Rave music

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For the music played at freetekno parties, see free tekno.

Rave music may either refer to the late 1980s/early 1990s genres of acid , breakbeat and techno, the first genres of music in the world to be played at raves, or any genre of electronic dance music that may be played at a Rave , such as rave, techno, jungle, big beat , hardcore, happy hardcore, jumpstyle, breakbeat hardcore, gabber & acid. Very rarely, the term is used to refer to less electronic related genres such as glam rock, power pop, psychedelic rock and dub parties.

The genre "rave", also known as 1980s hardcore by ravers, first appeared amongst the acid movement during the late 1980s as a reaction to New Beat. While New Beat usually borrowed an aggressive industrial sound, rave tended to borrow New Beat's elements that were harder than acid house, while retaining the neutral mooded sound of acid house. Rave tended to be a happy genre that favoured synthesized melodies over the duller sound of the TB-303 in order to attract a wider audience. The genre was later re-established as oldskool hardcore, which lead onto newer forms of rave music such as drum and bass and jazzstep, as well as other hardcore techno genres, such as gabber, hardstyle and happy hardcore.

In the late 80s, rave culture began to filter through from English ex-pats and DJs who would visit Europe. However, rave culture's major expansion in North America is often credited to Frankie Bones, who after spinning a party in an aircraft hangar in England helped organize some of the earliest known American raves in the 1990s in New York City called "Storm Raves" which maintained a consistent core audience. Coinciding at the same time, were the "NASA" parties in NYC by DJ Scotto which was featured in the 1995 movie Kids and forthcoming was concert producer p.a.w.n. Lasers in Pennsylvania who later became the most well known laser company at raves in East Coast by cross-promoting these rave events State to State as far south as Florida and Louisiana. After this, hundreds of smaller promotional groups sprung up across the east coast such as Ultraworld (MD,DC), Park Rave Madness (NYC), G.O. Guaranteed Overdose (NYC), Local 13 (NJ), Caffeine (NYC), Liquid Grooove aka Liquified (GA), Columns of Knowledge (CT), Special K aka Circle Management (PA), Zen Festivals (FL), Disco Donnie (LA), Ultra Music Festival (FL), and later the west coast, causing a true "scene" to develop.


The genres of electronic dance music played at raves and other forms of dance parties such as freetekno parties was very diverse, and included breakbeat music, hardcore techno , Industrial and Free Party Music.

Breakbeat music[edit]

Main article: Breakbeat

Breakbeat music refers to any form of rave music with breakbeats, this may range from breakbeat hardcore and nuskool breaks to drum 'n' bass, some genres such as hardstep and breakcore cross over into the hardcore techno sound. Fusions of house and trance also exist but the drum 'n' bass still remains the most popular form of breakbeat played at rave parties.

Electro music[edit]

Main article: Electro music

Electro music refers to electro and techno, these two genres largely featured psychedelic sounds and are largely considered the earliest forms of electronic dance music genres to utilise the term "rave music" in respect to its modern terminological use. Techno sometimes crosses boundaries with house music, hence the genres trance and acid techno. Miami bass and crunk is sometimes included as "electro".

Hardcore techno[edit]

Main article: Hardcore techno

Hardcore techno refers to any hard dance genre that was influenced by the rave genre, usually these genres have a distorted kick drum, and a 3/4 or 4/4 rhythm. Happy hardcore blended the Dutch hardcore sound with Eurodance and bubblegum pop, the genre (also known as "happycore" for short) featured pitched-up vocals and a less distorted 4/4 beat. Trancecore also exists and is a less vocal fusion of happy hardcore with trance music, however hardstyle is a more purer form of the trance/hardcore genre since it retains the hardcore sound.

Industrial music[edit]

Main article: Industrial music

Industrial is a goth/rock/punk related genre. While the genre is not usually considered rave music in itself, it is often fused with rave music genres. Industrial is the origin of many sounds found in rave music; it is one of the first genres that took the sounds that are now popular in rave music such as "acid" as its musical backdrop. Industrial music fans are usually considered rivetheads and do not tend to call themselves ravers.

Free party music[edit]

Main article: Free tekno

This style of electronic music started in the early 1990s and was mostly played in illegal parties hosted by Sound System, such as Spiral Tribe, Desert Storm, Hekate, Heretik, in warehouse, dismissed buildings, or even illegal open air festivals, called "Teknivals". It takes inspiration from various other genres, and mainly focuses on quick beats, 170/200 bpm, acid bassline, mentals sounds, and often samples taken from movies, popular songs or many other different media sources.

List of genres[edit]

Downtempo and less dance oriented styles that might be heard in a rave "chill-out" room or at a rave that plays slower electronic music includes:


  • Bennett Andy, Peterson Richard A.: "Music Scenes: Local, Translocal and Virtual." Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2004
  • Reynolds, Simon: Generation Ecstasy: into the world of techno and rave culture Routledge, New York 1999.
  • Lang, Morgan: "Futuresound: Techno Music and Mediation" University of Washington, Seattle, 1996.
  • Dominic Buttitta, electro_DUB-scratch= champaign IL, 2010