What’s that Genre? #2: Gabber

Seen as the edgier, alternative younger brother of Amsterdam, Rotterdam has always been synonymous with new movements and rejecting the mainstream trends of it’s older brother. Which gives you the perfect contextual background when it comes to the conception of this week’s subgenre.

Gabber music sprang to life at the beginning of the 90s in Rotterdam and was a reaction to what was seen as the ‘snobby and pretentious’ Amsterdam house scene. Itself also a house variant, Gabber is characterised by it’s harder elements. Both tone and speed are intensified with bpm’s generally sitting between 150-190, with perhaps the most recognisable attribute of the genre being the use of heavily distorted bass drum samples. This gives the bass drum an almost melodic quality which can change pitch throughout the track.

The term ‘Gabber’ is derived from a form of Dutch slang called ‘Bargoens’, which loosely translates to ‘friend’ or ‘mate’. It was coined following an interview with a famous Dutch, who was asked to comment on the new, harder Rotterdam scene. Subsequently the term was adopted by one of the genre’s leading members, DJ Paul Elstak and stuck from there.

Listen to: DJ Paul Eltsak, Angerfist, Gabba Front Berlin, Evil Activities

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