Tuesday, December 19, 2017

GABBING ABOUT GABBER: a brutalitarian resurgence a/k.a the return of apocalypso-disco?

Resident Advisor says that 2017 was the year that hardcore came back strong

Certainly it was the year of the Mover fulfilling his chiliastic promise "see you in 2017" with a return to high-profile deejaying at techno festivals and the release of a remastered anthology of his greatest ravefloor smashers, although the heralded new full-length album by Marc Acardipane under his most famous moniker has been bumped back to 2018, marring slightly the neat circularity of his comeback coming in 2017 as promised earlier thisyear.

The RA report also points to  Paul Elstak penetrating the Netherlands pop chart for the first time in a long while...

... to the Parisian squad Casual Gabberz's parties and its Inutile De Fuir compilation of this year

.... to the activities of Poland's WIXAPOL and Sweden's Drömfakulteten collectives...

 ... to the Gabber Eleganza blog and its roving The Hakke Show performances....

.... to the punitively intense Unpolished parties thrown by Amsterdam's Reaktor Events (which they trumpet as their "most hard-lined techno concept" and a "yearly ordeal"!) ...

... and to various other manifestations of a renewed appetite for brutalitarian aesthetics.

It makes perfect sense that the ravenous maw that is retroculture would sooner or later turn  for nourishment to possibly the last remaining un-ransacked resource of renegade commitment, outsider ferocity - an un-exceeded extreme. 

Incidentally, four of the nine trends that defined 2017 according to RA's overview involve the prefix "re" - the return of Electro (what, again?);  the resurgence of Eurohardcore;  the fact that it's a boom time for "new old" music, i.e. the rediscovery of forgotten music or recovery of never-known-about or never-even-really-released music from the archival electronic dance past;  and yet another rediscovery / rehabilitation / revisionism syndrome, i.e. the rewiring of techno with EBM and Industrial influences (M.E.S.H. , Perc, Tzusing, Phase Fatale,  et al). That last one possibly feeds into, or makes logical, the rehabilitation of gabba, given that it's part of the prehistory of Eurohardcore (although the nu-EBM is a lot slower). 

Also talking up the vintage gabba is this post + mix at Marc Dauncey's Mutant Technology blog -  titled"Gabber House" and described as "an hour and forty minutes exploring the murky world of hardcore techno, gabber and a sprinkling of jungle and breakcore, ranging from 150 to well over 240 bpm, from 1992 right up to the present day." Excellent stuff with a disconcerting large number of names and titles unfamiliar to me, but then  fully tracking the raging and ranging enormity of the Eurohardkore Kontinuum through the Nineties would've required total commitment to the genre / area, and I've always had ears for too many other things  

And finally a reminder about ArteTetra's recent gabber-influenced cassette release Svelto: the Hakken Tuner  (discussed in this earlier blog post) by  DJ Balli - who I had the pleasure of meeting in Bologna last week - and Giacoma Balla

A fan of the Italian Futurists as well as Phuture Tekno, Balli also authored - under his full name Riccardo Balli - the aptly titled 2012 book Apocalypso Disco: La Rave-O-Luzione Della Post Techno.  Blurbed thusly at Amazon (excuse the crude Google translation job here):

"At the end of the eighties, the element of techno music was imposed as a viral macrocode on which thousands and thousands of young people recognized themselves. In the following two decades a nuclear fission took place which split it into small atoms: the breakcore, the 8 bit, the gabber, the mashup, the goa-trance, the mutant dancefloor ... An international galaxy almost impossible to tell . In this text Riccardo Balli analyzes the different musical and attitudinal ramifications of the post rave through oral tales, literary remixes, visionary interventions and interviews with producers and protagonists. The goal is focused on the dynamics of a political nature that have generated assault groups, extreme situations and new lifestyles: speedcore, psy community, c8.com, Elevate Festival and the world of chiptunes. A multitude of noises, ideas and movements whose spurious and transversal sound is called Apocalypso disco." 

(I mentioned to Balli my dim recollection of having once operated - in partnership with Margin / Monitor comrade Paul Oldfield - a deejay duo team that traded under the name Apocalypso. We were not hugely successful in our appeal to the Oxford student market)

Balli also is involved in the label / organisation Sonic Belligeranza ("hard-electronics blaxploitation since the year 2000") and a contributor to Datacide, the original  intellectual hardcore / hardcore intellectual zine.

Datacide is still active on the web and intermittently in print too (there's a new issue just out in fact - #17, details of the contents and how to purchase here).

Recently Datacide held a panel discussion about retro both in and outside dance culture, titled next:now - strategies to resample the future and what do you know, there's a quote from the intro to Retromania right at the front...

"Once upon a time, pop‘s metabolism buzzed with dynamic energy, creating the surging-in-to-the-future feel of periods like the psychedelic sixties, the post-punk seventies, the hip-hop eighties and the rave nineties. The 2000s felt different.…  Instead of being the threshold to the future, the first then years of the twenty-first century turned out to be the ‚Re‘ Decade … revivals, reissues, remakes,
re-enactments. Endless retrospection...."

Hyperstasis  - the apocalypse as atemporality, entropy, the whimper


Phuturism - apocalypse as teleology, conflagration=consummation, the BANG.

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