Heartcore is Kurt Rosenwinkel's fifth album as a band leader. The album was fully produced by Rosenwinkel and Q-Tip of popular hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. The album is a departure musically from Rosenwinkel's previous work, as he contributes keyboard, drums, and voice, at times creating soundscapes completely on his own in his personal studio. Says Rosenwinkel, "There is a place, musically, that’s above the categories. This record – it’s jazz. And it’s much more". While much of the album features varied instrumentation and personnel, a few tracks rely on a live performance aspect, reminding the listener of the connection to the jazz tradition. Rosenwinkel cites the influence of Arnold Schoenberg in the harmonic textural construction on Heartcore.