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UK hardcore is a genre of music which evolved from and incorporates sound elements from happy hardcore. UK hardcore has a characteristically "harder" style by its "thicker" harsher bassline, as well as less of the breakbeat associated with the happy hardcore music of the 1990s.
Early hardcore producers evolved in a period where techno was developing a harder edge, exploring the complex breakbeats that would later manifest themselves as jungle and the subsequent development of drum and bass. The stylistic influence of techno including the movie, cartoon and media samples, and powerful synthesizer-based breakdowns characterised this earlier form of UK hardcore.
With the diversity in sound available to producers rising with the onset of progressively more advanced computer and music production systems, electronic music was evolving at a rapid pace during this period. Hardcore, techno, and drum and bass began to split during this intense period of creativity, spinning off the genres ragga and darkside.
The United Kingdom-based rave hardcore scene of the 1990s encompassed several native styles through the years, techno and hardcore being the respective dominant genres in the North and South of the country for much of this period.
Happy hardcore evolved from hardcore music in the early 1990s. Its characteristic 4/4 beat "happy" sound distinguishes it from most other forms of hardcore. The term 'UK hardcore' refers to the evolution of the happy hardcore sound and is not a general term for hardcore (gabber or techno) that comes from the UK.
Through a combination of factors, hardcore had taken a new musical direction towards the latter half of the 1990s. It now had little musical resemblance to its origins, generally becoming more vocal-based and at times producing cover versions of popular songs. This sound attracted a younger audience in the UK. Elsewhere at this time, this particular sound had found a new worldwide audience in places such as Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States.
Producers looked to regenerate the United Kingdom rave hardcore music scene towards the end of the 20th century, taking influence from many different styles whilst trying to leave the late 1990s happy hardcore image behind. Their sound was called UK hardcore; it has seen new producers enter the scene. This current sound similarly has also found followers from all corners of the globe.