Although a house variant from Detroit, gabber music reached Amsterdam in the late 1980s, and it was the producers and DJs from Rotterdam in the early 1990s who evolved it into a harder house variant which is today known as "gabber". The specific sound of Rotterdam was also created as a reaction to the house scene of Amsterdam which was seen as "snobby and pretentious". Though house tracks from Frankfurt's Marc Acardipane were quite similar to the Rotterdam style, it was the popularity of this music in the Netherlands which made Rotterdam the cradle of early hardcore. The essence of the early hardcore sound is a distorted bass drum sample, overdriven to the point where it becomes clipped into a distorted square wave and makes a recognizably melodic tone.
Often the Roland Alpha Juno or the kick from a Roland TR-909 was used to create this sound. Early hardcore tracks typically include samples and synthesised melodies with the typical tempo ranging from 150 to 190 bpm. Violence, drugs and profanity are common themes in early hardcore, perceptible through its samples and lyrics, often screamed, pitch shifted or distorted.
The corrupting of digital data and physical manipulation of electronic devices has been a popular tool for creating distorted and spontaneous new adaptations of existing media files since the late 70’s. My first experience with hardware based glitch video production was in 2016 when a new friend, audio and video artist Bastien Lavaud, introduced me to his own adaptation of hardware that creates edge feedback and sync corruption on analogue video signals. Bastien was so kind as to pass on to me his schematic which allowed me to build my own hardware together with Jeremy Georges-Filteau. While I ran my first tests in Canada with a Fluxus developed by multimedia artist Drew “Big Pauper” McIntyre, the first time I presented my first glitch sequences was in my performance at the M HKA (Museum of Modern Art Antwerp).
One of my first tests shows a new adaptation of an excerpt from Gabber, a beautiful short documentary film that studies and celebrates the iconic subculture of Gabber.
Original schematic drawn by Phil Baljeu
Adaptation/ modification original schematic by Bastien Lavaud
Engineering by Jeremy Georges-Filteau
design, live performance, media theory