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Based in Belgian New Beat industrial style of Techno, Techno music reached Amsterdam in the late 1980s, and it was the producers and DJs from Rotterdam in the early 1990s who evolved it, mixing it with industrial into a harder house variant which is today known as “gabber”. The specific sound of Rotterdam was also created as a reaction to the house scene of Amsterdam which was seen as “snobby and pretentious”. Though techno tracks from Frankfurt‘s Marc Acardipane were quite similar to the Rotterdam style, it was the popularity of this music in the Netherlands which made Rotterdam the cradle of gabber. The essence of the gabber sound is a distorted bass drum sample, overdriven to the point where it becomes clipped into a distorted square wave and makes a recognizably melodic tone.
Often the Roland Alpha Juno or the kick from a Roland TR-909 was used to create this sound. Gabber tracks typically include samples and synthesised melodies with the typical tempo ranging from 150 to 190 bpm. Violence, drugs and profanity are common themes in gabber, perceptible through its samples and lyrics, often screamed, pitch shifted or distorted.
Gabber and its subculture became highly popular in the Netherlands, where it eventually became part of mainstream Dutch popular culture in the 1990s. Gabber also had scenes abroad including in Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Italy. By the late 90s, it became less popular than the emerging gabber-influenced hardstyle[clarification needed]. After surviving underground for a number of years, in 2002 the style reappeared in the Netherlands in a new form, mainstream hardcore. The sound became more commercial, dark and industrial.