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“DKANDLE weaves swirling multi-colored vibrant unearthly soundscapes, blending fuzzy and reverberating Shoegaze textures, mesmerizing Dream Pop meditations, sludgy Grungey tones and moody Post-punk strains, heightened with soul-stirring lyricism and pensive emotive vocalizations.”

Originally published in the Rio Fanzine column, from the newspaper O Globo

Denis Kandle

Collaborated with Tom Leão

TAGS: culture, music, electronic music, underground

Forget everything you've ever heard of noisy music. Nothing - absolutely nothing - compares to the weight of gabba. It's the electronic version of hardcore (well, considering that hardcore can be both punk and techno or jungle nowadays). And even though it might seem so, the name wasn't inspired by the war cry of the Ramones. But deep down, they have a lot in common.

The scene isn't that new: it began to emerge by 1992, during the techno boom in England. However, it developed stronger in countries like Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands; gradually attracting fans from other European countries. The initial beat was extracted from a techno song by Joey Beltram, "Mentasm," released in European raves between '91 and '92.

But only now are the English, for example, starting to pay attention to the style. One of the biggest proofs is the new London gabba party Harder! Faster! Louder! (heavy, fast, loud, like the punks/hardcore in Rio used to enjoy during the loud/fast/speedcore times), which is catching the attention of magazines specializing in underground culture - and consequently, various readers. For all these reasons, it's not wrong to state that gabba is a faster and more extreme version of the already ultra-fast hardcore techno. Just with a hint of metal. It's the rave equivalent of thrash. With beats ranging around 180 to 250 bpms!

Gabba is basically the ultra-fast repetition of electronic beats, with completely altered - and most of the time unrecognizable - samples from bands like Black Sabbath, Pantera, Fear Factory, etc.

It's not exactly techno, apart from being electronic: it's much faster and heavier. And it's not exactly rock: the musical language is quite different. It's madness.

The fact that heavy rock band guitars are sampled doesn't make the result sound like the conventional sound these bands make. These samples have no other purpose than to make the music as noisy as possible. Fear Factory, an American band, is a good example of a band that has flirted quite a bit with the style. They have already released several gabba versions, like for the song "New Breed (Steel Gun Mix)," for example.

Like every musical style nowadays, gabba also splits into sub-genres. There's basic gabba - more politicized, of which Atari Teenage Riot is a part; hardcore version - with violent songs and lyrics full of swear words; and happy hardcore - which uses the beat, but the lyrics are ridiculous and close to dance-pop. Needless to say, the most radical gabbers (including skinheads) hate the happy crowd. And fights are inevitable between the groups.

However, in general, rottenness prevails. Just ask artists of the genre like DJ Torture, DJ Cocksucker, DJ Fistfuck... These are just a few of the "cute" names that gabba DJs usually have. And the names of the songs aren't far behind. How about "Pussy Poison" (by DJ Fistfuck) or "Pump that Pussy" (by Original Gabber)? Others are more traditional, like "Headbanger" (Original Gabber), "Terrordrome" (High Energy), and "I’ll Show You My Gun" by Annihilator.

Gabba, whose term doesn't derive from "to gab" (speak rapidly), but rather from the Dutch street slang "gabber" (buddy, a way punks, hooligans, and skinheads address each other, like our "man"), has nothing to do with bands like Prodigy, for example. It's much heavier. And much more primal.

The music is so fast and loud that scene experts advise people to use ear protection when in a club, as the chances of hearing problems are enormous!

Some gabba classics include "Life of Destructor" by Ultraviolence, released in England in '94 - an essential album for anyone wanting to get to know the style; D.O.A., or "Disciples of Annihilation," which includes, for an idea, a song with samplers from Pantera's "Fucking Hostile"; compilations like "Hardcore Terror," "Hardcore Cyberpunk," "Terrordrome," etc. Just imagine all of this on top of a techno beat, three times faster! This is a typical example of the intense and nerve-wracking gabba world. Music only for those with steel ears.

So, what do you think of this rhythm? Is it too radical for your taste or do you listen to it at full volume? Comment below

previous page: DISGUISED JINGLES

Leon Theremin

From the beginnings to the present day

Glossário da Cena Musical

Bruno Privatti

Aphex Twin

Intelligent Dance Music


Edition #2
Rio de Janeiro, 1999


Electronic mayhem of the gabba rhythm grows beyond the borders of Europe and spreads.

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