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Bouncy techno

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Bouncy techno

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Bouncy techno
Stylistic origins: Rave music (European Techno), Gabber
Cultural origins: 1992, Scotland, North East England and Northern Ireland

1994, Netherlands 1995, United Kingdom

Typical instruments: Synthesizer Drum machine Sequencer Keyboard Sampler
Mainstream popularity: Moderate in Scotland
Derivative forms: Trancecore (1994)
Happy hardcore (1995)
Makina (199?)
UK Hardcore (2000)
Subgenres
none
Other topics
Electronic musical instrument Computer music

Bouncy techno (also known as hardcore, techno or happy gabba - see terminology) is a rave hardcore dance music style circa 1992, mostly emanating from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Originally, it was influenced by the music found in the rave scene in the north of the United Kingdom (Scotland, North East England and Northern Ireland), where European (mostly from Belgium and Italy) produced techno music was widely played.

Seen as a combination of European techno-inspired riffs with faster toughened beats, this offbeat sounding music was highly popular in the north United Kingdom rave scene and soon, also in the Netherlands. Scottish artists released this music on Dutch record labels, with the Dutch - deeming it a more melodious variant of gabba - quickly producing similar sounding music in large quantities.

This music would later emerge to the remainder of the United Kingdom, specifically altering the English happy hardcore style away from its breakbeat origins. By the mid-1990s, much of the music in the rave scene would be a combination of bouncy techno and happy hardcore.

Contents

Characteristics

Bouncy Techno Anthems (Death Becomes Me, DBMTRCD21) Commercial CD release, 1995 Bouncy Techno Anthems (Death Becomes Me, DBMTRCD21) Commercial CD release, 1995

This was music designed for raves, by way of participation through dancing (likely bouncing) and generating crowd noise at key moments during these simple techno hook lines. The music would be "basic", with much of the components occurring on the off-beat, creating this distinct bouncy feel. Tracks would also sound primitively produced.

Typical characteristics for bouncy techno are for compositions to be around a tempo of 160 to 180 BPM (beats per minute) using a 4/4 signature of 4 cycle segments, where different elements would be gradually layered into the mix.

Drum instruments will be minimal, usually consisting of a hard bass drum, sharp open hi-hat, hand clap, on-beat snare drum, ride and a splash cymbal, using the like of DrumStation, SP-1200, or TR-909 machines. Kicks would either by straight or possibly with some distortion.

These would be arranged using a constant thumping kick with on beat snare, along with a tandem offbeat hi-hat, offbeat hand clap and essential offbeat bouncy techno stab. The stab is somewhat reminiscent of Rotterdam Termination Source - Poing! (Rotterdam Records, ROT 004, 1992). A quick drum roll would lead into the main hook part.

A single fat techno riff arpeggio of sucking or buzzing sounds was used as the hook for the track. This would usually be altered through time using resonance filters before hitting another bouncy segment. A second variance of the arpeggio likely occurs towards the remainder of the track.

Tracks would be either instrumental or perhaps use a short snappy sample, cut and repeated through various points of the track.

History

Overview

With the hotpot of different music in fluxing raves since the early 1990s, the north of the United Kingdom would prefer European produced techno music to be played. This was in contrast to the rave scene found in the south of the United Kingdom where their own emerging breakbeat hardcore style was being produced in great quantities. This division caused the scene in the north to differ musically from the south, thus evolve differently.

Scott Brown, one of the most prolific names on the world hardcore music scene, concurred in an interview on February 14, 2004, that "In the past a lot of DJs said that there was a definite musical divide between the north and the south [of the United Kingdom], the north preferring it a lot harder..." [1]

Excluding any southern based DJs occasionally playing in the north, the south based breakbeat style received little or no coverage on the radio or magazines dedicated to the Scottish rave scene. The few Scottish based breakbeat DJs found it very difficult to promote this music, even with Scottish ravers going to such extremes to shun them by way of petitions.

DJ Kid, the original Scottish breakbeat stalwart recalled the situation on his website, saying that "when trying to introduce the all new breakbeat sound to Scotland - nobody liked ANY of the records I played. [2] I constantly pushed the breakbeat sound whilst the other DJs played underground techno". [3] DJ Kid once stormed offstage at a Scottish rave during his breakbeat set when objects were thrown at him by disgruntled ravers.

Beginnings

Much like other rave across Europe, the ever growing northern United Kingdom rave scene created its own network of DJs and artists that played a certain brand of music, eventually carving out a unique sound akin to the particular tastes of its own listening audience.

During 1992, it was not uncommon to see DJs like Bass Generator, DJ ZBD and Tom Wilson playing a variety of techno music from mostly Belgium and Italy, along with the new native produced stuff from Scotland by bands including Ultra-Sonic, Suburban Delay and The Time Frequency. Artists from Belgium and Italy, like Praga Khan, Jade 4U and DJ Professor toured extensively at raves in Scotland.

New producers from Scotland influenced by the music played in the domain would soon emerge, most noticeably Scott Brown. Brown had formed Q-Tex and soon Bass X (a play on words with "basic"), with their Hardcore Disco (Shoop!, SHOOP 2, 1993) release considered to be amongst the first - if more quintessential sounding - bouncy techno releases.

This was a basic blend of very fast (for that time) techno riffs along with a characteristic - somewhat repetitive - offbeat bassline stab at stages. None the less, the track was hugely successful across the north of the United Kingdom and soon heralded many similar sounding tracks from Brown and other artists.

Amongst other emerging releases was Brown's co-worked Bass Reaction - Technophobia (Shoop!, SHOOP 8, 1993) release. The track proved very popular in the Netherlands scene, with DJ Paul Elstak citing it back then as his favourite of 1994. Technophobia would soon be relicensed in The Netherlands (Terror Traxx) and Italy (Do It Yourself Entertainment) that year to meet demands.

Asked for his proudest piece of production on August 11, 2004, Scott Brown answered, "I've made some important tracks which have helped create or change the scene in many ways, such as 'Technophobia' or 'Now Is The Time' which helped shape the Dutch and Scottish scenes for years." [4]

Having had a number of records out on different labels, Scott Brown would establish his own record label on January 1, 1994 - Evolution Records - based in Cumbernauld. Described as being dedicated to bouncy techno, other labels of his catering for this type of music would soon appear that year to keep up with the demands not only in the Scottish scene but outside too. Other record labels would release much material dedicated specifically to this sound, with it being exported far and wide.

Renowned record distributor Mo's Music Machine stated of the Shoop! record label (that released most of the earliest bouncy techno material) in 1996, "The 12 inch vinyl releases almost enjoy legendary status in Australia, The Netherlands and Germany. The Scottish Techno sound has reverberated around the World..." [5]

With this new scene in full swing, hiring the big named breakbeat hardcore playing DJs from the south of the United Kingdom was no longer needed as they were now playing music out of touch with the majority of the listening audience.

The Rezerection rave promotion - synonymous with the Scottish rave scene - concurs on their website that, "New Year's Eve 1993 proved to be a watershed event for Rezerection, as 1994 saw the demise of the traditional London style breakbeat sound favored by regular Rez DJs like Grooverider, SS and Seduction... as hard trance, bouncy techno and gabba dominated the Scottish scene." [6]

Growth

Netherlands

During this time, leading Dutch DJs such as Buzz Fuzz and Paul Elstak combined the Scottish records with their own Dutch gabba tracks at raves in the Netherlands such as Hellraiser and A Nightmare In Rotterdam. The boom for this type of music resulted in Scottish artists including Casio Brothers, Davie Forbes, Hyperact, Technosis, Ultimate Buzz and The Scotchman - who significantly was the debut release on Rotterdam's own Dwarf Records in 1994 - exported this sound on several Dutch based record labels. A number of tracks were relicensed on Dutch compilations.

By 1995, new Dutch labels such as Babyboom, Dwarf, Pengo, Forze Records and others produced much similar sounding material, combining it with gabba in different ways. By now, the Dutch DJs and artists were in-demand at Scottish raves, regularly appearing at events in the country.

Scott Brown collaborated with several leading Dutch and American producers including Paul Elstak, Omar Santana and Bass-D & King Matthew, and also released a number of tracks on their own native labels, leaving his influence on subsequent music emanating from the Netherlands.

DJ Smurf, one of the leading hardcore DJs who is listed in the Billboard music encyclopaedia concurs that, "Scotland created there own 'bouncy techno' sound by weakening down gabber kick drums and adding happier sounds. The Dutch soon followed suit, except they kept the kick drums hard and created 'happy gabber' which stayed around for a few years.". [7]

Scotland

The bouncy techno style dominated the Scottish scene, peaking during the Rezerection rave promotion's annual Event series on September 2, 1995 - the biggest rave to occur in Scotland. Their 20-hour Event 3: Equinox rave extravaganza attracted a reported 17,000 people with no less than 47 different international artists, with many of those being listed as playing bouncy techno DJ sets on the heavily distributed flyer.

The event itself naturally attracted much media attention. Tom Wilson's popular prime time dance music radio show - Steppin' Out - even transmitted live especially from the venue. Dance music magazine Eternity also ran a four page review of the show - the non-breakbeat music preference evident.

"Next up in the Sunset tent at 05.00am was Marc Smith... he had been booked to play a Jungle set. I watched as two thirds of the tent left. One of the things I like about Rezerection and Scotland in general is that they love their Techno. At 10.03am it's Marc Smith in the Eclipse tent, but this time he was playing the Techno set he had been booked to play. No problem this time, he rocked the place. Two hours left and Davey Murray takes the controls... this guy went down well to say the least, nice bouncy stuff."

Elsewhere, the sound also had grabbed Northern Ireland, with DJ Tizer at the forefront. During an interview for the Fantazia rave promotion in 1995, DJ Tizer said that, "The Scottish scene is really buzzin' at the moment, which is good, because I'm really into the Scottish bouncy techno that is so popular here." [8]

England

Music press release highlighting the evolution of bouncy techno in England with and without breakbeat hardcore traits in 1996 Music press release highlighting the evolution of bouncy techno in England with and without breakbeat hardcore traits in 1996

Due to the north following a different musical route to the south, their breakbeat hardcore splintering into the breakbeat driven happy hardcore and jungle techno styles had been mostly oblivious in the Scottish scene.

The breakbeat happy hardcore DJs however increasingly combined bouncy techno into their mix sets at raves. This mixing of two different styles considered the point where bouncy techno traits in-part influenced the happy hardcore productions by taking on similar mannerisms.

By late 1995, happy hardcore had gradually de-emphasised its inherent breakbeat traits and instead utilised the 4/4 tempo heavy kick drum and off-beat techno stab, whilst retaining its own piano melodies, effectively becoming a hybrid of the two styles in varying amounts - something known then as happy bouncy techno (or happy techno).

New English based labels such as Bounce!, Bouncy Tunes, Digital International Techno, Mental Platinum, Techno Tunes and Punisher, started to produce bouncy techno music outright, though most English productions tended to be released on their already established labels and usually swayed more to their happy origins.

Decline

Despite a huge rave scene, the Scottish rave and music scene pretty much vanished by the late 1990s due to a combination of factors. This scene was much a part of culture in the young adult demographic. It also had bad media press, associated with Scottish ravers experimenting with hard drugs [9] linked with much publicised deaths at raves. In one year, there was a reported 60 rave deaths in Strathclyde. [10] This had cast a shadow over the Scottish scene.

At that time in 1996, where previously the English happy hardcore style had been all but unheard of in the Scottish rave scene due to its original breakbeat nature, it returned bigger than before under its new breakbeat-less guise - something that was now influenced by bouncy techno - but with full-on lyrics and large piano breakdowns.

Rezerection's change in direction by advertising the newly found happy hardcore over bouncy techno in 1996 (see far left) Rezerection's change in direction by advertising the newly found happy hardcore over bouncy techno in 1996 (see far left)

Rezerection concurs that "By 1996, happy hardcore was growing and DJs like Hixxy and Billy Reid joined regulars Marc Smith, Bass Generator and Technotrance". [11] Only reflecting this new change, bouncy techno had now been added last on the Rezerection flyer and magazine advertising - behind happy hardcore.

This introduction of happy hardcore was a way to change the scene's current music direction away from its apparent connected drug image by introducing a happy vibe whilst breathing new life into the dormant scene. This change of direction resulted in the phasing out the harder edge sounds of bouncy techno and happy gabber, in-turn isolating much of its rave fan base. Happy hardcore also appealed to a new generation of much younger people attending raves.

By 1997, the scene was destined to disintegrate as society disassociated itself with the movement, making it near impossible for the scene and its inherent music to survive. Leading Scottish rave venues including the Metro and FUBAR had swiftly dropped hardcore, even dance music all together. Radio stations soon followed. There was also much problems in staging raves due to the police and councils through the years. Rezerection - the country's largest and most successful rave promoter - was declared bankrupt, staging their last show on May 31, 1997.

Due to demand, Scott Brown hailed the return of bouncy techno in 1998 by launching the fittingly named Bouncy Techno Records - it did not last. "Bouncy techno is BACK!!! Well it was for a while anyway! 6 releases taking you back to the old bouncy sound.... Bouncy Techno was originally distributed by 'eclipse' until they went bust, taking the label down with them." [12]

The Judgment Day promotion looked to fill the void left by Rezerection's demise, with raves fittingly held at their former venue in Edinburgh. Their Hogmany event on 31 December, 1997, stated that it was "hopefully putting an end to the ideas that the Scottish hardcore scene is dead!". Despite this, the scene was miniscule in comparison to that of years gone by.

 

21st Century

There has been demand from the enthusiast, or disillusioned follower, for a return of the original bouncy techno style. Through lineage, bouncy techno remnants are found in the current United Kingdom based hardcore style, known as UK Hardcore. During the course of this new music being produced in the early 21st century, some labels such as Quosh and Evolution Plus started to reintroduce the bouncy offbeat stab elements into the more trance influenced UK Hardcore side of things.

Quosh ran a production competition in May 2003, specifically "in aid of a bouncy techno revival". [13] The duo Al Twisted & DJ JFX released what in the press statement was called an "update on Scotland Bouncy Techno sound" with Let's Get Wet (Quosh, QU069, 2005) on Quosh.

Scott Brown - the pioneer - had remixed old bouncy techno tracks, with some dating back to 1993, including Hardcore Disco (Evolution Records, EV081, 2005) and Detonated (Evolution Plus, PLUS28, 2005), with the original 1990s re-edits included as a mark of respect pleasing both old and new fans. Created in 2006, Evolved is a new record label of Brown's, specifically remixing and re-releasing various old material.

DJ Devastate looked to incorporate elements more on the harder side of UK hardcore, with Bedlam Records, Thin 'N' Crispy, Uprising Records, and a handful of others coming up with a few releases bordering on some form of evolved style. [14]

English Scott Majestik stated in July 20, 2003, "Higher Order Recordings HO002 - the wait is over! For all you bouncy techno fans get ready because the bounce is back. This choon is currently killing dance floors across the UK & abroad and proves to everyone that bouncy techno is back and it's here to stay." [15]

This new material can sometimes be described on relevant online music forums as a "nu style" bouncy techno, though none really have the trademark techno riffs and basics.

In this small but developing hardcore music scene in the United Kingdom, bouncy techno still plays a part in the current live events; the old records played to a new audience. Amongst many rave reviews detailing its inclusion, the Elation event in London of July 22, 2005, stated that "Brisk and Sharkey doing what they specialise in. Classic Freeform Hardcore and Bouncy Techno at its best. Like I said, Bouncy Techno at it best and the assembled ravers loved every minute of it." [16]

Makina is a Spanish style that uses offbeat stabs reminiscent of bouncy techno but in far greater quantities.

Terminology

1992 usage in magazine record reviewClubscene (Issue 19, December 1992) 1992 usage in magazine record review
Clubscene (Issue 19, December 1992)

It is believed the actual bouncy techno term originated during 1992, derived from crowds bouncing to this bouncy sounding dance music at raves. The first printed usage of the term may likely have been in Clubscene - a monthly Scottish dance music magazine with a 50,000 readership. In the December 1992 issue, DJ ZBD from Shoop! Records described local band Q-Tex latest release as "going from strength to strength and this bouncy techno cut should do their reputation a power of good."

Bouncy hardcore is more or less just than an alternative name to the original term, fitting in with the hardcore lingo. One reason for 'techno', and not 'hardcore' being used, was that it was the preferred way to describe the music found in the early 1990s rave scene from a United Kingdom standpoint, much like jungle techno was the original term used in the early 1990s to describe jungle music.

Happy gabber is an ambiguous term more directed to the gabber side of productions during the mid-1990s period. The Dutch introduced elements such as pianos, vocal samples and breakbeats into the already existing bouncy techno format in different and ever increasing ways, more so than the original Scottish productions that were originally quite sparse and basic.

'Funcore' is a scarcely used word that is only associated with the Dutch based Babyboom Records label, as such likely just a slogan. Describing itself as "the funcore label", the music does not differ in any way to bouncy techno.

Selected bouncy techno information

Artists Bass Reaction, Bass X, Casio Brothers, Davie Forbes, DJ Ten, Gordon Tennant, Hyperact, Infernus, Interstate, Marc Smith, Q-Tex, Ryan Campbell, Scott Brown, Technosis, The Rhythmic State, Ultimate Buzz

DJs Bass Generator, Brisk, Carl Cox, Davie Forbes, DJ Dado, DJ Obsession, DJ Rab S, DJ Ten, DJ ZBD, Marc Smith, Nicky Modlin, Scott Brown, Technotrance, Tom Wilson

Raves Awesome 101, Colosseum, Dance Concept, Dreamscape, Fantazia, FUBAR, Hanger 13, Helter Skelter, Hysteria, Judgement Day, Nightmare in Rotterdam, Nosebleed, Rezerection

Record labels Babyboom Records, Bass Generator Records, Bounce!, Breeze Records, Clubscene Records, Dwarf Records, Evolution Records, Forze Records, Jolly Roger Records, Massive Respect Records, Screwdriver Records, Shoop!, Twisted Vinyl

Releases

  • Bass Reaction - Technophobia (Shoop!, SHOOP 8, 1993)
  • Bass X - Hardcore Disco (Shoop!, SHOOP 2, 1993)
  • Marc Smith - Pump Up The Noize (Clubscene Records, CSRT040, 1995)
  • Scott Brown vs. DJ Rab S - Now Is The Time (Evolution Records, EV015, 1995)

References

  1. ^ Gilbert (2004). An interview with Scott Brown. www.gurn.net. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  2. ^ DJ Kid (2004). Style. www.djkid.co.uk. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  3. ^ DJ Kid (2004). Biography: Into the nineties. www.djkid.co.uk. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  4. ^ Nigel Newby (2004). The No.1 Hardcore DJ in the World: Scott Brown!. www.harderfaster.net. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  5. ^ Mo's Music Machine (1997). Licensing. www.mosmusic.co.uk. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  6. ^ Rezerection (2005). Rezerection: The History. www.rezerection.net. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  7. ^ UK Scene (2006). Smurf. www.ukscene.info. URL accessed on April 21, 2006.
  8. ^ Fantazia (1995). DJ Tizer interview. www.fantazia.org. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  9. ^ Jenny Booth (1997). Study shows hard drugs link to the rave scene. The Scotsman. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  10. ^ SQUALL (199?). Who spiked the dancefloor?. The Scotsman. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  11. ^ Rezerection (2005). Rezerection: The History. www.rezerection.net. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  12. ^ Scott Brown (2000). Sonic Fury Foundation: Scott Brown. www.sonicfury.net. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  13. ^ Quosh (2003). Acidbreak Production Competition. www.acidbreak.plus.com. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  14. ^ DJ Devastate (2003). Bedlam, Uprising etc and bouncey techno. www.ush.net. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  15. ^ Scott Majestik (2003). News: Hardcore music for hardcore people. www.ush.net. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.
  16. ^ Astraboy (2005). Elation 5th Birthday - Jacks, London Bridge. www.ush.net. URL accessed on February 24, 2006.

External links

Hardcore
Basskore - Bouncy techno - Breakbeat - Breakcore - Darkcore - Freeform - Gabber - Happy - Industrial - Makina - Speedbass - Speedcore - Terrorcore - Trancecore
Other electronic music genres
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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

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