Generation gaps have probably always existed and for people in my own age category (late 20s) the moment will come sooner or later that you’ll find yourself shaking your head about the absurd way of dressing, talking or behaving of ‘contemporary youth’. That’s when nostalgia kicks in. Nothing wrong with that, don’t get me wrong. I consider myself a very nostalgic person in almost every aspect. Most kids have grown up with their parents playing popular music from their own teenage years and for many this has provided an excellent musical heritage.
Most people our age too will probably be starting to return to the sound of their youth these days: the 90s, when the world as we know it today was born. 90s retro designs and 90s music are all over the place these days, whether it’s hiphop, RnB, dance or pop. Even the cassette-tapes and walkmans have been buzzed to be making a comeback. Because hearing that quivering sound when you press a solid, resisting play-button just feels so much realer than the touch-screen of your iPhone 5..
But there’s a downside to all this. There’s nothing wrong with cherishing or rediscovering musicians from the past. Many new technologies appeared during the 80s and 90s and it’s impressive to realise what dedicated pioneers were capable of doing without all the stuff that we have today to make life easier. That’s beside the point. The point is that those musicians who were pioneering with new sounds were passionate about doing something NEW! I mean.. they could just as easily have done something more traditional, and most other musicians around them probably did exactly that. Most of those have probably been forgotten by the way..
The thing that worries me about contemporary retro-culture is that so many people are going ‘back to’ something, that even the new generation itself seems to believe that new movements and styles can never be good as old music. The question is.. if everybody is going back to whatever gone-by era and mainstream pop sounds either like the umpteenth brainless talent-show, the umBteenth Endless Duplication of the same Message or.. well, like something old indeed.. who is going to save tomorrow’s music?
Don’t worry, even cumbia does not escape from today’s the collective nostalgia. Not at all, it’s one of the most nostalgic genres around and the original Colombian classics are still the most popular and most widely played in the genre. But sometimes it gets a little more seriously retro-minded than just playing a record from the hall of fame. This new music video for ‘Cumbia Amazonica’, from the legendary Peruvian band Los Mirlos was made last year and it breathes the ‘back to’-spirit in all aspects (check the subtle reference to LP’s and cassettes at 1:58!!). But I cannot deny that both the song and the video are absolutely brilliant, so even if you aren’t going to listen to every item in this post, watch this!
Then, for the sake of the theme, some 90s cumbia for you to enjoy! First some 90s examples of the unique Mexican sonidera-sound, which actually goes back to the 1960s and has been very much alive ever since..!
And here a mix of more obviously pop-influenced songs from Argentinan bands who popularised cumbia in the 90s ! (I must confess that I don’t know most of these names.. definitely need some catch up reading on this..)
But enough nostalgia for today, let’s move on to the great new stuff that today’s cumbia scene ‘s got on offer. At least three mixtapes appeared this week and I actually wanted to make a choice for just one, but they were so good that I just couldn’t. So here are all three of them..
First this mixtape by Cumbia Dub Club Petardo: the perfect fusion of dreamy, groovy and sexxy. Cumbia-dub at its ver best, featuring tracks by artists like Uproot Andy, Yelram Selectah and Sonic Groove!
After last week’s excellent mixtape (I listened it almost every day during my study work this week and loved it more with each time..!) Regional Label has got a fresh new mixtape for this week which actually appeared yesterday night when I had large parts of this post prepared already. This one, mixed by Tribilín Sound, is more bass-oriented and contains many tunes that have been featured here on SSC over the last months including a subtle dose of zouk-bass and twerk.
We have blogged new tracks/dub-edits from DJ Rayo (a.k.a. Colombian Free Mix) almost every week but this time he did a short mixtape with cumbia-dub in his own, actually very nostalgic style!
It’s not only raining mixtapes this week but also compilations. Since my predecessor El Güero Unico started The Global Bass Experience, he hasn’t sit still and released his official TGBE Cumbia Compilation Vol.1 last Friday, with tracks carefully prepared for this grand release. This thing has been on the planning even since the time that El Güero was part of our own team and here it is…
El Güero’s co-worker at TGBE and member of the Soberio Music and the Pachangas Collective, 4:20 Music Flavor, is one of the most productive cumbia musicians that I know on soundcloud, with at least 2 new mashups or productions uploaded on a daily basis.. We’ve always been a big time fan of of El Catorce‘s underground hip-hop/tech-inspired productions and this week 4:20 did this extended compilation of edits! His other tunes are also more than worth checking out!
Qechuaboi has been releasing a lot of wildly creative stuff over the last weeks and here he is again with a ‘live’ tagged, experimentalistic techno-ish track: ‘Qenuncafaltechocolate’! ..which kinda sounds like a Valentine wish: ‘thattheremayalwaysbeenughchocolateforyou’..
This track from LATA has been with us for about two weeks already but I realised that I missed it when it was released. LATA has been a leading figure in the nu-cumbia scene for years and great grooves like these should be supported on SSC, better late than never: ‘Mucha Chita’!
Then it’s time for the cumbia-surprise of this week: a new producer whith music that blows my mind. Dj Chico Parany is a Dj/remixer/producer who focuses mainly on organic vintage gypsy and Andes-sounds and a little bit of dub in an extremely danceable way! This week he released these two excellent tunes. The first one is tagged as ‘gypsy andino’ but very much cumbia in rhythm, the second one is more gypsy-swing but with such an awesome latin flavour to it that I just wanted to share it here.. I’m telling you: this is amazing!!
There is always a lot of cumbia-dub going on, done in many different ways but for me goes: the dreamier the better. These two tracks made me very happy. It always makes bloggers happy to see new music from artists that have released good music in the past but have been silent for a while. That definitely goes for elBarba dub, whose speed-3ball ‘guarachoguer’ track from 3 months ago was the last thing we’ve seen on Generation Bass. But now he is back with this dub remix of Candelaria‘s Las Cruces, as part of Club Subtropical‘s New Year’s compilation Ensalada Subtropical Vol.1. Grab it here!
I didn’t know Tlopsytech before I discovered this great experimental work ‘Bass Line’. The delicious deepness of this is just amazing.. halfway, it changes to another melody-line so it could be that it’s a mini-mix rather than one specific track but anyway it’s great!
The Mexican collective Real Cumbia Activa, which consists of the well known names Fake Moustache, Agustín Soundsystem, 4:20 Music Flavor and Albert DJ, did this awesome cumbia mashup of M.I.A. this week!
There was also quite a lot of hiphop inspired cumbia this week.
..and this is the same tune, used as a basis for a hiphop tune featuring the crew Los Enviados and Nena Lea MC.
Cumbia-hiphop has never been away. Here is another nice example from THEWACHIN.. ‘Undersong’: oldschool-rap flows, a minimalistic noisy-bass and an as-basic-as-possible cumbia beat!
We’ve got some new cumbiaton as well this week.
Cooliado added a dembow to El Hijo de la Cumbia’s ‘Dale Otra Vez’..
Personally I’m a big fan of the cumbiaton that’s coming from Mexico City’s scene. Some of it may sound a bit monotonic and repetitive on a first listen but it has that kinda thing that I love about underground movements: its own unique sound, combining different sources of inspiration, old or new doesn’t matter, and making something different out of it. The scene has existed for quite while already now but Tiestoriki‘s channel still releases new stuff everyday. One of the things you hear a lot in their tracks these days is the use of percussion that has more of an ‘oriental’, ‘belly dance’-ish vibe to it, combined with downtempo cumbia an basic dembow. This new track from Dormek Dj is a great example. I think the transnational bass scene should definitely keep an eye on what these guys are and will hopefully keep doing.
DJ TAO has his own version of nostalgia this week, going back to the very basics of oldschool reggaeton with this cumbification of ‘Arriba Abajo’!
I’ve said it in earlier posts but there’s a trend going on of 3ball producers moving into cumbia. This is an example that I discovered just this week: a nicely perc’ed cumbia edit of a reggaeton-acapella by Dj All$tar.. Mueve Ese Culo!
The dance-drive in this tune is a good start for some more energic stuff now..
The Peruvian nu-cumbiambero Tribilín Sound did this great remix of ‘Dime lo que Bailas’, fusing a Mexican-style cumbia groove with salsa percussion, trap hi-hats, delicious deep pads and even an explosion of crazy laser-synths in the end!
..and dj Anya‘s mashup of Missy Eliot’s ‘Pass that Dutch’ and a cumbia-bass explosion from Tropikore brings even more fuego to the dancefloor!
It’s been a long post, time for the club-warming-up now, starting with this brilliant new uptempo banger from Erick Jaimez: ‘Pollera Colora’.. This bigroom cumbia is set to push classic cumbia sounds onto the mainstage of the next rave festival! #Esooo!!