🌪️Subgenre Spiralling🌪️

Apologies for directionless article. Here I discuss the fastest music, the slowest music, and touch lightly on why Wikipedian subgenre-nerds make me cringe.


There is a pattern among listeners of "extreme" or niche musical genres of looking for increasingly obscure sub-styles and words to describe music with. This thinking leads to terms like "Supertone", "Hypertone" and "Flextone" taking off within Extratone circles, and this is of course in part what attracts Speedcore listeners to Extratone, and Gabber listeners to Speedcore. In this case, the trend is mostly towards higher and higher tempos.

On the opposite end of the tempo-spectrum, we have the exact same effect with "Slowcore" splitting from Doomcore, taking hardcore-techno subgenres to lower and lower BPMs. Low Entropy writes on a Bandcamp page:

"...some artists began to produce slower and slower tracks; this soon gave birth to the phenomenon known as "Slowcore". Tracks below 100 BPM, or 80 BPM, or 60 BPM, or even at 1 bpm (and slower?). Slowcore even has its own sub styles by now, such as Funeral Doomcore for very slow tracks, or Hadal Doomcore for even much, much slower tracks (think 1-16 BPM)."

This way of thinking - on either end of the spectrum - is quite limiting. Towards the extremes you will find some enjoyable tracks, but they're really only impressive in context of comparing-tempos and not in themselves. Supertone, when not played in a mix amongst other Extratone tracks, could easily be "mistaken" for noise or conventional high-pitched notes. Likewise a Hadal Doomcore track outside of a Slowcore compilation could be "mistaken" for ambient or drone music. This criticism is obvious to anyone who actually listens to music instead of categorising music.

On the other hand - context matters! Numbers that seem far-too-big or far-too-little are exciting! Supertone can't do much a distorted sine-wave can't do, but it gets its power from imagining the dizzying number of kicks being simulated every second, or (to me) from the imagined energy required to lift the music up from normal tones and into a Supertone section. Here's a cheeky tip: you don't actually need to use drums at all to get this effect. Indeed, as MG Mucus showed in The Spliff Tape, you don't really need to use drums to get the basic Extratone effect either. Now that is some XTRTN-Wisdom to keep to yourself. 🤫

You could pass this off as quiet Supertone.

All this said, I still think "Hypertone" is a stupid idea. Hypertone is about pushing the "tempo" beyond the frequency limits of human hearing - and typically beyond the limits of what the audio-file formats can actually capture. The result is you listening to... nothing! Of course you hear some sound, but tiny pops caused by rounding-errors in Audacity just aren't fun to listen to. Sorry. Pushing the limits of human hearing would be exciting, but that sound isn't actually even coming through due to technological realities. "Glitch art" better describes most of it. It ain't Extratone. Still, I do get some of the appeal. As I said, big numbers are exciting! So I'll write another post about Googology later, it is a much more interesting outlet for big-number-obsession.

Final "point" in this basically pointless post: Music is more than its tempo. Long story short: Extratone is NOT a subgenre of Speedcore. I cannot be bothered to explain why in this post, it's long enough already. Think for yourself.

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