The Middle Section of a Hardstyle Song

I'm usually a person who happily dismisses music on listening to the first thirty seconds of a song. This means, however, that I've been having huge problems with hardstyle.

I've been downloading a bit of the genre recently in a random, newest-torrent search on some vaguely illegal sites - I'd make that a proper esoteric research method if I thought I could get away with it. And what's surprised me is how intricate and interesting the melodies are, how well-crafted the harmonic progressions, how dynamic and hook-filled the songwriting. It's, quite simply, good pop.

But, interestingly, not all of it. Only a bit in the middle.

Here's a fairly extreme example:

Activator - Activator [Youtube link with download option]

There's absolutely nothing resembling melody at all, only rumbling kickdrum surrounded by percussion and spoken commands, until about 3:19 in.

Then suddenly there's this flowering of hooks, synth instruments vying for attention, dramatic buildups, symphonic stabs, trance-bleeps meeting the highest level of R&B euphoria, a huge hi-nrg winddown, all changing, swirling, supported by well-crafted percussion programming. Then at 6:00 it all stops and returns, absurdly, to just the beat. Wow.

This shit obviously cries out for a re-edit of some sort.


w&w said...

just a quick reaction, cos i'd obv have to sample more of this stuff to say, but isn't possible that the percussion parts are made that way to be DJ/mix friendly? i mean, these aren't necessarily thought of as standalone tracks, or are they?

Birdseed said...

Good question, and to a certain extent definitely (not). But I've got some megamixes of the stuff and the melodic bit of every track always enters half-way, they always do other stuff first. First it goes hard, then soft, then, I guess, sort of hard-soft.

The dropout/bridge of other electronic music is probably a better analogy, but you've got to wonder why they save up quite so much of the content of the track 'til later. When e.g. Timbaland or TC (or Mozart, I guess) does it it's usually because they're brimming with creativity, but this seems a lot more standardised.

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