Top one, nice one, get sorted. The best of Breakbeat Hardcore— Si Sharp, Nick Clarkson -
We’ve recently been treated to Jeremy Deller’s Everybody in the Place which told us the story of the birth of the British dance scene through the prism of social and political upheaval. A couple of years back we also had The Agony and the Ecstacy, which was, despite Goldie’s clowning and an unimaginatively canon approach, a pretty decent and complete study of the period.
However amidst all the talk of Ibiza and the Criminal Justice Act, not much attention is paid to the actual music of the rave period of 1991 to 1994. Rave (or hardcore as it is confusingly called) was arguably the first time British dance music really found its own sound. It was when it moved away from the Detroit techno 808s that soundtracked the second summer of love. As we’ve said before here, the UK lost their shit over US hip hop. Admittedly it made our hip hop a little samey, but it transformed rock and dance, especially gangster rap and the Bomb Squad’s production. The UK threw all the great American innovations of the 80s into the blender and came out with something as positive as house, as danceable as techno and as dangerous as hip hop.
Like so many underground art forms before it, it didn’t take long for the money to ruin it all, as The Prodigy’s Charly got mimicked by a load of quick buck producers putting speeded up breakbeats behind kids’ TV theme tunes. But lest we forget, it also went on to to for the foundations of happy hardcore, big beat, breaks and of course, jungle, the progenitor of drum and bass, this country’s most enduring form of homegrown dance music.
So let’s celebrate the only era where it was actually the good guys wearing white clothing and hooded tops. Take a blast on that vicks, throw your arms up and shout “CHOOOOON” into the night.