Now, you’ll have notice that most of my video review blog posts have been concerned with drum & bass, and whilst it’s true that most of my time is devoted to the jungle style, that is by no means my only musical inspiration. For as long as I’ve been into d&b, I’ve also been into UK Hardcore, and it’s myriad other forms, and I take them both as inspiration as equal measure. For despite their differing paths and varying current forms, I *still* can’t have one without the other. Call me old fashioned, call me outdated, call my what you will, I’m still a raver at heart, and I’m still as much HTID as I am Everyday Junglist. So this review will feature five huge hardcore hits, so get your raving shoes on and see what you think of these…
This is a beauty from start to finish. Mr Consistencies Brisk and Ham always deliver. Honestly, have you ever heard a B&H track you don’t like? I’ve not. Hardcore is often billed as an ’emotional’ musical form, and you know what? What’s wrong with that? This one gets me as it mixes Sara Jane’s highly emotive vocals with some absolutely tearing beats, and manages to keep everything it contains in a tightly mixed package. Music for a dance, without question, but also something more, perhaps? Music for the Next Generation.
Brisk & Ham – Fire & Flames
More from the same, and this one’s (perhaps) even better. Brisk and Ham manage to combine sheer musical progression with an undying sense of how to keep things hardcore. Perhaps its perspective gleaned from simultaneous work within the fields of hard dance/techno (Brisk as Stimulant DJs) and drum & bass (Ham as Hamilton), but it just seems to me that they consistently (there’s that word again) come up with the hardcore goods as good old B&H. This one, for which you NEED to also check the Haywire and Mikey Nu Foundation remix soon come, starts with a vocal section, to kick build, to fabulous drop. Coupled with a hard, driving beat/stab main part, ticks all the boxes for a rave anthem. And why not? That’s what we’re interested in, right? The rush, the vibe, the feeling.
And now for something completely different. Still within the same field, but an example of hardcore’s unstinting devotion to diversity. Borrowing from reggae thru drum & bass, this one kicks off using with a warped, shuddering skank, before rushing on to a bass-driven kick line, opening into crystal clear piano and vocals. Once again we are one-footin’, bouncing through a vaguely-90s-reminiscent section, before some hands-in-the-air synths. Al Storm is one of my very favourite producers, and here he teams up with old skool legends Bang, still producing on Al’s 24/7 Hardcore label. Something very different, very 2010, very good.
Not quite what you were expecting, eh? And neither’s this. Rave music has never been just about one thing, no matter what your preconceptions might be, and it has never been as diverse as it is now. This effort from London-via-Australia’s DJ Sc@r and Essex-via-Essex’s Steve Uplift, showcases this in no uncertain terms. A spooky science-fiction vocal sample takes us to a nervous, dark lead-in, before a nice recessed kick drum moves into an acidy main. Very handy as a betweeny in mixes, as this YT example illustrates well. Raw Elements is the label.