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|Stylistic origins||Detroit techno, hardcore, industrial, Industrial hip hop, tech house|
|Cultural origins||Early 1990s, Rotterdam|
|Typical instruments||Keyboard, synthesizer, drum machine, sequencer, sampler, bitcrusher|
|Derivative forms||Mainstream hardcore|
|Speedcore, terrorcore, frenchcore|
|Netherlands, Germany, Belgium|
|Hardcore, happy hardcore|
Early hardcore, gabba or gabber (//; from Dutch: [ˈxɑbər]) is a style of electronic music and a subgenre of hardcore. "Gabber" is an Amsterdam slang word of Bargoens and Yiddish origin (cf. chaver) that means "mate", "buddy", "pal" or "friend".
Although a house variant from Detroit reached Amsterdam in the late 1980s, it was the producers and DJs from Rotterdam who evolved it into a harder house variant which is today known as "gabber".
The specific sound of Rotterdam was also created as a reaction to the house scene of Amsterdam which was seen as "snobby and pretentious". Though house tracks from Frankfurt's Marc Acardipane were quite similar to the Rotterdam style, it was the popularity of this music in the Netherlands which made Rotterdam the cradle of early hardcore. The essence of the early hardcore sound is a distorted bass drum sound, overdriven to the point where it becomes clipped into a distorted square wave and makes a recognizably melodic tone.
Often the Roland Alpha Juno or the kick from a Roland TR-909 was used to create this sound. Early hardcore tracks typically include samples and synthesised melodies with the typical tempo ranging from 180 to 220 bpm. Violence, drugs and profanity are common themes in early hardcore, perceptible through its samples and lyrics, often screamed, pitch shifted, or distorted.
Early hardcore was popular in many countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Italy. In the late 1990s, the early hardcore became less popular than the hardstyle. After surviving underground for a number of years, in 2002 the style reappeared in the Netherlands in a new form, the mainstream hardcore. The sound becomes more mature, darker, and industrial and derives.
The style is derived from the acid house and techno house styles from the late 1980s, but many within the core scene claim that it was diluted by 1995 mainly because of the mainstream variant called happy hardcore and, for hardcore fans, because of commercialization which resulted in a younger crowd being attracted to the scene. The commercial organization ID&T helped to make the music popular by organizing parties (most notable are the Thunderdome parties) and selling merchandise. The name gabber is used somewhat less these days to describe this music style, especially due to this stigma created in the mid 1990s.
Gabber is characterized by its bass drum sound. Essentially, it comes from taking a normal synthesized bass drum and over-driving it heavily. The approximately sinusoidal sample starts to clip into a square wave 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 bass drum pattern to change pitch throughout the song to follow the bass line.
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 bass line. Alternatively, when played at higher pitches, the hoover becomes an aggressive, shrieking lead. Faster gabber tracks often apply extremely fast hoover-patterns.
In the early 1990s, gabber gained a following in the neo-fascist rave scenes of the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the American Midwest. However, most gabber fans do not belong to the aforementioned groups, and many producers have released tracks that vocally speak out against racism. In addition, many prominent gabber DJs and producers are not white; examples include The Viper, Nexes, Bass-D, Loftgroover, DJ Gizmo, The Darkraver, Dark Twins, Bass Technician, MC Raw (of Rotterdam Terror Corps) and HMS.
Notable record labels
- "Hardcore History: Introducing Hardcore Techno". Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- "Hebrew and Yiddish Words in Common Dutch". Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- "Detroit Techno". Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- "Definition of Gabber". Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- Silcott, Mireille. Rave America: New School Dance Scapes. (Toronto: ECW Press, 1999), 114-117.
- United Hardcore Against Racism & Hate - Time to Make a Stand (HUR 001, Hardcore United Records, 2005. http://www.discogs.com/release/478145), DJ Chosen Few - Chosen Anthem (Against Racism)(MOK 8, Mokum Records 1993. http://www.discogs.com/release/21108) Party Animals feat. MC Rob Gee - Die Nazi Scum (MOK 54, Mokum Records 1996. http://www.discogs.com/release/21181) Hellcore - Fuck the Nazism (BDR-CD-02, Braindestruction Recordz, 2003. http://www.discogs.com/release/210584)