but also cathartic and cautionary. Hearing the technology of those old tunes (chipmunk vocals, no atmosphere, raw sound quality) makes me admire the way software has changed what's available to today's average raver. But at the same time, where is the substance in music that is fueled by novelty, constant innovation, and exclusivity?

    Are there any of us here who have never heard UK hardcore before? How does it sound to you?

    To those of you who were there, what did hardcore mean to you then, and what does it signify to you now? How does it sound 15 years on?
    Last edited by aaron_shinn; 03-02-2009 at 10:31 PM.

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    Wow guys.

    I guess all the discussion on the Reynolds 'nuum thread tapped you out. Seriously though, I'm really interested in personal stories about hardcore. Particularly from the people that weren't around to hear it in 92.

    We don't need to culturally situate hardcore - tell us how it SOUNDS to ya?

    Do you actually enjoy listening to this stuff, or is it more of an academic, detached listen - edifying but not stirring?

    Would you put hardcore into the music-cred-building or music-cred-destroying category?

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    itd be hard to find someone hear who didn't love this stuff to the bone. its pretty much a given.

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    It's time to brrriiing onnn the russshhh.

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    I liked the mix! thanks

    this is one style that never really made it over here (ok, to a very small underground, but I was too young, all into metal and stoner rock at the time), so I only got familiar with London 'ardcore during my big Jungle/DnB phase. I remember it being treated by some very serious Junglists as the Roots. If anything though, i remember more Candy-Kid Happy Hardcore fans talking about it with any real reverence (whoaaa ourr HISTORRYYYY!!).

    I'm always hoping I'll happen across a record in a used bin some day. Alas, it never happens. I'm thinking that anyone out here in California that would be familiar with the stuff wouldn't dare part with the records.


    Oh but this music is totally cred-destroying I think.

    I kid, I'm always impressed when anyone out here even knows what it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    itd be hard to find someone hear who didn't love this stuff to the bone. its pretty much a given.
    I agree, nice mix but it's been revered many a time. Some of my favourite bits of old vinyl are from that era, The wild inspiration of the tracks and the meeting of dancefloors with the new technology is incredible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tentative Andy View Post
    It's time to brrriiing onnn the russshhh.
    I'd like to apolgise for what is, no matter which way you slice it, a mindless spam response. Blame tiredness/boredom combo I guess.
    Xenophobia are still great though. Well, the two tunes I know by them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post

    Oh but this music is totally cred-destroying I think.

    I kid, I'm always impressed when anyone out here even knows what it is.
    I think that there is a certain amount of cache in knowing what it is - but your joke also reminds me think of the faces some of my friends have pulled when I've played this stuff for them. Kind of a 'thanks but no thanks' look... But then again those people are into 'serious music', and maybe ardkore is still a bit unfashionable for them.

    But that may change one day... I'm remembering how funk / soul records were the most highly-prized fashionable collector's music in the late 90s and early 00s. Then all the good records ended up on eBay and nobody could afford them. Now disco has become competitive and fashionable to collect... Is ardkore set for a revival in five or ten years?

    I'm not holding my breath, but it's a great fantasy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tentative Andy View Post
    I'd like to apolgise for what is, no matter which way you slice it, a mindless spam response. Blame tiredness/boredom combo I guess.
    Xenophobia are still great though. Well, the two tunes I know by them.
    No apologies necessary. You were MCing there! That's what the mix really lacks for me. I need a wicked MC for the next one. And for my dubstep sets as well! And also if I ever get my jungle records out again. But I have a feeling that I'd have a hard time finding a good MC in San Francisco...

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    Quote Originally Posted by wonk_vitesse View Post
    I agree, nice mix but it's been revered many a time. Some of my favourite bits of old vinyl are from that era, The wild inspiration of the tracks and the meeting of dancefloors with the new technology is incredible.
    I see what you and Luka mean. I'm probably not tracking dissensus closely enough to realize how hardcore you guys truly are. In any case I'm glad I found you lot. You're my support group!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    If anything though, i remember more Candy-Kid Happy Hardcore fans talking about it with any real reverence (whoaaa ourr HISTORRYYYY!!).
    BTW this is a scary scary image. I can imagine the glowsticks, candy bracelets, fur boots, hello-kitty backpacks, visors and pacifiers now... Happy hardcore is a strange beast isn't it? But then again, after the great happy-hardcore / darkcore split, I chose the dark side, so maybe I just don't understand it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aaron_shinn View Post
    your joke also reminds me think of the faces some of my friends have pulled when I've played this stuff for them. Kind of a 'thanks but no thanks' look... But then again those people are into 'serious music', and maybe ardkore is still a bit unfashionable for them.

    But that may change one day... I'm remembering how funk / soul records were the most highly-prized fashionable collector's music in the late 90s and early 00s. Then all the good records ended up on eBay and nobody could afford them. Now disco has become competitive and fashionable to collect... Is ardkore set for a revival in five or ten years?

    I'm not holding my breath, but it's a great fantasy.
    I think maybe the only thing keeping the innovations of Hardcore/Nuum styles from being as revered and referenced as say, Kraut, Post Punk, Chicago House, Detroit Techno, whatever, is just that it hasn't been quite long enough yet for for its importance to sink in... maybe we need a few more years before everyone quite realizes just how ridiculously warped and innovative it was/is. Though the cartoonishness and working-class aspects probably aren't helping sell it to the average hipster either, but time will probably heal that. Honestly though, I've been surprised that the whole bass-science thing hasn't been adopted more, or even at all, in other genres.



    Quote Originally Posted by aaron_shinn View Post
    BTW this is a scary scary image. I can imagine the glowsticks, candy bracelets, fur boots, hello-kitty backpacks, visors and pacifiers now... Happy hardcore is a strange beast isn't it? But then again, after the great happy-hardcore / darkcore split, I chose the dark side, so maybe I just don't understand it.
    lol, yeah. I do have to admit... I kind of secretly like Happy Hardcore. It's like they got the most artificial-looking and dishonest advertisements, and mixed them with really kawaii Anime, and somehow spun it all into this really manic psychedelia that happens to totally work despite itself... or maybe it knows what it's doing, but people just don't take it seriously yet, because it doesn't take itself seriously. But candy kids are funny. The last one who mentioned London style 'Ardcore was this dj named Skittles, but he was alright, mentioning he liked the "dark" stuff as well, that it all goes back to the breakbeat Hardcore. Which impressed me, because a lot of the new-school ravers I meet here in Cali don't seem to know or care that Rave goes back beyond Stadium Trance and Hardstyle.
    Last edited by Chris; 07-02-2009 at 08:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    I think maybe the only thing keeping the innovations of Hardcore/Nuum styles from being as revered and referenced as say, Kraut, Post Punk, Chicago House, Detroit Techno, whatever, is just that it hasn't been quite long enough yet for for its importance to sink in... maybe we need a few more years before everyone quite realizes just how ridiculously warped and innovative it was/is. Though the cartoonishness and working-class aspects probably aren't helping sell it to the average hipster either, but time will probably heal that. Honestly though, I've been surprised that the whole bass-science thing hasn't been adopted more, or even at all, in other genres.
    I reckon ardkore and especially jungle is just too English (black & white English) for Americans. Jungle is just too alien to most people here - we don't have any corresponding tradition of beat science, the prevalence of Jamaican/West Indian culture (confined mostly to a few spots on the East Coast), etc. Plus everyone who would've been listening to jungle then & thus revering it now was instead listening to hip hop. And hipsters here revere the hell out of UGK, old Wu-Tang, etc. There's no aging junglist massive here.

    There are junglist scenes but they're all small and concentrated in big cities (LA, NY, SF, Atlanta maybe?, plus Murderbot's from Chicago I think), probably mostly of producers who moved there from other places. This isn't just true for jungle. Aside from mainstream commercial house/trance and whatever hipster dance fad is in (electroclash, "dance punk", blog house, mashups, ethnic bass music played by Diplo, etc.) electronic music has always had a fraction of the popularity here that it has in Europe. Yeah there's bigger (but not that big) deep house & techno scenes but those are both indigenous genres and purely dance music where jungle would have been competing with the behemoth of hip hop for the same audience.

    Krautrock & postpunk can be revered by hipsters cos they're still white guys w/gtrs. Weird white guys, some actually with synths, and in the latter case with a lot of black music influences, but white guys with gtrs nonetheless.

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    Yeah... you're probably right, especially considering the lame addiction to guitars here. It'd be unlikely for 'Ardcore (just its first incarnation I mean) to get noticed by hipsters, ravers, Techno/House-heads, also because we just don't tend to take notice of things that had only happened outside our borders, at least for a while.

    We do still have a dedicated if small DnB/Dubstep underground and rave scene, but the London Ardcore influence didn't make it over here until it had already become Jungle. So we just don't have that memory to get nostalgic for. Not that we don't have "Hardcore", but the word has a different significance here... if we say it to ravers they'd probably think Gabber, Happy Hardcore, Hardstyle, or Hard Techno, hipsters would probably think Hardcore Punk, and teens would probably think Post-Hardcore (Post-Hardcore being another loaded name, could mean anything from Noise-rock to Metalcore to Screamo).

    Still... I'm just thinking sooner or later, the London influence will just have to end up attaining it's own mythic status. It's innovations are just too undeniable and distinct. Most Americans probably wont give a shit, but sooner or later, I just can't imagine dance hipsters and the Wire-reading crowd here not talking about Jungle/London/Nuum the way they talk about Acid House or the Loft. It's already becoming a familiar enough reference point.. considering there's been Vice's coverage of Grime, the hype around Burial, and now 'wonky' producers who are really steeped in its influences. And y'know, hipsters be snobs... and if the East London influence gets more notice and cred, they'll probably want to know its history beyond just the entry-level Pendulum/Andy C/Bad Company stuff. Which would probably lead them to discovering Ardcore.
    Last edited by Chris; 08-02-2009 at 06:22 AM.

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    Interesting points. I think the remoteness of ardcore to hipsters is both geographic and temporal.

    I know I'm an outlier, but I am an American, and I bought all of those records in Columbus, Ohio. It's a college town in the midwest, certainly not a big city. And I played them at raves in Ohio and neighboring states. It was extremely underground then, and the few people who knew what was up were fairly close-knit. There was no popular or press support though. If you were in a shop that carried UK music mags, you might have seen Prodigy on the cover of Mixmag (I still remember the headline 'Did Prodigy Kill Rave?!?'), but that was the extent of the press, and 99.9% of people you'd meet had no idea that the music existed.

    Back to the hipsters though - I think of hipsters as being predominantly young. As in 18 to 28 or so, and as such, they would have been barely old enough to buy their own lunch in 1992, let alone import 12"s. They don't have a personal connection to ardkore, and they don't have any popular, ardkore-loving tastemakers to emulate, so the music remains lost to inattention.

    White guys with gtrs indeed. It's discouraging isn't it?

    Still, I think of the cult of Northern Soul at . Hipsters (the 1978 version?) dancing like mad to decades-old black music every weekend for years. That scene produced such a volume of passion for music that you can still see the ripples of it now. But in order for Wigan to be as big as it was, I'm sure that the scene started small, shepherded by a few true believers.

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