Welcome to ExtratoneXYZ. This site has been sharing Extratone-related news, links and information since 2020.
What is Extratone?
Extratone is the fastest style of electronic music in the history of forever and ever.
So how fast is that? What does that sound like?
When the drums are fast enough to form one continuous “tone”, as opposed to individual “beats”, then it is Extratone. It makes a really nasty buzzing, whirring, and sometimes squeaking sound. Not simply fast, but fast-beyond-fast, smudging the border between sound-frequency and musical-tempo.
Extratone is not defined by some arbitrary tempo, and it isn’t necessarily related to Speedcore, with some artists skipping over the kick-drums and producing the sound in new ways. DJ Balli of Sonic Belligeranza describes it very well here:
“I see 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. Extratone is, to me, also a nerdy sound connected to the square wave of 8 bit music. Extratone itself in fact can be a square wave itself.”
The BPM Meme
The above answer is not good enough for some people. Said people feel the need to attach measurements and big numbers to their songs to compare tempos. This is lame but understandable.
Some say Extratone begins at 1000 beats-per-minute. But at 1000bpm the music still just sounds like fast speedcore. A 500bpm track likely has several faster 1000bpm sections in it, there’s nothing new going on there. At 1000bpm you are still experiencing the high-intensity of speedcore plainly. Where things get interesting is in the faster sections of these 1000bpm tracks, where the drums are played at 2000 or 4000bpm. Then you touch on the continuous tone effect; and with it the contradictory absurdist character of Extratone. In some 1000bpm tracks, but never at 1000bpm.
If we must talk in terms of BPM, then you usually need a tempo of over 3000bpm to get the tone effect, depending of course on the drum used. 3600bpm is a figure that gets thrown about as the “real” lower-bound. This comes from the semi-mythical Belgian inventor of Extratone, Einrich 3600BPM.
The real power of 3600(BPM) is symbolic, it’s great for plastering on posters, stickers, in track titles or artist-names. It only has meaning to people already in the know; it is the equivalent of the Anarchists saying 1312 or Fifth Era with ‘65 66 65’. In plain English it could roughly translate as “Always underground. No holding back, no compromising to mainstream tastes.”, distancing itself from the more friendly “Extratone” hovering in the 1000-2000bpm region. This and not this.
Though Ian Garside’s 1000+ Netlabel contributed to the popularity of the 1000bpm meme, he personally defined Extratone as starting at 3600bpm; even sharing Einrich 3600BPM videos on the 1000+ Tumblr. He described 1000+ as a Speedcore, Noise and Extratone label, so there is no contradiction here. 1000bpm was a more pragmatic cut-off point, the scene was then too small to be gate-keeping! He hinted to me that 1000BPM was more inclusive, as some artists did not have the tools to so easily reach 3600bpm; relying on weird tools like Nintendo Gameboys (I have no idea how this works!) to sequence their tracks.