Down The Rabbit Hole With Breakcore / Jungle - What Is It & Why Is It So Nostalgic
The Rabbit Hole Begins
Breakcore was a relatively new & exciting rabbit hole for me to fall down recently after watching this video:
From about 4:20 mins in, it starts to go wild and my neurons begin to fire like never before. The splicing of this ethereal neo futuristic jungle coupled with the glitch visuals fizzed and exploded my brain into a similar territory Synthwave brought me to in 2016, the situation which started up this entire platform. It was then that it dawned on me... I grew up with this stuff.
Do you remember the old-school PlayStation 1 & 2 games with the cool jungle tunes in the 90's? Pretty much all games had them. You'd come back after school, load up your PS1 on your CRT TV & play. You'd play for hours soaking up all the visuals, the jungle tunes. Sometimes when things get too much, I load up my PS1 & start playing all the games I did as a kid, it feels like home and it's a place of comfort. Take a listen to these bangers:
This was further accelerated in the 2000's with the rise of the Y2k aesthetic, or Kaybug / Cybercore. It comprised of these clean, pure, utopian, alien otherworldly visuals with glass, chrome & neo futuristic tones. This kind of art style was on the front of most PS2 titles and absolutely proliferated the early 2000s. It gives you a sense of hope & optimism. This was then followed up with the Frutiger Aero era towards the late 2000s.
So where does modern Breakcore fall into this? Modern Breakcore is a bit of an open book, but mostly, it takes homage from the D&B, Jungle & Break genres, while infusing the ethereal sounds of the 2000s. It began in the mid 90's and has since evolved. Infusing Industrial, Hardcore, Techno & Jungle. Although its usually characterized with the amen break, along with glitching, it has evolved beyond this with some really cool tunes.
It can sound ethereal & jungle & be quite tame just like the old-school gaming titles, or, it can be aggressive, experimental and hard-hitting pretty much going into Speedcore territory.
What I love the most about this genre is that, although there seems to be some general rules, its quite an explorative genre where many people who fall down the rabbit hole are sure to find a vibe that suits them. Here are some artists I've found who each have their own kind of style within the Breakcore rulebook.
For me, Breakcore is a gateway, it has allowed me once again to become excited about an area of music that I guess many would call niche and maybe too fast paced for most peoples tastes, however, it's simply an evolution from the sounds we all grew up with. Just like how Retrowave broke off into its own sub genres such as Outrun, Synth-Pop & Darksynth, Breakcore is a gateway to many flavours of the D&B / Jungle / Break rulebook.
Here is a pretty awesome Breakcore mix on YouTube to sink your teeth into. There are tons, each with varying styles, so maybe there are other mixes you will enjoy more.
Here is a cool playlist on Spotify if that's your preferred rabbit hole enabler:
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