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DJ Slipmatt at Ravelation NYE, 1996

In the early ’90s, one strain of U.K. breakbeat spawned the relatively sophisticated, moody sound of jungle; another decidedly more pop-oriented thread morphed into the brightly-hued music known as happy hardcore. With its 160-bpm breakbeats, chunky piano chords and all-around feel of childlike joy, it was ’93’s Slipmatt-produced “SMD#1” that arguably set the template which brought the sound to the dayglo masses.

Thanks to its cartoonish goofiness, the genre was derided by some (okay, many) at the time—but, the music was undeniably fun and hugely popular, spawning such synapse-tingling tunes as DJ Morph’s “Only Love” and Fat Controller’s “In Complete Darkness.”

This clip of a Slipmatt set, shot at a massive New Year’s rave at Wembley Arena, comes a year or two after happy hardcore’s prime era, but it’ll still illicit a twinge of wistful nostalgia from those who were there.

- Bruce Tantum

Raw Footage | 12 minutes | 1996
Credit: Top DJ Room

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