[9 July 2007]
PopMatters Interviews Editor
Apparently, girls love breakcore. And if David Wang has his way, you will too.
Here’s the crash course: breakcore is a subgenre of electronica that is centered around aggressive drill-n-bass (think Aphex Twin’s harder moments) compressed into an instant-satisfaction pastiche like a DJ “break” record (a compilation of usable/sample-ready drum breaks from other artists). Breakcore is IDM at its poppiest, jungle at its heaviest, all while retaining a very distinct sense of humor. In other words: if your dance songs aren’t fast enough for you, then get ready for a triathlon.
The man who fires the opening shot at this race is David Wang, here using his Mochipet moniker. Wang knows laptop manipulation well (with skills that rival glitch-masters like Oval and Mouse on Mars), having previously released genre-expanding mash-up mixes on top of his own experimental keyboard madness. Yet nothing could have prepared us for the level of chaos displayed on Girls Love Breakcore. Tracks like “Hyphycore” sound like a computer motherboard shoved into a blender that’s set on frappe. It’s relentless, nonstop, and has a BPM count that puts Moby’s “Thousand” (the Guinness World Record-holder for Fastest Song Ever) to complete shame. Some of these tracks are almost completely without melody, focusing more on the chaos than any sort of pop standard. Even “Wafflecore” has melodic bass underlyings to a song that’s basically a dead ringer for Squarepusher’s “Come on My Selector”. Such a comparison wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that a few other songs follow the exact same pattern (particularly “Tumbacore” and “Botan Ricecore”). There’s nothing wrong with showing off one’s versatility, but we don’t need the exact same example trotted out time and time again.
Fortunately, such moments are few. The moments when Wang incorporates larger outside influences, he strikes digital gold. The first full-length song on the record is “Justin Timberlakecore”: a track that apes and gleefully parodies the synth-heavy Timbaland productions that the ex-boy band hunk has gained acclaim for. The song features faux-falsetto singing, a “guest rapper”, and a stop-and-start pop beat that eventually rises to a double-time, rave-like climax with everything restrained to a regular dance-pop structure, while still allowing Mochipet to pepper the build with drum hits galore. It’s a fantastic style parody that’s as funny as it is danceable. The same sentiment can be said for “Flappercore”, which rides a bouncy foxtrot bassline that gradually lets in horns and other fantastic Roarin’ 20s details. Elastic synth plunks and slight DJ scratches are thrown in as well, before updating the drums gradually, shifting from simple trap-kit taps to full-on techno beats. It’s almost as if Wang is challenging himself with these obscure samples, and more often than not he hits massive home runs.
The album remains more of a compilation than anything else, as there’s not much coherency from track-to-track. The bass-heavy drill dance of “Donkeycore” bleeds right into the Buddy Rich Combo-on-fire vibe of “Clarinet Core” without much rhyme or reason. A track like the playfully creepy “Toy Piano Core” stands completely by itself, riding on a fantastic hip-hop foundation (and oddly sounding like the Kidz Bop take on Cypress Hill’s “Rock Superstar” before it descends into hard-rock madness). The breakcore revision of D4L’s “Laffy Taffy” (here retitled—you got it—“Laffy Taffy Core”) completely cops the original rap hit because its beat is so simple. From those humble beginnings, Mochipet turns it into a visceral avalanche of chaos, proving that no genre is ever free from David Wang’s schizophrenic revisioning (and a track like “Beijing Operacore” needs to be heard to be believed).
Again, as an album, this isn’t a unified statement: it doesn’t set the bar for what breakcore is, but it is certainly the most entertaining introduction to a genre that tests the extremes of both structure and form. Though at times redundant, Girls Love Breakcore proves to be a fascinating false statement: breakcore isn’t just for girls—it’s for anyone who wants their dance music with a bit of crank.