Various - Hardcore Nation Classics
Like Morris dancing and champion marrow growing, hardcore is strictly a niche interest, no doubt seen by many on the outside as a novelty. In case you thought you’d stumbled across DVD Times rather than CD Times, I should remind you this is hardcore as in “dance music” and not hardcore as in “adult viewing material”. Even if you can accept yes, some people really do like this crap, you may still need some convincing to believe that it has any function outside the confines of a “rave”. (The only possible exception being when it’s blasted from a 17 year old lad’s car stereo to draw attention to the fact that he’s passed his driving test. Or not.)
Indeed the first two discs here (featuring anthems from the early 90s right up to the present day) are unlikely to make the hardcore virgin want to get unnaturally sweaty and wave a pair of glowsticks around. This is music at its most unsubtle, tracks having ugly synths, not-so-veiled, cheesy drug references, and the sort of BPM that would have the Duracell bunny falling to pieces. Perhaps the most interesting thing is the rather “random” use of samples and cultural nods; check Cillit Bang, Boomstick and John Peel (Not Enough). Yes, John Peel really did play these sort of records. CD2 (Happy Hardcore) is supposed to consist of earlier material than CD1 (Hardcore). Generally speaking, you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference, although the best stuff comes at the beginning of the former, the frantic breaks provided by DJ Seduction and 2 Bad Mice (amongst others) in line with early Prodigy.
CD3 (Old Skool Rave), however, is undoubtedly rather peachy, at the very least proof "old rave" is better than "new rave" (a label which will surely be less enduring). The likes of LFO, Sweet Harmony and Let Me Be Your Fantasy still sound fresh and mightily uplifting today, as does Goldie’s Inner City Life, even if, to my knowledge, it doesn’t quite fit its designated category. Still, this is a genre that’s been more thoroughly compiled elsewhere, so perhaps doesn’t quite justify the purchase of two other CDs which are diverting at best.