Various Artists - Evident Ware Pt.02
Hardcore has survived three decades. Will it never die? Mutate to survive, as the saying goes. There were outliers back then who remain misfits now, and it’s hard to tell whether what they’re making now is so different to what they were making then. Maybe the machines are slightly smarter, but they just find ways to rough the sound up elsewhere in the signal chain. What rings true is the sound hasn’t aged – in the right hands it still jabs at the frontal lobe and tickles the pleasure receptors with ferocious precision.
If anything the passing of time has only helped filter out the filler. True ‘ardcore evangelists have had longer to ruminate on the sound – what maximises the potency, what dulls the impact. Tempo and aggression are not the only tools to devastate a dancer – they rushed in an upward curve for years, to dubious ends. Now you might as likely be rolling at a sedantry 130 as tearing your face off at 180.
The clattering of breaks remain an imperfect vessel for these weird juxtapositions. There’s no standard backbone, no unanimous groove. Depending on the angle of the edit, the same two boom-baps can come out looking so different as to be unrelated. There might not even be any original breaks left in there. An amen begat a tramen begat the sound of a chair being thrown down the stairs. The pool of cultural codes remains open and accessible though – the call of the loom bird is not off limits, and neither are any of the unlicensed licks that hit the streets on the first sample CDs. Make the tune hot enough, you can use what you like.
Of course tired snobbery prevails amongst revivalists who would sneer at anything made after 1996 (or 1994, or 1992 – choose your flavour), but as a cultural movement hardcore (and its many wayward offspring) is as inclusive as it’s ever been. It’s about the joy of splicing, bricolage, the cheeky punt that leads to something profound. But more importantly, it’s about the culture of those who made it – an honest expression of the times, which go in cycles outside the sound not dissimilar to the ones within it.