The balcony view of Qlimax 2006, an annual Hardstyle event.
|Cultural origins||Late 1990s - early 2000s, Netherlands|
Hardstyle is an electronic dance genre mixing influences from techno and hardcore. Hardstyle typically consists of a deep, hard-sounding kick drum, intense faded or reversed basslines accompanying the beat, a dissonant synth melody story telling, and detuned and distorted sounds. Many hardcore artists produce hardstyle tracks as well, and many newer Hardstyle tracks are written in compound time (for example, older Headhunterz and Noisecontrollers work).
Hardstyle was influenced by gabber. Hardstyle has its origins in the Netherlands where artists like DJ Zany, Lady Dana, DJ Isaac, DJ Pavo, DJ Luna and The Prophet, who produced hardcore, started experimenting while playing their hardcore records. The first Hardstyle events, like Qlubtempo, took place at the beginning of the 21st century. The first few years of hardstyle were characterized by a tempo of around 140–150 BPM, a compressed kick drum sound, a short vocal sample, a screech and the use of a "reverse bass", which can be heard on the offbeat after each kick.
After several successful editions of Qlubtempo and Qlimax, Q-dance registered the word hardstyle as their brand on the 4th of July 2002.
Around 2002, more hardstyle labels emerged. Fusion (with artist as DJ Zany and Donkey Rollers) and Scantraxx (founded by Dov Elkabas) are two of the Dutch labels that started to bring out hardstyle tracks around that time.
Around 2004 or 2005, the genre became more melodic, uplifting, and somewhat faster (usually 150 BPM). Many producers started to pitch-shift a sharp, distorted kick drum to create a melodic bassline that usually played in pitch with a typical hard trance supersaw or thinner electro house synth melody. Tuplet form melodies were added to give the genre a pulsating rhythm as opposed to the more basic melodic structures found in older Hardstyle as well as other genres such as jumpstyle. With these notable changes, the older style is typically known as "early hardstyle".
In early 2010, a new variation in hardstyle, named dubstyle was introduced. Dubstyle is the name given to the genre fusion of hardstyle and dubstep. Dubstyle tends to have reversed wobble basslines and take the kick styling of hardstyle tracks, while combining them with the rhythm, groove, and dubstep tempo and effects a fusion of elements of hardstyle with a dubstep rhythm, usually a 2-step or a breakstep rhythm. Because of the sporadic beat in dubstyle, the bass is often more dragged out and/or it doesn't follow a strict offbeat pattern that regular hardstyle incorporates, which in turn results in dubstyle basslines bearing similarities to dubstep basslines.
From roughly 2010 onwards, the move towards a more melodic emphasis from early hardstyle evolved into the subgenre "euphoric hardstyle", characterized by highly emotional melodies and heavy pitch-shifting of kicks. Notable euphoric hardstyle producers include Coone, Atmozfears, Sephyx, Devin Wild, D-Block & S-te-Fan (DBSTF), Da Tweekaz, Code Black, Headhunterz and Wasted Penguinz.
Since around 2011, more terms to identify developments of hardstyle were introduced. Raw Hardstyle, is a type of hardstyle influenced from Dutch hardcore or older hardstyle resulting in darker melodies, screeches and deeper-sounding kick drums. Notable raw hardstyle artists include B-Front, Adaro, Radical Redemption, Frequencerz, and The Prophet.[unreliable source?]
- The Prophet
- Brennan Heart
- Da Tweekaz
- D-Block & S-te-Fan
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- "Company - SCANTRAXX.com". Scantraxx.nl. 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
- dubstyle.nl, Dutch website on dubstyle
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- Article on the split between Raw Hardstyle and euphoric hardstyle by Fear.FM