The Formative Years – The “Drop”
Having been socialized with German punk rock in my early teenage years, the excitement and dangerous aspects I derived from the music I was listening to was to no small extent based on lyrical content and on how radical the messages were.
Long before the echo-chamber that algorithms of the internet provided, it felt easy to determine some simple genre-related guidelines, which minimized the encounter of unwanted surprises when it came to collecting punk rock records.
Things changed when I was exposed to hardcore and thereby bands that tore down the traditional, stale versus-chorus format.
While some bands merely indulged in the credo of “harder, faster, louder”, which was an appealing proposition in itself, the lion’s share of bands I discovered excited me with their more dynamic songwriting and focus on rhythm instead of melody, as it offered a new level of intensity, specifically when it came to unpredictable abrupt tempo changes and the abrasiveness of the vocal delivery.
Things got interesting musically, when hardcore bands incorporated thrash elements as far as high output pickups, bass heaviness and D Beast drumming components were concerned, culminating in the joy that put a smile on my face nearly every time I encountered it: The wonderful effect achieved by guitarists letting chords ring out, halving the time signature, often accompanied by the trademark four clicked precursor and mayhem that ensued after, i.e. the glorious mosh part.
The mid-nineties saw a transition of hardcore bands infusing their musical emissions with lower tuning, percussive focussed pedal tones, double bass drumming, blast beats and slow passages that elevated the intensity of the mosh parts to new heights.
At around the same time, my musical horizons broadened and apart from delving into Kraut rock, hip hop and through my girlfriend at the time and much to the horror of my peers, I explored EDM.
I found it fascinating that what she referred to as the “drop”, was not only very similar in nature to the mosh parts I loved in hardcore punk, but through the opportunities that electronic music offered, the moment where tension was released could be calibrated to perfection.
While the absence of a “message” was at first a deterrent in my juvenile hardcore punk mind, going to hip hop shows raves and experiencing the energy released when after monumental build-ups as bass and rhythm hit hardest, was a joy that was reminiscent of the glory of a well-executed mosh part. No matter the genre, it was providing the sound to becoming ignorant in the best way possible.
Over the years, the “drop” has remained when it comes to finding music appealing after the first listen – no matter if it was the shuffling beat that follows a full bass line in dubstep, the bounciness that ensues when main melodies converged on the foundation of a syncopated bassline in house music,, when beatmatching tracks where lead towards a synchronised climax in DJing or the monstrous breakdowns bands of the metalcore genre these days fabricate.