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What Is Glitchcore?

Aaron Meeks

6 Aug 2022

Too many genres! Just too many. Apparently Glitchcore has been around since the 90s but I never heard the term before and frankly I wish I still hadn't. There's a limited footprint in my brain dedicated to genres and I've got a feeling Glitchcore isn't going to make the long term list. Apparently it incorporates elements of Hardcore, Speedcore and Breakcore with a smattering of Darkcore, Apple Core and Al Gore. One of the most prominent figures in the movement is a gentleman called DJ Scud and, honestly, that says about all I need to know about the genre. To throw an unwanted spanner in the works rateyourmusic tells me that DJ Scud is actually more involved in Raggacore but I'm cored out so we'll save that for another time.

So what the hell is Glitchcore? From my assessment it's a fairly loose category of electronic music defined mainly by both an industrial undertone and, most importantly, excessive use of digital sound effects and pitched up digitised vocals. Apart from that the overarching rhythms and compositional styles can fall in to one of many more mainstream electronic genres but often Drum and Bass, Techno or Hyperpop. Much of the Glitchcore I have heard seems to play on the idea that the production could be the output of an AI currently going through some internal meltdown. Vocal effects are often reminiscent of (here's the comparison you've all been waiting for) a glitching computer system. He shoots, he scores!

I want to make it clear I am not an authority on Glitchcore. Don't @ me. There are, I'm sure, thousands of hardcore glitchers out there all too ready to shut me down and recite the glitchcore mantra and handbook to you. Fortunately they are unlikely to be reading an article titled What Is Glitchcore so I'm safe and you, I'm afraid, are stuck with my interpretation and opinion.

The hardest thing with these niche and often vague subgenres is that their definitions seem to be subjective. The eminent Mr Scud is indeed cited as one of the big names in Glitchcore but in reality nothing I have listened to by him seems to really stress the core indicators of the style. Glitchcore playlists are so varied, frequently lack cohesion and I struggle to really find the big players in the game. Is this a case of nouns for the sake of nouns? Possibly. Regardless, am I likely to use the term to describe an incredibly specific nuance within a particular song by an artist not normally described as glitch? Probably.

I think what I have learnt here is that my understanding of how genres should be used in language is in need of a development. I don't think an artist necessarily needs to be producing glitchcore for extended periods and then wear the label on their sleeve. I do think, however, it's an interesting term that will help describe the use of certain effects over an already recognised electronic style. The hardcore glitchers are probably pouring their Mountain Dew over their gaming keyboards in frustration now but, you know what? I don't care. Peace.

What Is Glitchcore?