Wed Feb 5, 2003 | Updated at 09:41 AM
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Jan. 25, 2003. 01:00 AM
In Rotation

For many "serious" electronic-music fans, happy hardcore is the equivalent of hot needles in the brain. But while the hyperactive genre's fan base is relatively small in North America, it's also fanatical enough to have demanded that Toronto DJ Chris "Anabolic Frolic" Samojlenko return this year to the huge-selling Happy 2 B Hardcore mix series he abandoned in 2001.

Happy 2 B Hardcore: Chapter Seven A New Beginning (Moonshine) isn't much of a new beginning, since the 15 new tracks on offer here show that happy hardcore is, well, happily stuck in the same idealized, old-school-rave time warp in which it's always been. If you know the music, you know what to expect: Huge, whooshing breakdowns, symphonic synth vamps and lobotomy-cheery lyrics about love, dreams and flying away, away, away together all screaming past, naturally, at speeds in excess of 140 beats per minute.

It won't win any non-fans over, but in the right mood, moments like the oozy intro to Q-Tex's "Like An Angel" or the jungle break in Hixxy and MC Storm's "Just Accept It" will have you grinning from ear to ear. True, Anabolic could vary the formula but his passion for happy hardcore is evident even in the disc's sweet liner notes, which shout out to his new wife and all the other couples who've met at his Hullabaloo parties. A guy that nice isn't going to start spinning Rotterdam techno.

Pop music critic Ben Rayner

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