In the 21st century, the underground credo of most musical forms can be validated, not by the amount of big media airplay, radio and video coverage, but by the lack of it. Those musical forms that, once upon a time had any underground credibility, have all but become tired and calculated machinations of the maintream media. The once shining beacons of D.I.Y. ethos, namely Punk, hardcore and extreme metal music have all been usurped and adopted by big labels, corporate media and the advertising machine.
Enter the new underground: Breakcore; receiving no airplay and media attention, Breakcore is truely the new punk, a middle finger raised to pop music and its derivate musical variants.
Hence, I bring to you, the top most groundbreaking breakcore albums, in the short history of the genre:
1-Alec Empire – The Destroyer (1996)
It is a widely acknowledged fact that Alec Empire released the first breakcore album, by combining the distorted sound of his other invention: digital hardcore (previously explored in his own Atari Teenage Riot band), with high speed Amen-break-based drums-and-bass percussion in The Destroyer album.
The idea was to take the sounds of drums-and-bass electronica to a new noisier, grittier, harder and faster level, creating a completely new genre. More than 10 years later after this album was released it still sounds like it was decades ahead of its time.
2-Squarepusher – Feed Me Weird Things (1996)
Unlike Alec Empire, Squarepusher intention may not have been to invent a new music genre with his spastic jazz-meets-drums-and-bass album, but the drum break work in Feed Me Weird Things is so extreme, frenetic and revolutionary, that this album single-handedly pushed other artists like Aphen Twin to new heights of drum programming virtuosity and tempo, influencing an entire generation of future breakcore beatmakers along the way.
3 – Venetian Snares – Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett (2005)
The work of prolific Canadian virtuoso Aaron Funk and the term ‘breakcore’ go hand in hand. In his 2005 album “Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett”, Venetian Snares mixes of sounds of violins and string quartets with incredible complex and cleanly executed high speed breakcore. This is one of those groundbreaking releases that put breakcore in the map as a true artistic genre.
4 – Bong-Ra – Soldaat Van Oranje (2006)
Bong-Ra is the performing name of Dutch breakcore musician Jason Kohnen from Utrecht. Formed in 1996, initially producing and DJing jungle music. Previous to Bong-Ra Jason Kohnen performed as bassist and drummer for stoner/doom metal band Celestial Season amongst others.Kohnen’s style contains a variety of crossovers and fusions of different genres, including metal, gabba, jazz, rave, and jungle, becoming one of the front runners of the breakcore genre, sometimes credited as “yardcore” or “raggacore”, blending reggae and ragga with breakcore.
5 – Drumcorps / Aaron Spectre – Grist
Aaron Spectre is a Bostonian (who used to reside in Berlin) that has taken breakcore to a new level by using grindcore guitars and vocals in the studio and in live shows to push the genre in a new direction.
Aaron sums up the whole movement in a 2006 XLR8R article: “To complain about a lack of innovation means you’re just not listening in the right places. There’s no shortage of creativity in sight.”
6 – Kid606 – The Action Packed Mentallist Brings You the Fucking Jams (2002)
Years before Girl Talk was a gleam in Gregg Gillis’ eyes, Kid606 was making demented and subversive mashups of pop tunes using Reaktor to the tune of Breakcore beats.
7- Datach’i – The Elements
Although Datach’i’s music doesn’t exactly qualify as breakcore, his beats and sound design work are so incredibly frenetic that his work just blows away in intensity what passes as breakcore these days.
If anyone thinks that beats couldn’t get any faster or complex than Venetian Snares or Squarepusher.. listen to Datach’i!
8- Shitmat – Grooverider
Shitmat is the performing name of Henry Collins, a breakcore artist from Brighton. His music is largely based around the Amen break, Gabber, Plunderphonics, jungle and drum ‘n’ bass.
His music, sometimes referred to as “Mashcore”, is known for the humorous use of samples atypical of “serious” Drum and bass artists and deliberate use of musical clichés.
9 – DJ Donna Summer – To All Methods Which Calculate Power
Jason Forrest, also known as DJ Donna Summer, is an electronic musician working in a variety of forms. His sample-based music has been a pioneering force in the experimental music community, and he has been credited as being a pioneer in the emergence of the Breakcore genre.
10-Hecate – Brew Hideous
“Hecate born Rachael Kozak and currently living in Basel, Switzerland is keenly aware of status as a female label owner and artist in a male-dominated scene; sex is a major theme in her work, along with death and the occult. One of the most extreme examples of Hecate’s aesthetic is Nymphomatriarch, an album made entirely out of recordings of herself and Venetian Snares having sex on their two-week tour in 2003.”
11 – Genghistron – Board Up The House
Genghistron is a groundbreaking three piece Brooklyn-based metal band that has done away with a drummer and bassist, adopting breakcore beats via Ableton Live, as a sonic accompaniment to their various types of synth and metal guitar mayhem. Their music includes elements of IDM, power noise, doom, industrial, ambient, and grindcore. Genghistron is signed to alt-metal label Relapse Records.
A special mention goes to Airborne Drumz, a great unsigned breakcore artist from Russia, you can listen to and grab his music from his Myspace page here