“It’s not about pounding kicks, but kicks so fast they have morphed into a tonal beast.”
“Extratone is basically a form of extreme sound art,” explains Rick, the London-based label head of Slime City when quizzed about the world’s fastest music genre. While we’ve covered extreme genres of high-BPM dance music in the past, in this case, the word “extreme” may be an understatement. Both in terms of tempo and sensory assault, extratone doesn’t push limits so much as explode them with brutal glee.
The genre regularly operates at a tempo of 1000 BPM. At this speed, usually-distinguishable units of sound like kicks or hi-hats become mere molecules within thick, brittle blocks of sound. Tracks don’t play so much as melt, shatter and reform as if undergoing reactions under intense pressure. Ricardo Balli of Italian label Sonic Belligeranza hits the nail on the head, describing extratone as “pure power/pure frequency that you clench in your fist, provocatively defying any hardcore audience you can imagine…It’s so hard that, in a way, it’s not hard anymore. Just like it is so fast that in the end it’s not fast anymore. I like this self-destructive component of this style, when beats get so fast you can’t detect them anymore, you experience, at the same time, aggressivity and chill.”
What you may think of as a randomly-deployed musical technique has turned into a verified genre, forging its own thriving micro-scene. If you want to see just how fast dance music can get, this list has done hardcore electronic music fans everywhere a service by compiling projects from key players in the extratone scene. Listen to a furious record by Gridbug above, then read the full guide to this fascinating genre over at Bandcamp here.