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Darkcore or darkside[2][3] is a music subgenre of breakbeat hardcore and jungle[4] (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. Popular from late 1992 and through 1993, Darkcore was a counter movement to Happy Hardcore, which also evolved from Breakbeat Hardcore.


Darkcore is characterized by aggressive, often syncopated breakbeats;[5] low frequency bass lines; and a strong 4-to-the-floor beat, owing to the subgenre's hardcore origins. Tracks are generally between 150 and 167 BPM, with 160 BPM being especially common. Many tracks feature dark-themed samples such as choirs, synthesizer notes, horror movie theme music,[6] 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 use of time-stretching features on many tracks and gives a scratchy, metallic quality to some samples, particularly breakbeats.[7]

Notable artists[edit]

Many of the UK Breakbeat Hardcore and Jungle DJs of the day explored the sound around its heyday in 1993, but some of the more notable DJ/producers of darkcore include:

Notable releases[edit]

  • 4hero - "Journey From The Light / In the Shadows" Reinforced Records, 1992)
  • 4 Horsemen Of The Apocalypse – "Drowning In Her/We Are The Future" (Tone Def, 1993)
  • Boogie Times Tribe - "The Dark Stranger" (Suburban Base, 1993)
  • Chaos & Julia Set - "Fear The Future" (Recoil, 1993)
  • DJ Crystl - "The Dark Crystl / Inna Year 3000" (Force Ten Records, 1993)
  • D'Cruze - "Want You Now (DJ SS Remix) (Suburban Base, 1993)
  • D.O.P.E. - "Dope On Plastic Pt II" (Rugged Vinyl, 1993)
  • Dub II - "Bad Man" (Big City Records, 1992)
  • Ed Rush - "Bloodclot Artattack" (No U Turn, 1993)
  • FBD Project - "The Core / Breaking Up" (FBD, 1993)
  • Hardware - "The Night Stalker (DJ SS Remix)" (Face Records, 1993)
  • DJ Hype - "Shot In The Dark" (Suburban Base, 1993)
  • Hyper-On Experience - "Disturbance (Tango Remix)" (Moving Shadow, 1993)
  • Hyper-On Experience - "Lord Of The Null-lines (Foul Play Remix)" (Moving Shadow, 1993)
  • Invisible Man - "The Beginning / The End" (Timeless Recordings, 1993)
  • Invisible Man - "On A Mission / Twisted" (Timeless Recordings, 1993)
  • International Rude Boyz - "International Acclaim" (Formation 5, 1993)
  • Johnny Jungle - "Johnny" (Face Records, 1992)
  • DJ Peshay - "Protege" (Reinforced Records, 1993)
  • Rufige Cru - "Darkrider" (Reinforced Records, 1992)
  • Metalheads - "Terminator / Sinister" (Synthetic Hardcore Phonography, 1992)
  • Nasty Habits - "Here Comes The Drumz / Dark Angel" (Reinforced Records, 1993)
  • Origin Unknown - "Valley of The Shadows" (RAM Records, 1993)
  • Q Project - "Champion Sound / Night Moves (Alliance Remix)" (Legend Records, 1993)
  • Skanna - "Until The Night Is Morning (Skanna, 1993)
  • Tango & Ratty - "Tales From The Darkside / Final Conflict" (Tango & Ratty, 1993)
  • The Anthill Mob - Black Rushin' (Anthill Records, 1993)
  • Top Buzz - "Living In Darkness" (Basement, 1993)
  • Two Dark Troopers - "Darkcore" (Basement, 1993)
  • Under Graduates - "Into Da Future" (Camden Tunes, 1993)
  • Wax Doctor & Jack Smooth - "Unfriendly" (Basement, 1993)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b Ishkur (2005). "Ishkur's guide to Electronic Music". Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  3. ^ 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;
  4. ^ Chris Christodoulou (2002). "Rumble in the Jungle: The Invisible History of Drum and Bass by Steven Quinn, in: Transformations, No 3 (2002)". Archived from the original on November 10, 2014. 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”.
  5. ^ 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;
  6. ^ Gilman, Ben. "A short history of Drum and Bass". Retrieved May 18, 2014..
  7. ^ 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, Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture (Picador, 1998). ISBN 978-0330350563
  • Discogs - Top 100 Darkcore Hardcore 92-95