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Gabber, gabba or early hardcore is a style of electronic music and a subgenre of hardcore. "Gabber" is an Amsterdam slang word of Bargoens and Yiddish origin (cf. chaver) that means "mate", "buddy", "pal" or "friend".
Although a house variant from Detroit reached Amsterdam in the late 1980s, it was the producers and DJs from Rotterdam who evolved it into a harder house variant which is known today as "gabber".
The specific sound of Rotterdam was also created as a reaction to the house scene of Amsterdam which was seen as "snobby and pretentious". Though house tracks from Frankfurt's Marc Acardipane were quite similar to the Rotterdam style, it was the popularity of this music in the Netherlands which made Rotterdam the cradle of early hardcore. The essence of the early hardcore sound is a distorted bass drum sound, overdriven to the point where it becomes clipped into a distorted square wave and makes a recognizably melodic tone.
Often the Roland Alpha Juno or the kick from a Roland TR-909 was used to create this sound. Early hardcore tracks typically include samples and synthesised melodies with the typical tempo ranging from 180 to 220 bpm. Violence, drugs and profanity are common themes in early hardcore, perceptible through its samples and lyrics, often screamed, pitch shifted, or distorted.
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