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Gabber music

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Gabber music

Underground gabber

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Gabber, gabba (pronounced gahba or gahbuhr in Dutch), or hardcore, is a subgenre of electronic music that is a subgenre of hardcore techno. The style was born in the Dutch city of Rotterdam in the early 1990s. The essence of the gabber sound is a distorted kick sound, overdriven to the point where it becomes a square wave and makes a recognizably melodic tone. Gabber tracks typically also include samples and synthesised melodies with the typical tempo ranging from 160 to 220 bpm.

Contents

Origins

The term 'gabber'

The term traces its roots back to the Hebrew word for 'mate' or 'friend'. Apocryphally, one of these gabbers wanted to enter the Roxy in Amsterdam, where the bouncer said, "No, gabber, you can't come in here." Source of the Dutch term for the genre, "gabberhouse", was DJ "Hardy" Ardy Beesemer.

The origins of the gabber sound

In general the track We Have Arrived (1990) by Mescalinum United is considered to be the first gabber track. The first Dutch gabber track is Rotterdam Termination Source's Poing (1992). The record shop Midtown in the Nieuwe Binnenweg of Rotterdam is one of the shrines of Gabber music. Fans dressed in Australian and Cavello tracksuits, Nike Air Max sport shoes, bomber jackets, and the majority of them would have shaven heads. The bald gabbers did not see male gabber fans with a head of hair as real gabbers and referred to them as "swabbers", comparing their head of hair to a mop. Female fans often shaved the sides and back of their head and wore their hair in a pony tail. Later, in 1999 and beyond, their clothing style more and more changed and brands like Fred Perry, Lonsdale and Ben Sherman were added to their outfits.

The style began in the late 1980s, but some claim that it was diluted by happy hardcore and, for hardcore fans, by commercialisation which resulted in a younger crowd being attracted to the scene. The commercial organisation ID&T helped a lot in making the music popular by organising parties and selling merchandise. After the airing of what were felt by many hardcore fans as humiliating video clips, notably Hakke en Zage (1996) by Gabber Piet, some gabbers felt they were being made fun of. The name gabber is somewhat less used these days to describe this music style. Many would now prefer to call the style 'hardcore'. After surviving underground for a number of years, in 2002 the style has became more popular again in the Netherlands.

Nu style gabber

There was a somewhat divisive split in the hardcore scene starting in the late 1990s. Some producers started embracing a slower style characterized by a deeper, harder bass drum that typically had a longer envelope than was possible in the traditional, faster style. This newer sound was referred to as "New Style" (or "Nu Style") and "New Skool" and as the tempo got slower and slower it began to become similar to hard house. Many hardcore enthusiasts hated hard house and the club scene it typifies, and frequently DJs would be booed by one group of fans and cheered for by another at the same party, depending on the tempo and style of music they were playing. This is similar to the rivalry and mutual dislike that surfaced earlier between fans of "regular" hardcore and happy hardcore. Eventually the two styles met in the middle, and most gabber today is produced in a bpm range of 160-170. This is typically a little bit slower than the Rotterdam style of the mid-90's and somewhat faster than the slowest Newstyle tracks that emerged.

Style

Gabber is characterised by its bassdrum sound. Essentially, it comes from taking a normal synthesized bassdrum and overdriving it heavily. The approximately sinusoidal sample starts to clip into a squarewave with a falling pitch. This results in a number of effects: the frequency spectrum spreads out, thus achieving a louder, more aggressive sound. It also changes the amplitude envelope of the sound by increasing the sustain. Due to the distortion, the drum also develops a melodic tone. It is not uncommon for the bassdrum pattern to change pitch throughout the song to follow the bassline.

The second frequently used component of gabber tracks is the "hoover", a patch of the Roland Alpha Juno synthesizer. A "hoover" is typically a distorted, grainy, sweeping sound which, when played on a low key, can create a dark and brooding bassline. Alternatively, when played at higher pitches, the hoover becomes an aggressive, shrieking lead. Faster gabba tracks often apply extremely fast hoover-patterns - gapping (changing the volume rapidly between the maximum and silence) is often used. Common elements also include guitar riffing (often done live at gabber parties) and MCing (more often than not also distorted).

Lyrics and themes of gabber usually deal with self-indulgence, sex, violence and anti-establishment. However, it must be noted that gabber songs usually carry a hint of irony in themselves - although some songs are meant to be taken seriously, this is by no means a trend.

The aforementioned two subgenres of gabba differ in essentially one thing: the tempo.

  • Oldskool gabba, staying true to its mentality, defines "hardness" in speed: tracks rarely go under 160 BPM, and bassdrum rolls often go up to a speed where the beats themselves are hardly distinguishable from each other.
  • Nuskool gabba, however, slows the speed down to 150 BPM, but extends the length of the bassdrum so the bass-frequency resonation keeps on longer. (In this aspect, "nugabba" obviously cannot be considered less powerful than its precursor, although slower hardcore is often less energetic.) A typical style in the subgenre is what fans apostrophe as shuffle gabba or triplet gabba, a style best made known by Rotterdam Terror Corps: the beats are divided into triplets and all hoover notes are played in a short, staccato-like fashion, giving the song a march-like feel.

Subdivisions

The gabba genre has a number of different styles related to it, including speedcore, terrorcore, hardcore, breakcore, darkcore, frenchcore, hardstyle, jumpstyle, bouncy techno, nu style gabba, extratone and noizecore.

Misconceptions

It is a misconception that all gabber is simple and loud music. The style later became (somewhat limited by the fans' taste) a creative style, in which complex rhythmic and melodic combinations are very common. In much of gabber, melodies and drums are overlayed with a number of filter effects, which adds richness to the music. Gabber has grown into a serious style of music where producers are encouraged to experiment.

Because of the extreme tempo of the music, and the shaven heads and clothing preference being associated with skinheads or neo-nazis, some generalize that gabber fans are all members or supporters of neo-rightist or neo-Nazi groups. For example, in the early 1990s, gabber gained a following in the very small neo-fascist rave scene in the American Midwest and in Germany.[1] Yet most gabber fans are opposed to racism, fascism, and sexism.

The gabber scene is often associated with the use of speed, ecstasy, ketamine and other drugs. This, of course, is also just generalization - while it is true that many drug-user gabber fans exist, it is no way required.

While this music style is very distinct, some sampling from the UK rave music scene is apparent. Gabber events follow the same DJ and MC format, and many of the same philosophies of unity.

Notable artists

3 Steps Ahead
Angerfist
Art of Fighters
Bass-D & King Matthew
Catscan
DJ Buzz Fuzz
Danger Trance Incorporated
The Darkraver
Delta 9
DJ Gizmo
DJ Dano
DJ Neophyte
DJ Promo
DJ Ruffneck
DJ The Blade
Drokz
DTI Terror Department
Ebola (wrong music)
Endymion
Evil Activities
Hammerdamage
The Headbanger a.k.a. DJ Waxweazle
Hellfish
Korsakoff
Lenny Dee
Masters of Ceremony
Meagashira
Neophyte
Nosferatu
Omar Santana
Ophidian
Outblast
DJ Paul
Rotterdam Terror Corps
Scotch Egg
Scott Brown
Shitmat
Stunned Guys
Teranoid
The Gnat & Mad_Line
The Prophet
Tommyknocker

Record labels

Notes

  1. ^ Silcott, Mireille. Rave America: New School Dance Scapes. (Toronto: ECW Press, 1999), 114-117.

External links


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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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