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Darkcore or darkside is a music subgenre of breakbeat hardcore and jungle (not be confused with the more recent developments of hardcore) that became popular in the United Kingdom. It is recognized as being one of the direct precursors of the genre now known as drum and bass. Popular from late 1992 and through 1993, Darkcore was a counter movement to Happy Hardcore, which also evolved from Breakbeat Hardcore.
Darkcore is characterized by aggressive, often syncopated breakbeats; low frequency bass lines; and a strong 4-to-the-floor beat, owing to the subgenre's hardcore origins. Tracks are generally between 150 and 167 BPM, with 160 BPM being especially common. Many tracks feature dark-themed samples such as choirs, synthesizer notes, horror movie theme music, or cries for help.
As the style evolved, the use of horror elements was dropped as producers relied more on simple effects such as reverb, delay, pitch shifting and time stretching to create a chaotic and sinister mood. The use of time-stretching features on many tracks and gives a scratchy, metallic quality to some samples, particularly breakbeats.
^Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. Just as the commercial success of hardcore in 1992 had prompted the first wave of 'darkside' tunes, so the hipster vogue for 'intelligent' inspired a defensive, back-to-the-underground initiative on the part of the original junglists.
^Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. By late 1992, the happy rave tunes of 1990—1 were being eclipsed by a style called 'darkside' or dark-core;
^Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. Using effects like time-stretching, pitch-shifting and reversing, the darkside producers gave their breakbeats a brittle, metallic sound, like scuttling claws; they layered beats to form a dense mesh of convoluted, convulsive poly rhythm, inducing a febrile feel of in-the-pocket funk and out-of-body.
Reynolds, Simon, Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture (Picador, 1998). ISBN978-0330350563