(Post-)Hardcore Continuum & UK Music Writing


op: i don’t mean to be mean m8 but you wouldn’t say any of this if you went to a post-dubstep night in London which if anything is more colonial and appropriative than hc continuum. totally white male, middle class with most of the girls being there being industry insiders. broken beat had more continuum genes/lineage compared to that stuff. i went to those nights around 2011-12 and i was one of the only brown guys there.

if u value auteur genius over collective expression and collective innovation then maybe idm would more be your bag but even then the UK guys have relations to detroit techno, electro and other black musics which u seem to gloss over. and yes it is absolutely about teleology, hence the whole subtext in reynolds’ thesis about jungle being a creole music of postcolonial miscegenation. how isn’t ending white supremacy ultimately teleological in some (tho not all respects?) Where you have a point is whether the nuum was relevant after grime.

don’t try and understand nuum through dubstep that was the photekification of garage (no bad thing as such, contra reynolds) but it is an incomplete picture. It’s like techno heads who will rate source direct but then dismiss 3rd party or remarc as juvenile and cheesy.

The post-punk comparison is apt cos it was a realignment of rock with black music, especially dub and disco. i mean, if you live in the US, u have to explain why around mid 70s the whole rock cannon got racially coded and say funkadelic was no longer a rock band, before u try and take down sr. no offence mate haha.


and simon has his weaknesses, but they are minor. for example like he doesn’t acknowledge that there was a rave techno after 92 till about 95/6 (and then even later with the brighton/edinburgh wonky sound) lumping it all under the intelligent banner.

but progressive house was truly awful. the reclamation of dance music by the leather trousers balearic massive. yuck.


i’d argue that actually the hc continuum ended up at deep tech in terms of crowds, scenes etc. i don’t like it (labels like strange static excluded) cos i prefer US house and UK garage. but actually the stuff i do appreciate is almost like a return to bleep n bass, the first attempts to synthesise reggae with house and techno. that oris j thing a few years ago sounds like it could have come out of sheffield circa 1990.


im listening to bruce not stochastic and it sounds like techno. just regular techno, nothing special about it, in fact compared to some jay denham stuff from the 90s its kinda conservative. you’re a nice lad though mate so don’t take offence if you read this.

Where as when i heard this

i had my mind completely blown even though if anything it’s a pirates tune.

i have a billy bunter darkside retrospective on the hd and he talks about reinforced being rugged/ruffist and so much experimentation and creativity. and he was a predominantly happycore dj. so really this idea that people didn’t consciously know they were innovating doesn’t hold water.

Randall talking about how terminator sounded like the future in interviews. that modernism ain’t just a white thing in fact i think it’s pretty reductionist to argue that black people can’t be modernists, er isn’t that doing a huge disservice to afrofuturism?


what? techno with UK aesthetics has existed since mid 90s check uglyfunk, mosquito, sativie, rag and bone, coin operated, touchin’ bass, etc… + holy ghost, subhead…

And this one, fuckin love it


with all that said batu was a badman in 2015 making some broken techno with darkside aesthetics i’m not sure if he’s gone more orthodox lately. i really like bruce post rave wrestle tho when he brings the four-four kick in it becomes less sludgy if he’d built upon the beginning and end of that tune and used a dub riddim it would go from good to great, some proper synaesthetic mego textures.


Thanks @thirdform for your input…being in the states, I only can get perspective from talking to people who’ve experienced this music firsthand. And speaking to the artists, I think they would agree 100% with your assessment of the nights you’ve been to (which ones btw? I’ve been focusing on No Symbols and the Timedance night).

To be honest, this is a project very much in development and while I appreciate you picking apart my different statements, I would also refer you here where I lay out the greater project remit and here where I have 45 track analyses from 2013-2017 that attempt to determine what makes this phases of music different (imo) from the post-dubstep period, which I consider lasting from 2009-2012.

“don’t try and understand nuum through dubstep that was the photekification of garage (no bad thing as such, contra reynolds) but it is an incomplete picture. It’s like techno heads who will rate source direct but then dismiss 3rd party or remarc as juvenile and cheesy.”

I’m honestly and politely laughing at this because where I would have likely disagreed with this six months ago, now, not so sure! The ‘photekification’ (great term) of the nuum has been a thread I’ve been tracking in particular in the piece I’m writing trying to offer up a summary of the nuum up to the present day (which has split off from the nuum in an infrastructural since and in its ethos as well).

And I used the Bruce example as something of an object test, as yes, I’d say techno is the general umbrella those songs exist under…but linguistically, it’s so insufficient to grasp the larger context I’m attempting to map (from a geographic distance, which has it’s pro’s and con’s). Sorry, I tied one off last night and this hangover has not let up yet, but did want to at least thank you for your feedback and try and demonstrate the larger story that this thread is only tracking part of (and has truly enriched my understanding, big ups).


Oh yeah, techno with UK aesthetics has been a preoccupation since getting into regis and surgeo ages ago and am failiar with a lot of these, but also plenty I’m not…LOVE touchin’ bass.

My point in that particular context is, much in line with your assessment of the Bruce track, that the criticism is similar to the ‘we’ve heard this all before’ that marked the wonky debates (and it was that difference of taste that really seemed to fuel so much of the discourse…)

Perhaps these Lurka tracks might better illustrate what I’m getting at but really, I’d just say that this is a microscopic area of a much larger paradigm shift that has changed how we talk about and understand the traditional functionings of scenes and genre. But that’s a debate for another day. For the time being…

As I said earlier, there is so much nuance from not being British that puts me at a huge disadvantage to write about this but fuck it…it’s what I really care about…and I don’t think I noted above, my entry into UK dance was 06 dubstep (I’m a scant 33yo) so yeah, realize I’m coming at it from another temporal direction, one I think is important cuz who it’s not like there’s been that healthy of a dialogue going on this decade (just stating a fact and one that this forum exists to try and start correcting, I feel…or that’s why I’m here). No opinions are final.


I think it’s not just about being British or not, but as an art movement that evolved and ‘continuu’ed’ for 20 years, documented by people there at the time, seen differently by almost everyone depending on an infinite bunch of varying minutia, the concept itself having various interpretations, it’s inevitably a slippery subject.

My interest is from a wider angle than HCC, that I think some of the things detailed above extend way beyond it, into many areas of the current moment. The ‘post-club’ stuff happening today for instance, existing as a kind of post-industrial ethos but having 0 genre definition at all (i.e, NON associated artists), also existing without a ‘name’. That said, the stuff Zurkonic points to is a much more tightknit and rooted in HCC core-values, mainly sticking to UK rhythms, club functionality, the mononymous artist names, etc. even if the sense of mutual direction and focal point is lacking.


I think this is pretty true to an extent. How people are connected and the kinds of messages they transmit are much more important than aesthetics. A lot of the stuff going out today isn’t really new, but is about who is doing it and why. In a way I think the way artists like Arca or Sophie present their music is kind of a continuation / end goal of what was going on through Glam-rock. Which is representative of the social revolution during early 70s and actually only fully coming to fruition now, politically, socially. From the 60s [velvet] ‘underground’ to an ‘almost mainstream’ today.

Then again, there are some important things aesthetics can provide and that is ‘new language’. Steve Reich’s personhood was not such a political act but he certainly provided a lot of new language for people to express (mainly modernism) through. On the flipside, when people generally disagree with the sociological reasons for creation, they dismiss the it with ease (even with many of the same properties), such as New Age music.

The form of language means nothing without the who, how, where, and why.


Well, are we in post-capitalism, though? I seem to remember Fisher categorizing this period as late-capitalism guided by a neoliberal agenda. No, of course Marx didn’t write about anything after capitalism but–and he inherited this from Hegel–his whole thinking was based around dialectical materialism and while he dropped geist (the historical spirit Hegel saw flowing through the history of humanity) he certain retained an ‘end of history’ mentality and that’s what I reject. I can’t get down with an intellectual framework that becomes a dogma in itself and its adherents are more worried about how their interpreting and adapting one body of text as it was obviously a super powerful set of ideas. And that’s where a lot of my and others’ misgivings about the HCC came in as, to be fair, Reynolds was trying to adjust and define in real time…trust me, re-reading all the different debates and academic papers about wonky from that period alone shows how myopic the whole argument got. Though I certainly get where the criticisms come from and I’ve been very keen not to bring up the Retromania argument in Simon’s thinking as I don’t consider it super productive to even dispute…it is super important to be cognizant of it though. Just the number of threads I’ve seen around here like 'Are House and Techno States" and “(Insert Genre) Futurity?” lines up with what I’ve been looking into in other field and mediums and that’s a general sense of anxiety over a lost of purpose (and, dare I say, ‘future shock’?:wink:

Anyhoo, hope that clears up the whole Marx comment…I would suggest reading Deleuze and History by Claire Colebrook to better understand this general philosophical difference.

I also hope my invocation of theory makes anyone think that I’m trying to dive up my own asshole. I truly could not agree more with this statement:

I’ve felt this way for a long, long time and it’s a feeling that gets confirmed more than rejected by what I see/hear. Surely the focus has to be the production/distribution now???

What does seem to get rejected tho is any discussion of it in settings like Twitter or Facebook so let’s talk about that because I think it’s super important. Was just reading a Parris interview with Beneath and he was talking about how his DJ’ign style is shaped by being ‘a raver’ (could we all agree there hasn’t really been ravers since the early 00s? at least that’s my opinion). And it got me thinking about the fact for as debated as dubstep was over whether it fell into the nuum, what I’m looking at is truly removed from it historically but not necessarily ‘spiritually,’ for lack of a better term (same with ‘tradition’ though I think it captures the dynamic more).

“A lot of the stuff going out today isn’t really new, but is about who is doing it and why.”

Nice and succinct point. Reading your analysis of Arca and Sophie…it’s interesting. Glam rock, like most rock genres, is such an attitudinal genre, as I don’t think musically they’re that similar, no? (NOT a glam rock fan, sorry…I grew up in rock, but with red state rock:(

But yeah, my approach to history has been largely informed by Foucault, Deleuze, Manuel DeLanda, and Braudel and the Annales school…I think we have to look at the material conditions in all their complexity and to step away from a purely anthropocentric model to one that at least looks to non-human factors when, say, cultural texts fail to offer a fully satisfying answer. And I’m all about using theory as a toolbox…I’m not about to throw the baby out with the bathwater…reading a Hegelian account of the contemporary avant-garde that’s fantastic rn…it’s just a matter of being flexible and dynamic, in my book at least.


Curious to hear y’all’s thoughts on this…just put it on but know most of the tracks and sense it’s a good representation of some recent highlights and Parris’ approach to DJ’ing:

Also, only finally came across these great interviews Beneath has been doing with artists related to his Mistry Muzik imprint and No Symbols night…

Just sharing:)


Interesting interview. Not heard the mix yet.

My thoughts as to why I don’t think this sound is really connecting yet and what changes might occur that could make it connect better are below. All subjective & shld be taken with the proviso that I’ve not listened to that much of the newest stuff from this school, & am reading a lot into the No Symbols iview. These comments are about this UK Techno kind of scene as a whole.

  • Tone is too similar. Broadly too dour.
    There are a lot of novel sound design techniques and stuff but a lot of it comes out sounding kind of similar, even if they are very different in terms of stuff like structure and beat patterns etc. Needs more diversity of moods and sound sources? Perhaps more relatively straightforward sampling? Occasional bait presets? (Kode9 always v interesting on how certain sounds or patterns make their way into different genres, like viruses or memes)
  • Not enough tracks being produced for dancefloor functionality.
    This is probably both because it’s a small new scene and there aren’t many active producers, plus possibly the tendency to include a relatively high amount of v experimental or otherwise not “easy” dancefloor tracks on releases. I do think the experimental angle is one of the identifying characteristics of this scene though so ppl might not want to lose that.
  • Too slow? Or perhaps too uniformly slow.
    Perhaps some more tracks at higher tempo, 140 say? This is totally subjective but I sort of feel like the mood here in the UK is fairly grim, working ppl and the unemployed have been hit quite hard. I feel like I need at least a bit of high tempo stuff when I go out to get my frustration out, maybe that’s shared by others. Wld not have to be universal change, bridging from 120 to 140 over course of a set isn’t that hard so cld be a more diverse scene tempo-wise than others?
  • More ‘rudeness’ needed.
    Put another way, try to make ‘future shock’ moments that are more about having a huge impact on the dancefloor. Rather than having stuff that is novel or interesting rather than effective.

A lot of scenes in the HCC have a lot of these characteristics of diversity of sound and tempo. Garage is v diverse on both counts, the hardcore / jungle nexus cld be considered a v diverse scene in itself, evolving to encompass different moods and tempo ranges (but then I’m sure others might want to argue that this is a sort of ahistorical projection on my part, not unfairly).

Grime and dubstep are both v diverse in sound, content etc, but tempo is rigidly 140. Perhaps this contributes to stagnation or the imposition of too many informal ‘rules’ about what the sound should be like (there has recently been discussion in grime circles as to whether it is stagnating or failing to capitalise on recent attention on the scene). But maybe it provides stability for them to endure as scenes without needing a stable and undiverse ‘mood’ to hold the scene together and give it some identity?

I love a lot of this music I should say. Ben UFO was v influential and I also started listening to dance music seriously around that tail end of dubstep and resulting fracturing. Livity Sound are a hugely important label for me, as are Hessle, Keysound & other labels that sort of attempt to work broadly in this HCC tradition. Maybe Swamp81 is still trying to bridge with more contemporary popular scenes while still remaining distinctive but they seem to be treading a lonely path. Maybe that’s just my disconnection from the recent stuff, the cutting edge, or less ‘heritage’ labels. But I don’t get the sense it’s fully working somehow. Maybe it’s just the changes in material circumstances and lack of that healthy HCC ‘infrastructure’ and community.

PS: I do like Parris a lot, love one of his releases, maybe on Keysound? I opened a mix with one of the tracks (the mix was called Depression 4 I think).


i read this whole thread today, it took me about uh 2 hours all together :sweat_smile: at least it felt like it

anyway in the good tradition of obvious stated bias, i consider myself a libertarian socialist and very modernist and love all kinds of urban art movements like the hcc for sure (big ups to debord, bookchin, and fisher, rip all :pray:t3:) so ofc im biased towards @PiLhead. but i think something that none of ya mentioned, even simon yaself, is that you were already predicting the End of the 'Nuum, or at least, the 'Nuum in the form u theorized about up to that point, at that '09 conference with fisher. (emphasis mine:)

The role of the web has really started to seriously undermine the territorialism of the music, its localism. Until really quite recently it was quite hard to be into this music and follow it unless you’ve lived within its catchment area, meaning in range of the territorial broadcast of the pirates. You were dependent on mail ordering vinyl and mix-tapes at considerable expense and there was always a lag between what came out as recordings and what was actually pumping it out as the fresh, hot new music on the pirates. The prime of the Nuum, which I think was really from hardcore to the early days of grime, was pretty much pre-Web in terms of the internet actually having any real impact on how the scene functioned or on the nature of the music. I was thinking of how with my 1999 piece on 2step none of the labels or DJs or producers had web presence. I think I did one interview that was email and the rest was to mobile phones. Even with the early days of grime, 2002-2003, the music had hardly any web presence. I’m not sure 1Xtra existed then but certainly there was very little grime to be heard via the internet. The MySpace thing had not kicked off. Now though everybody has a Myspace, there’s millions of tracks up there on YouTube, there’s too many DJ sets and pirate radio sets uploaded on the web for you to process. Some pirates stream their broadcasts online, they have a dual existence that’s both web and terrestrial radio – Rinse FM is a good example. All the grime pirate radio sets I missed from earlier in the decade through living in New York are now being archived on the web! It’s insane. So now it’s about digital means of transmission, it’s about music in your phone. The music has been deterritorialised. And that changes the game completely. It could be the downfall of the Nuum.

The latest metaphor that feels potentially “true” to me is the idea of the Nuum as a star. The four-way collision of house/reggae/techno/hip hop was like the birth of a star. Which then blazed fiercely for a long, long time, throwing off lumps of gas that cool into planets (like drum’n’bass, happy hardcore etc). But the current phase of the nuum’s existence is like a dwarf star–I’m not too sharp on my astrophysics but I think the precise analogy would be with a white dwarf. i.e. still a fairly substantial stellar body and generating some heat but it’s used up most of its resources, and the future doesn’t look so bright for it. I’d love to be convinced out of this scenario though!

seems like you were more right then u thought :flushed:

(i’ve become so nuum, i cant feel funky being there :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)


Really interesting thread! Big time fan of the music you mentioned myself and am also pondering on how it all connects. I think the internet (as @weirdoslam mentioned through that quote) did open up a lot of boundaries or destroyed some earlier tendencies.

I might be going a bit off topic here, but as I feel like this discussion is rounding up it might be my time to chime in. If you feel otherwise, I’ll just start a new thread.
I was wondering how you view the tendency for contemporary underground culture to keep referencing pop culture. A lot of the deconstructed (shite term) or post-club like staycore uses loads of trance- or pop-references or even blatantly rips them (dinamarca) and puts them in an artsy setting by infusing some baile funk beats into it. Even at events in this genre it’s very normal to drop some semi-nostalgic pop/rock song whether it’s a remix or not. Even chart-topping hip-hop gets played (I get that there’s a cultural or musical link, but it always seemed like a hiccup in the flow of the sets to me).

Where genres of the HCC built an form of alternative collectivity - you had to be part of some in-crowd - these newer underground genres & events have no problems with commerciality and pop-culture. Maybe it’s my misplaced nostalgia for the HCC I didn’t get to live kicking in (I’m only 23), but I feel like these scenes stepped up and offered their listeners (albeit not always on purpouse with a political agenda) a literal alternative to the commercial, capitalist world of pop and daytime-radio. From the types music, through the organizations of events, to the distribution of music. A feeling of “were not taking part of this shitty world and this is our moment away from it”. Sorry if I’m over-romantisizing anything for the sake of my hyperbole.

The deconstructed scene, to me, has this active nihilistic vibe to it, as if it’s no longer worth to construct an alternative world or moment for people to step into, in the form of an event or party. I’m definitely connecting this (but I’m not yet sure how) to a nihilism attached to the whole TINA thing. How do you read in to this?


@crat Honestly I wonder if this has something to do with the queer-/gay-influence because to me most queer-/gay-culture is pretty mainstream too. Not all of course but the usual gay-disco still is. Maybe it’s a combination with this nihilistic druggy techno-thing (which I don’t like) because those artists experienced both?
I don’t know how it is in England but in Germany Nuum-related styles and scenes never really crossed queer-/gay-culture like maybe House, Techno, Trance … did.
Fuck Meth btw.


Yeah I was thinking about the queer-link aswell. Saw lotic play at a gayparty last year in Recyclart in Brussels and he kept on switching between beyoncé and heavy breaks. Really, really weird. I kept on seeing different parts of the crowd light up aswell, those that were there because it was a gayparty on beyonce and those that were there for lotic or both on the other parts. Still weird to me that such a progressive scene in terms of gender & race is so eager to play shite (I know - that’s personal) radio anthems though.

I don’t think much of the post-club stuff is that heavily influenced by techno though (though it’s eager to use the tropes of pretty much everything), and I don’t think that the techno-drug connection is nihilist in of itself. I do think the rise in popularity of chav-techno has brought along a lot of idiots that see it as the perfect opportunity to gurn their jaws out. But that’s maybe a discussion for another time.

Could you elaborate on how you see it connected to techno? To me it’s more in the spectrum of hip-hop, metal & post-dubstep? With artist balancing on the verges of the post-club scene like Loft even releasing on the above mentioned wisdom teeth.


this sounds in line with a topic that’s been central to me for a little while, and i’ve been thinking about starting a topic on the forum about, but tbh most the convo here has been relatively uniform and haven’t really had the moment to spark it.

what is the ‘underground’ for, at the moment?

in response to @weirdoslam, yes, the internet has played a part. But, although it seems 20-30 years too late, I feel there’s also a cultural phenomenon happening: the fall out of the ‘Post-Political’ era, since the fall of communism. Just as most political parties have given up political ideologies and have now sunk back into the position of mere moral crusaders, there seems there is no political reason for the underground to exist, as in, it’s not in opposition to anything. This is evident in @PiLhead’s summary of post-dubstep being mostly apolitical as a major difference compared with post-punk. The idea of subculture just existing as an island within a host culture seems fucking stupid to me. Most of us were alienated from something yet that thing seems intangible or unspoken, unintelligible.

As mentioned in many of my prior references, most the subversive stuff seems to be happening around black, queer, female artists, in opposition to their given identities. A lot of post-black artists (Dean Blunt, Gaika, NON) really saying ‘no’ to their attributed stereotypes, including the necessity of ‘black genres’ (such as perhaps those of the HCC).

There’s been much lamenting of the ‘white male culture’ today but this opposition hasn’t really opened up a revolt within that culture, it’s actually dug it in, gone back to ‘classical liberalism’, rather than give in to the need to reinvent the [collective] ‘self’. All this is evident in pop-culture for a while, with nothing really new coming through mainstream culture in at least 20-30 years, lots of flashback shit like The Strokes, Coldplay, french house, whatever the fuck.

I think it’s the right thing to do for the ‘underground’ to become interconnected with mainstream once more, and fulfil it’s purpose instead of laying dormant. The tendency the underground has shown in just shrivelling into it’s own self-reference really misses the point. Just look back to Dylan or Lou Reed interviews back in the day, these were fully fledged press conferences, and they had a need to be subversive, the mainstream actively pushed them underground, Genesis P Orridge was almost jailed. Today, try and find a TV interview (or even a Youtube interview (yes, with all that democratised capability!)) with most underground artists and you’ll be hard pushed to find something on most, and if you do, you certainly won’t find a mainstream interviewer trying to find out the artists intentions. It’s irrelevant.

One thing the underground is perhaps sticking up for, like the artists you mention, is a cross-pollination of different styles, regions, genders, creating a kind of ‘globalised sound’ rather than the exported globalisation of yesteryear (k-pop, regional rock, euro-dance, etc.). But if we look at mainstream politic (free trade, etc.) this is perfectly inline with neoliberalism. LGBT is pretty mainstream (for “leftist” parties) now too. I’m not saying I disagree with the importance of these beliefs, but there seems to be a lack of something to really oppose anything like the post-political status quo.

No ideology = no artistic intention = no provocation


No, you’re absolutely right that the to Techno is not that strong when it comes to music.
But maybe when it comes to the overall party-going-thing I think in Germany (especially Berlin) Techno and House is the normal thing now and can be seen as quite nihilistic too (especially when it meets gay partys and drugs like Tina). So maybe this kind of experiences could be an influence? (Of course I don’t know, just guessing.)


Not to me. People come together because of their sexuality in the first place. It makes sense that the music is more mainstreamish to include a broad range of people. That’s why House works fine I guess. You can’t do this with Dubstep or Jungle or similar styles.