Discovering CoreCore: The Aesthetic Movement Taking Over TikTok

Articles, Spotlight // Wed 15 Feb 2023 - 12:00pm

If you’re an avid TikTok user who has fallen down the rabbit hole of CoreCore, then you may be wondering how on earth the trend has made it here; but if you’re not, then it’s about time we dive into what this TikTok genre is and what it means for our generation.

Welcome to CoreCore, the video-editing style permeating everyone’s ‘For You’ pages on TikTok. Originally, CoreCore sought to critique political and social issues through the collation of juxtaposing images and videos—such as headlines, snippets from film and television, and memes—, accompanied by the harmonic language of music.

Each of the seemingly ‘mishmashed’ videos showcases a social commentary in their endeavours to uncover the mechanisms which produce and maintain our lived experience. But whilst doing so, they articulate the raw emotions felt by Gen-Z: exhaustion, hopelessness, fear, and anxiety.

However, as the movement has gained traction, its trajectory has begun to shift; CoreCore has become aestheticised by many TikTok users and has metamorphosed into an aesthetic movement.

So, what does this mean?

In essence, we are currently creating and witnessing a new aesthetic movement: the expression of emotions through a digital medium. But aside from the photos and videos we are consuming, it is important to look towards the sounds accompanying them, and to consider how they speak for our generation.

Most of the TikTok videos are underscored by the eclectic soundscapes of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) from Aphex Twin, Four Tet, and artists alike. Although IDM possesses a niche, cult-like following, it is a genre that has transformed the ways in which music is composed, but most importantly, the ways in which music is felt by its listeners. So, it is interesting that TikTok users are choosing to utilise samples of IDM to express the unnamed emotions felt by our generation as a collective.

Here are some tracks we feel epitomise the CoreCore movement; each of which will allow you to experience a new state of being in an increasingly digitalised world, transcending you to a spiritual state of clarity.

Some sounds of CoreCore

Indian Wells, ‘Four Walls’

Back in 2022, Pietro Iannuzzi, AKA Indian Wells, released a gorgeous body of introspective and evocative work, ‘No One Really Listens to Oscillators’. The albums conceptual input was birthed by the architectural style ‘Incompiuto’—theorised by Alterazioni Video & Fosbury Architecture—, which refers to unfinished works and the inability of projects to create a sustainable infrastructure for the community. ‘Four Walls’ builds on growing glimmers, but as the beat intensifies, Wells marries digital sounds and ethereal vocals to take his listeners on a journey into calmness. In a world caught in a ‘barrage of immediacy’, ‘Four Walls’ may be misunderstood by many, but for our generation, it captures the chaos of our lived experience and offers us with some space to make sense of it, and then allows us to admire and appreciate the simplicities of life.

Kelly Lee Owens, ‘Night’

Kelly Lee Owen’s ‘Inner Song’ is a serious work of art; it is a meticulously crafted journey that doesn’t allow its listeners to come back to reality until it is finished. Although ‘Inner Song’ was released during the turbulent time of the pandemic, it feels more poignant now than ever before; our generation has become increasingly detached from reality as a direct consequence of trying to deal with the overwhelming prospect of a dying environment and a world where speed and attention deficit has become the new normal. One of the most moving tracks on the album is ‘Night’: when you’re listening to this track, your headphones become an oxygen tank and you quickly find yourself diving into the depths of your emotions. ‘Night’ is plaintive and an important moment of reflection; it begins slowly, but gradually intensifies and progresses into an atmospheric cascading techno-jam with Owen’s synth patterns and punctuating beats. It’s a deeply cathartic and important track to listen to.

00110100 01010100, ‘0181 000 0003’

Kieran Hebden’s alias, 00110100 01010100, allows him to maintain his balance between familiarity and the uncanny as an artist who is renowned for being a musical chameleon. Under his alias, he released the album, ‘0181’, giving us glimpse into his halcyon days between 1997-2001, the period in which he produced each of these tracks. However, the track, ‘0181 000 0003’  feels particularly inviting, almost like a personal invite into Hebden’s beautifully meditative electronic experience. The track opens quietly, but it builds itself up with a gentle percussion and jazzy chimes; it feels focused, warm, and cold all at the same time. ‘0181 000 0003’ is a delicate and minimalist track which gives listeners the time to stop, breathe, and walk away from the chaos of life.