Happy hardcore, 4-Beat or simply UK hardcore has been causing a huge stir once again in the last two or three years.
It’s a genre that mutated from the early days of acid house, hardcore and jungle and borrowed many features from not only its predecessors and parallel styles en route. Initially born from breakbeats and steady kickdrums before speeding up rapidly, adding tons of new ideas, hardcore has been through as many dark chapters as it has happy ones.
When it comes to DJ Gammer and Darren Styles’ recent shake-up of Jack U – Where Are U Now?, hardcore is definitely in a happy place.
It’s certainly nothing new to take a pop tune and propel it into a totally new genre, although what Gammer and Darren Styles have done here is showcase their amazing creativity. The level of detail in their production is second to none. So much so Skrillex and Diplo elevated it from ‘cheeky bootleg’ to ‘official remix’.
Bootlegs, unofficial remixes and indeed official remixes have always been a huge part of jungle, drum & bass and hardcore since way back when. Borrowing parts, sampling them to death and coming up with something totally different is what makes underground dance music especially interesting.
Whether Gammer and Styles’ remix is your first experience of hardcore or a throwback to your early days of raving here are five more interesting examples that demonstrate the close relationship between hardcore and everything house, drum & bass and beyond.
Sedders (DJ Seduction) – Want To Be Free
Sample: Deniece Williams – Free
From its 1976 soul roots to a classic happy hardcore tune from legendary producer DJ Seduction. This is one of thousands and it didn’t just apply to the happy hardcore scene, the jungle and drum & bass scenes obviously did its fair share of sampling with this soul classic.
DJ Stretch & Teebone – U Make Me
Sample: Janet Jackson – Gone Until It’s Gone
Janet Jackson’s Gone Till It’s Gone was timestretched into a mishmash of breakbeats and Ray Keith style effects in this effort from DJ Stretch & Teebone back in 1998.
DJ Gammer Feat. Becci – Look Back (Original Sin Remix)
Original Sin’s re-lick was provided as a free download a few months ago and is still up for grabs. You’re no doubt familiar with his trademark sound but this really does show off his versatility as a wicked producer. A perfect combination really suited for those long summer days but also one that would fit nicely into a big jump up set.
Dougal & Eruption – I’m Gonna Get You
Sample: Bizarre Inc Feat Angie Brown – I’m Gonna Get You
Bizarre Inc’s classic was a 1992 UK house anthem. In 1994 this became one of the earliest happy hardcore tunes. And it still stands the test of time even in 2015. Listen all the way through and it’s still got that lovely element of breakbeat to it.
DJ Pooch – 31 Seconds
Sample: Origin Unknown – Valley Of The Shadows
Blatant bootlegs don’t much more ridiculous: or illicit. Ram Records rightly clamped down hard on Pooch’s unofficial remix and pulled as many copies from record stores all over the UK as possible. I will never forget standing in my local record shop – Vinyl 2 U – and seeing the record literally being recalled from people’s hands.
Danny Byrd Feat. Liquid – Sweet Harmony
Sample: Liquid – Sweet Harmony
Championed by The Rat Pack in 1992, Liquid’s Sweet Harmony was no doubt one of the biggest anthems the rave scene had to offer and remained in DJs record boxes for months if not years and years.
Danny Byrd stayed true to the original and released an updated version in 2009 via Hospital Records. It was not only a fan favourite but original die hard 90’s ravers seem to take a shine to the production. Ideal for those big ‘hands in the air’ moments, Danny Byrd smashed it. (He told us the full story a while back, if you’re interested)