The balcony view of Qlimax 2006, an annual Hardstyle event.
|Stylistic origins||Hard house, Newstyle gabber, hardtechno, industrial, hard trance|
|Cultural origins||Late 1990s, Early 2000s, Netherlands|
|Typical instruments||DAW, synthesizer, sequencer, sampler, turntables, TTS|
|Derivative forms||Early hardstyle, euphoric hardstyle, rawstyle, dubstyle, freestyle, jumpstyle|
|Hardstyle musicians – hardcore - dubstep - jumpstyle - electro house - progressive house|
Hardstyle is an electronic dance genre mixing influences from hardtechno and hardcore. Hardstyle typically consists of a deep, hard-sounding kick drum, intense faded or reversed basslines accompanying the beat, a dissonant synth melody, 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 2004-05 the genre became more melodic and uplifting, somewhat faster (usually 150 BPM), and distorted, sharp kick drum sounds were added. Many producers started to pitch-shift a distorted kick drum to create a melodic bassline that usually plays in pitch with a typical hard trance supersaw or a thinner electro house synth melody. The melody often is in tuplet form, which gives the genre a pulsating rhythm, whereas older Hardstyle as well as other genres such as jumpstyle have more basic melodic structures to them. Thus, nowadays many people refer to the older style as early hardstyle.
In early 2010s, 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 Wasted Penguinz.
Since around 2011, more terms to identify developments of hardstyle were introduced. Raw Hardstyle, or Rawstyle, is a type of hardstyle influenced from Dutch hardcore or older hardstyle resulting in darker melodies and deeper-sounding kick drums with more distortion through VST plug-ins such as Devastor, CamelPhat, Ohmicide & TriDirt.[unreliable source?]
Big Room Hardstyle
Since 2014, Headhunterz and various other producers experimented with punchier, less distorted kicks. The resulting sound was dubbed "Big Room Hardstyle", in reference to the similarities between it and Big Room Electro House.
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- "Q-dance | Qlubtempo". Q-dance.nl. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
- "Hardstyle". Q-dance. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
- "Fusion :: Releases". Fusionbv.com. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
- "Company - SCANTRAXX.com". Scantraxx.nl. 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
- dubstyle.nl, Dutch website on dubstyle
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- "History of Hardstyle".
- Article on the split between Raw Hardstyle and euphoric hardstyle by Fear.FM
- "Story of Hardstyle".