Breakcore is an eclectic and experimental electronic music genre that emerged in the mid-1990s, primarily as an evolution of jungle, drum and bass, and hardcore techno. It is characterized by its highly complex, intricate, and syncopated breakbeat patterns, aggressive tempos, and a general disregard for conventional musical structures. Breakcore often incorporates elements from various other genres, such as noise, industrial, ambient, and even classical music, resulting in a chaotic yet captivating fusion of sounds and styles.
The foundation of breakcore lies in the manipulation and processing of breakbeats, which are short drum patterns sampled from funk, jazz, and other genres. These breaks are typically chopped, layered, and rearranged to create high-energy, unpredictable rhythm structures. Breakcore tracks often feature tempos ranging from 180 to 250 beats per minute (BPM) or even higher, which contributes to the genre’s intense and frenetic nature.
In addition to its unique rhythmic elements, breakcore frequently incorporates a diverse array of samples, ranging from spoken word and movie dialogue to orchestral arrangements and field recordings. This melange of disparate sources further distinguishes the genre and contributes to its avant-garde, experimental ethos.
Over the years, breakcore has developed numerous sub-genres and regional scenes, with artists drawing inspiration from a wide range of influences. Some of the most notable artists in the breakcore genre include:
Essential Breakcore Albums
- Venetian Snares: Hailing from Canada, Aaron Funk, aka Venetian Snares, is one of the most well-known and influential artists in breakcore. His unique style combines complex breakbeats with orchestral arrangements and dark, atmospheric soundscapes. Key albums include “Rossz Csillag Alatt Született” (2005) and “The Chocolate Wheelchair Album” (2003).
- Squarepusher: British artist Tom Jenkinson, known as Squarepusher, is renowned for his innovative approach to electronic music, which encompasses elements of breakcore, jazz fusion, and IDM (Intelligent Dance Music). Notable albums include “Hard Normal Daddy” (1997) and “Go Plastic” (2001).
- Alec Empire: A founding member of the German digital hardcore group Atari Teenage Riot, Alec Empire has been a prominent figure in the breakcore and digital hardcore scenes since the 1990s. His solo work often features heavily distorted breakbeats and politically charged lyrics. Key releases include “The Destroyer” (1996) and “Intelligence and Sacrifice” (2001).
- Bong-Ra: Hailing from the Netherlands, Bong-Ra (real name Jason Köhnen) is known for his genre-defying approach to breakcore, which incorporates elements of metal, ragga, and gabber. Notable releases include “Bikini Bandits, Kill! Kill! Kill!” (2001) and “Full Metal Racket” (2007).
- Enduser: American artist Lynn Standafer, aka Enduser, combines breakcore with influences from drum and bass, hip hop, and industrial music. His work often features heavy use of samples and dense, atmospheric sound design. Key albums include “Pushing Back” (2003) and “From Zero” (2006).
While breakcore has remained relatively underground, it has continued to evolve and inspire new generations of electronic musicians. The genre’s challenging, experimental nature, and relentless energy make it a fascinating and enduring aspect of the electronic music landscape.
BREAKCORE ALBUM OF THE MONTH