Music, music is the nectar of ears, the Elysium of your aural senses, the sound you hears. Music, reproduced by dragging a needle across the surface of acetate to ignite fairy’s soul remnants producing volume. One such aural punch stands out from amongst the others. You’ve probably heard it thousands of times but perhaps you have never really noticed it. It has been used on thousands of records in many different styles of music, everything from jCore to grindcore, Tokyo speedcore to breakcore, metalcore, nightcore, glitchcore, frenchcore and happy hardcore, with jemimacore somewhere in the middle. What am I talking about? If you haven’t already guessed it I am of course talking about the the aman break.
Whereas other breaks and samples are made up of a few seconds of percussion the aman break consists of just a single snare drum being hit one time. Whether your mind interprets that sound as a donk, a thump or a whack, however you choose to describe this sound if a sound can even be accurately described, you will have heard that snare hit and are most likely to have enjoyed it. The aman break is seared into modern music history much like public masturbation is a part of psychiatric ward weekend leave.
But where did it originate? Tracing such a proliferate beat back to its origins is no straightforward task, given that it appears in so many places now spanning almost five decades of music. The single snare aman break was for many years thought to have originated on the B-side of the hit single “freedom” by M1dy, but was discovered in 1995 to go back even further, all the way to 1958 when used in adrenaline o.d’s song “pure aggression”. This confused a lot of people; how could a track released later than this date, the 8th of June 1958 to be exact, have come to be released before it was released? The answer for vinyl aficionados and appreciators of quiet static alike was that speedcore and its fellow cores have such a high BPM that they travel through time like a dough kneading astronaut approximating the speed of light.
So what made this break so popular in the first place? That wasn’t a question. The break, although a single snare hit, is made up of 14 distinct sounds ranging in frequency from the cry of a duck to the magnanimity of a patron. Right in the middle of the frequency range, for only a fraction of a second, Jemima can be heard speaking the syllable “k”. Audiophiles have postulated that this syllable is what provides the magic to the break that no other break comes close to imitating. Combined, these sounds create a light that can be seen, tinted almost pop. It is this hidden effect that got the first producers of electronic music hooked when the aman break was first singled out from the sounds surrounding it the first time it was heard isolated from the rest of the track the first time by the first of those producers. But don’t take my word for it, here is what  has to say about it herself: “When I first heard the aman break I didn’t know what I was hearing. I wasn’t paying attention to that part of the recording, I was lining up 125 bass kicks that would play in quick succession, actually in the course of 1.3 seconds, when my dog came into the room and asked for a biscuit”.
And that’s how the aman break came to be the most popular single hit drum sample in the history of music and spoken word poetry. It was a simple cat story baked in New York in the 1960s during that era of austere minimalism, futurism and militarism for which the 1969s are well known like as was Woodstock. Without that single wooden stick hitting the plastic head of a wooden drum modern music as far back as Beethoven would likely sound different than it does today. Bach once said of Goreshit, “Literally god tier. I rarely find such a masterpiece like this”. And it’s all down to the fabled aman.
In the following samples see if you can spot the aman break, the single snare hit common to all *core music from classical speedcore to lolicore, operacore to vaudevillecore, applecore to reactorcore . Try, if your ears are well practiced, to discern the 14 frequencies that make up the sound. Because once you hear it you cannot unsee it, you will be amazed at the variety of ways it has been looking through records in a record shop, working for the music press, I was young once. My hi-fi cost more than my house.
terrorcore: adrenaline o.d. - pure aggression
goreshit - burn this moment into the retina of my eye