Joining the dots between the talcum powered heydays of the Northern Soul scene and E-number ecstasy of happy hardcore raves, a new publication, Hardcore Soul put together musician Gabber Eleganza, photographer Ewen Spencer, and artist Mark Leckey, looks like a must-buy for anyone with a taste for nightlife.
The publisher blurb states that the book is "a powerful example of our days, of how time has taken on an increasingly less linear dimension, fully expressing the sense of contemporaneity – now more than ever marked by the mingling and fusion of different environments and cultures of coexistence and synchronicity of experiences as different eras but at the same time common and intertwined.”
Which sounds swell and all, but what does it actually mean? Well, in addition to a brand new mixtape lovingly crafted by Gabber Eleganza, Hardcore Soul is a game of two halves. Bound together in green PVC, the first book features 80 pages of brand new photos by Ewen, and the second is an extended interview between the esteemed UKG chronicler and Turner Prize winner Leckey.
That mix, by the way, is a corker. Gabber Eleganza himself describes it as, “a never-ending euphoria journey with positive melodic stabs and infinite digital pianos,” which sums up things really rather neatly indeed.
No mere assemblage of photography and text bunged together at the last second, Hardcore Soul – which is available now on Gabber Eleganza’s newly-launched record label and publishing imprint Never Sleep – was designed by INT favourites Studio Temp.
Speaking exclusively to It’s Nice That, Studio Temp’s Marco Fasolini notes that Ewen’s documentation of two disparate but converging scenes formed the basis of the publication, and that their brief was to “make it look like they weren’t two distinct projects.”
“The form of the book also reflects the simplicity of the concept,” Marco says, noting that the volume containing Ewen’s photos is printed on suitably glossy stock, while the conversational component utilises the sort of gossamer-thin paper you tend to associate with the always-worth-grabbing weekly deals freesheet in Lidl.
And if all that wasn’t enough, the project was brought to life typographically by one of our recent Ones to Watch, Jacob Wise. “My briefing from Alberto [Gabber Eleganza] outlined the need for a lettering which communicated the juxtaposition of both hardcore and soul,” he tells us.
“What brought both youth movements into the same subcultural sphere was their focus on hedonistic all-night dances. Though they existed within separate timelines, it was my job to form a typographic link between the two. The lettering doesn’t really depend on a distinct typographic style associated with either subculture, rather it responds to the acidic chaos and physicality of their irrespective experiences.”