Bouncy techno

Missing image
Bouncy Techno Anthems
(Rogue Trooper, DBMTRCD21, 1995)

Bouncy techno is a style of music circa 1993, that was influenced by the rave scene in Scotland and North East England where techno and gabber was widely played. This rave scene differs from that found elsewhere at the same time in Great Britain where Breakbeat hardcore was mostly played (that later spawned happy hardcore and jungle music). Bouncy techno is sometimes described as Scottish Hardcore by its locals.

With bouncy techno's wide range of style, from euphoric piano melodies to fast gabber kick drums, it is considered to as the link between happy hardcore and gabber music. By 1994, bouncy techno artists would produce their music for Dutch based labels. Elsewhere, bouncy techno was increasingly played alongside the breakbeat orientated happy hardcore that would influence the happy hardcore sound.



Typical characteristics for bouncy techno are for compositions to be around a tempo 150 to 190 BPM (beats per minute) using a 4/4 signature of 4 cycle segments, where different elements would be gradually layered into the mix. Compositions could sometimes suffer from rough bedroom type productions but consequently adds to its rawness and genre locality.

Drum instruments will be minimal, usually consisting of a hard kick drum, sharps open hi-hat, handclap, on-beat snare, ride and a splash cymbal, similarly of a Roland TR-909 variety. These would be arranged in a Detroit assemble with its characteristic flying hi-hats and frenetic handclaps. Tracks would be either instrumental or perhaps use a short single sample, cut and repeated through various points of the song.

This would be enforced with the all important bouncy part - an offbeat single keyed techno bass line (derived from Rotterdam Termination Source - Poing! (Rotterdam Records, ROT 004, 1992) and later widely used in commercial trance music), that all culminates to an inevitable synthesised hook line. Here, a chaotic single arpeggio of sucking or buzzing notes would gradually alter through time using resonance filters before everything is thrown into the mix and layered off accordingly. A second variance of the arpeggio likely occurs towards the last quarter of the track, ending with another bounce part.


Bouncy techno originated in Scotland and it developed from their techno movement via rave culture of that time. Bass X - Hardcore Disco (Shoop!, SHOOP 2, 1993) is considered to be the first record of this genre and includes all of the fore mentioned characteristics.

Produced by local artist Scott Brown, numerous other local artists would quickly adopt this sound format, with a chunk of records co-produced alongside Scott Brown under a plethora of aliases. Other artists at the forefront of the scene (working mostly under a variety of names) include Ryan Campbell, Davie Forbes, Marc Smith, Gordon Tennant and Vince Watson.

Noticeable local record labels include Bass Generator Records, Breeze Records, Jolly Roger Records, K.O.R.E., Notorious Vinyl, Q-Dup and Shoop!, along with Scott Brown's own Bouncy Techno Records, Evolution Records, Evolution Gold, Poosh, Screwdriver and Twisted Vinyl labels.

Development of Bouncy techno

Bouncy techno proved to be instantly popular in mostly Scotland and North East England, played alongside gabber at raves from 1993 to 1997. On the whole, sales of Bouncy techno proved popular in Australia, Germany, USA and naturally the Netherlands.

"The 12 inch vinyl releases almost enjoy legendary status in Australia, The Netherlands and Germany. The Scottish Techno sound has reverberated around the World..." - Mo's Music Machine (of Shoop! records distribution)

Concurrently, several Scottish artists would soon release this indigenous sound on Dutch record labels that normally specialised in their own locality gabber genre. As a result, the Bouncy techno sound would soon influence the foreign hardcore music scene of that time.

Noteworthy Scottish exported tracks on Dutch record labels include the debut Dwarf Records release from the aptly named The Scotchman - House Aggression (Dwarf Records, DWARF 001, 1994), DJ K.2 - Oblivian EP (Rave Records, RAVE 52ND, 1995), Hyperact - House Aggression (Dwarf Records, DWARF 003, 1994) and Technosis - Rushbins (Babyboom Records, BABY 006, 1995).

Elsewhere, happy hardcore DJ's based in the south of Britain would increasingly integrate bouncy techno into their DJ mix sets at their raves from late 1994, and this is widely considered the point where bouncy techno influenced the happy hardcore sound. The happy hardcore DJ and producer, DJ Vibes, mentions this evolution in an interview.

"Happy Bouncy Techno is Happy Hardcore with stronger drums. It seems to be the new happening thing at the moment" - DJ Vibes

Until then, happy hardcore was largelly breakbeat orientated with deep bassline subs, but by 1995 this was less emphasied and eventually dropped for the characteristic 4/4 predominant kick drum and bouncy off-beat techno stab; effectively, both styles were largely indistinguishable. The likes of English based label's such as Bounce!, Bouncy Tunes and Techno Tunes are good examples of this evolution.

With the UK hardcore scene in general becoming less popular by 1997 (considered to be the commercialism element with its poor cover versions), and with the scene in Scotland that spawned bouncy techno also declining rapidly into non-existence due to rave and club closures, the once very large movement quickly disappeared by the late 1990s.

Scott Brown would later launch a dedicated label called Bouncy Techno Records in 1997 to cater for the enthusiasts, whilst likely looking to keep the scene alive. Due to distribution problems, the label never released more than six different vinyl records and the local scene still dormant.

Bouncy techno in the 21st Century

Bouncy techno characteristics are still mangled somewhat in the current UK hardcore scene, though there has been demand from the enthusiast or follower disillusioned by the current scene, for a return of a bona fide sound in some form.

The essential 4/4 kick, hi-hat and tandem off-beat bass is still the favoured method for UK hardcore productions today. The originator Scott Brown is still very much involved at the forefront of both the current UK hardcore and foreign hardcore scenes.

The original bouncy techno anthem tracks, now over a decade old, are still very much in demand from collectors and new followers to the UK hardcore scene. It is not uncommon to find some vinyl selling for several times (20 to 50+ GBP) its original value on eBay and online record stores.

Essential records

In demand vinyl currently includes...

  • Bass X - Hardcore Disco (Shoop!, SHOOP 2, 1993)
  • Bass Reaction - Impulse (Shoop!, SHOOP 8, 1993)
  • The Scotchman - Mayhem (Dwarf Records, DWARF 001, 1994)
  • DJ Dell vs. Scott Brown - Acid Anthem (Evolution Records, EV 11, 1994)
  • Scott Brown - The Detonator EP (Notorious Vinyl, TNV 001, 1994)
  • Marc Smith - Pump Up The Noize (Clubscene Records, CSRT040, 1995)
  • 12U - Uro EP (Jolly Roger Records, JR 4, 1995)
  • Interstate - Lost Generation (Twisted Vinyl, TV 35, 1997)
  • Bass Reaction - Technophobia (Remixes) (Bouncy Techno, BT3, 1998)
  • Interstate - I Died In Aberdeen (Bouncy Techno, BT6, 1999)

Other terms

Happy gabber is the somewhat confusing (like most) term used mainly in The Netherlands to describe bouncy techno. This is more applied to their take on the sound (that differs little) via the likes of Dutch based labels such as Babyboom Records, Dwarf Records, and Pengo Records etc. Bouncy techno is however the original designation.

Bouncy hardcore is nothing more than an alternative name or a description to the original term, mostly introduced to fit in with the current UK hardcore lingo of the 21st Century.

Happy hardcore is sometimes used to describe bouncy techno but this is incorrect as both are two different sounding styles and more importantly created from two separate UK rave scenes during the 1990s. This error is likely due to happy hardcore becoming musically similar to bouncy techno by late 1995.

See also

External links

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