|Stylistic origins||Oldschool jungle, industrial|
|Cultural origins||Early 1990s, United Kingdom|
|Typical instruments||Synthesizer, drum machine, sequencer, sampler|
|Derivative forms||Drum and bass, darkstep|
Darkcore or darkside is a music subgenre of jungle (not be confused with the more recent developments of hardcore) that became popular in the United Kingdom. It is recognized as being one of the direct precursors of the genre now known as drum and bass. Darkcore was a counter movement to happy, which also evolved from breakbeat hardcore.
Darkcore is characterized by layered breakbeats at around 150 to 160 bpm combined with very low frequency bass lines. There are also dark-themed samples such as horror movie theme music, or cries for help. As the style evolved, the use of horror elements was dropped as producers relied more on simple effects such as reverb, delay, pitch shifting and time stretching to create a chaotic and sinister mood.
The 1993 CD release Hard Leaders III - Enter The Darkside contains many popular darkcore tunes of the era.
Today, darkcore is used to describe the entire array of breakbeat producers and DJs who work within the 160-190+ BPM tempo range. Its current configuration, darkstep, is notably different in quality and process availability as the modern drum and bass elements are included.
- Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. "Just as the commercial success of hardcore in 1992 had prompted the first wave of 'darkside' tunes, so the hipster vogue for 'intelligent' inspired a defensive, back-to-the-underground initiative on the part of the original junglists."
- Ishkur (2005). "Ishkur's guide to Electronic Music". Retrieved May 4, 2014.
- Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. "By late 1992, the happy rave tunes of 1990—1 were being eclipsed by a style called 'darkside' or dark-core;"
- Chris Christodoulou (2002). "Rumble in the Jungle: The Invisible History of Drum and Bass by Steven Quinn, in: Transformations, No 3 (2002)". Retrieved May 18, 2014. "During the early development of this burgeoning genre of up-tempo break-beat EDM (between 1992 and 1994), “jungle” and “drum 'n' bass” were being used synonymously with “darkcore” and “dark”."
- Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. "Dark-core is composed entirely on continuously on looped breakbeats;"
- Gilman, Ben. "A short history of Drum and Bass". Retrieved May 18, 2014..
- Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. "Using effects like time-stretching, pitch-shifting and reversing, the darkside producers gave their breakbeats a brittle, metallic sound, like scuttling claws; they layered beats to form a dense mesh of convoluted, convulsive poly rhythm, inducing a febrile feel of in-the-pocket funk and out-of-body."
- Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. "The other important source for techstep was the first era of 'darkside', as pioneered by Reinforced artists like Doc Scott and 4 Hero."
- Reynolds, Simon, Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture (Picador, 1998). ISBN 978-0330350563
- Discogs - Top 100 Darkcore Hardcore 92-95