Yes, in addition to the revolutionary step of playing audio in reverse, you can radically alter music by playing it at half speed.

And so it is that Belgian gabber tunes many would fine unlistenable suddenly sound fresh, grimy, contemporary, and irresistible.

Who knows what other life experiences could be transformed by simply altering the speed? (Maybe we need to be half speed.)

Not embeddable, so listen here:
This Is Belgium: Conceptuele Post-Hipster Neo-Gabber By Radio Soulwax [Light Sound Dimension]

The “remixers” explain:

Even though these Belgian records sound very “now”, they are actually 20 years old and were meant to be played at a much, much faster speed. At the time this was the devil’s music for us, but we have learned to listen through the claps and distorted kicks and discovered that if you slow these really dark and heavy techno records down all the way to about 115 bpm, it suddenly makes them sound less frantic, ballsier and a lot sexier.

And, in the most unlikely Belgian Tourism Council slogan ever (but, seriously guys, this one’s free):
“Belgium at its best when pitched down.”

Best of all: the dancers are played back in slow-motion, also recreating authentic moves of the time. Watch closely, then reproduce them

I was just in the studio and a track grew out of playing back a synth lick at half speed, so … yes, I’ll now do this with everything. See you in three years when I release 16 GB of sample instruments with NI.

Belgium, man. Belgium.

  • seismologist

    Spin any drum and bass 12″ at 33rpm; Stakka and Skynet, Dieselboy, et al. It’s huge. We call it Half and Bass.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yep. Absolutely.

      Some weird but interesting things happen with the digital algorithms set to the wrong speeds, too. (Vinyl works better, of course. Digital is … interestingly unpredictable.)

    • krux

      new genre: halfass?

  • nullkommajosefh

    also interesting: slowing down music successively which causes it to collapse at one point.

    I made a track in which a guitar riff by Manowar slowly evolves into a dark ambient piece. only minimal dsp applied.

    listen here:

  • mat

    Hey, love it. At that time 20 years ago I wasn´t a fan of that hardcore thing, and still it would be to fast and hard for me to enjoy it at normal speed, but with less speed….yup. nice!

  • wndfrm

    i don’t think gabber was ever intended to be ‘listenable’. this is just slowing down what was accelerated in the first place. my opinion is ‘duh!’ :)

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Definitely. But I appreciate the … commitment to it here. And it does make a nice mix.

    • wndfrm

      yes, i suppose. i just haven’t gotten over the “90’s is old school” thing yet.. it’s very difficult to parse that in the context of a net-connected stream of culture.. so many aspects of ‘electronic music’ are rinse and repeat, re-process, stochastic re-emergence, etc.. that the ‘rose coloured glasses’ idiom just falls apart. nostalgia is valid, but seemingly misplaced.. back to that interview you (?) posted with luke slater, and the face he made when asked about the ‘resurgence’ (sic) of techno ala berghain, etc.. shit just hasn’t stopped, or gone away, to be able to make a ‘comeback’.. it started, and is still going. it’s all One Circle, thank you mr hood.. re-iterated in a million ways, and oscillating around mass-market acceptance.. but never slowing down.


  • Hiltmeyer.inc

    This is such a old technic…… Cant belive you Write about this.
    The Fun dont Stops there …. Try TO find Records TO play faster. 33pitched up to 45

  • Dan Nigrin

    What’s funny to me is that New Beat, which was also a Belgian phenomenon, started out as “conventional” tracks played at the wrong speed (33 instead of 45 RPM)…

    • chaircrusher

      defective dan! good to see you here!

  • chaircrusher

    I’ve seen LX Patterson of The Orb DJ a couple of times, and he loves playing 45 RPM Drum & Bass records at 33RPM. Puts them in back into range to fit with techno and electro, but gives them a deeper bass and that strange taffy-pull sound to vocal samples. And all the jacked up breaks get pulled back down to their original tempo and pitch.

    Back in the 1980s when buying vinyl records was still a thing, there were several indie rock records from obscure bands that I played at the wrong speed for months. The cool thing was it turned white female altos into soulful black baritones. Hearing them finally at the right speed and they sounded wrong.

    I don’t know if it’s an Oblique Strategy, but whenever I play a sample and don’t like it, I pitch it up or down.

  • mercury

    There was a very interesting fold-out poster in mixmag (or one of those brit dj mags, maybe jockey slut) almost 20 yrs ago…it broke down genres and their relationship to drug culture and one of the main themes was that when the ecstasy started getting cut with speed, all of the music started to speed up as the dealers got greedy trying to stretch their product.

    I find it interesting that trap music and all these slowed up trax are coming back, particularly given the massive resurgence in marijuana culture in the U.S….maybe i’m reaching….but hey, either way that clip was hilariously entertaining

  • name user

    half time? double time you goddamn idiots, what the fuck are you doing? you’re going the wrong way

  • KID

    But it´s not really Gabba. It´s 90s techno which was pretty fast.
    This is Gabba: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0wczziCZ3I

  • Belgium

    Audio rip available at http://snk.to/f-c7tpycpz

  • i.m. klif

    This is Radio Soulwax

  • i.m. klif
  • Refund

    This is what I think of when someone says ‘gabba’ … distorted kicks and claps, there was some of that in the mix but a lot of it was straight up acid house


  • Matt Jackson

    Oh hell yeah. this so takes me back to the beginning!! So nice and horrible embarassng to watch people dance but that is what it used to be all about. So sad to go somewhere like boiler room these days and see a bunch of plants just head bobbing. Don’t know if I should blame it on the music or the people or just the zeit geist but I am so looking forward to people dancing again!!
    btw not gabba by any definition I know

  • bilal x

    This is great. The dancers kill it! Would anyone more knowledgeable than me be able to post the complete set list here?

  • XREC

    Thx for the inspiration and a happy New Year! :-)

    Happy (2014 Seconds) Hardcorde Pitch Down (128BPM) Mashup!