It’s high summer now. In the Netherlands we’re experiencing a heatwave as we speak, but the important thing is that summer is usually one of the most crucial periods that shape the course music will take that year. So what has caught our ears lately. I made a selection of mixtapes that show the energy that’s coming from the most exciting undergrounds rigth now.
Forget about EDM, if you hadn’t already done that. ‘Trax club’ is officially the new centre of gravity of global underground sounds. I could (and soon will) write an entire post about this amazingly energetic scene and its relation to the expression of non-white LGBTQ identity. It’s a fascinating melting pot of the most extravagant house and bass music, both old and new, mixed with sounds out of the non-western undergrounds, often with as much as possible inclusion of the scenes behind these sounds. The result is a unique blend of grime, Jersey/Philly/Baltimore club, dancehall, reggaeton, baile funk, kuduro, gqom and more.
Classical Trax is the platform that manages to draw together the exciting undergrounds from London, Stockholm, Lisbon and Mexico City. This week they teamed up with the San Francisco based avant-garde club BREAD for a peek into the future of music for at least the second half of this decade and probably many more years to come..
The mixtape is a teaser for the club night hosted by Classical Trax in BREAD later this month, BE THERE!
2. GIL : Desultory Mix
Via the Classical Trax scene I encountered the enigmatic but absolutely genius dj GIL, from Switzerland, who got discovered by Thump to release this mouth watering avant-garde baile-trap stomper for THUMP.
‘Desultory Mix’ shows, perhaps even better than the BREAD mix, the sound of the new generation of global club music. Less Jersey club and future grime in this one, here the focus is on dembow, bubbling and post-dancehall.
This mix is one of my absolute favourites of this year!
3. Santa Muerte : Mixpak FM 085
The avant-garde urban latin duo Santa Muerte has featured a several of times on our blog already and their name has been rising ever since. Just last week they featured on the influential next-generation-dancehall platform Mixpak‘s mixtape series Mixpak FM, bringing a fresh blend of the best from the underground hubs like NY, London and Lisbon.. from avant-garde reggaeton to kuduro and future grime!
4. NON Records : Death Drop From Heaven
NON Records is by far the most exciting project launched in 2015. NON is a new label and platform created by ANGEL-HO (Cape Town, South Africa), Nkisi (London, UK) and Chino Amobi (Richmond, USA), focusing on music coming from Africa and the African diaspora. Style wise it embodies the perfect fusion between the trax avant-garde and the fusion of the dark-alternative music undergrounds with urban and Afro-diasporic vibes.
Death Drop from heaven was their kickoff mixtape, showcasing the radically countercultural style they are pushing. Death Drop From Heaven is a gripping, politically conscious dystopian blend of dark ambient flavoured vogue, kuduro, afrobeat and gqom from exciting better and lesser known artists including Arca, GHE20G0TH1K legend Venus X and the South African avant-gardist Bogosi Sekhukhuni !
5. Venus X : i-DJ session
Venus X‘ GHE20G0TH1K‘s influence on nightlife, music, fashion and culture over the last half decade can hardly be underestimated. After a temporary break to resist commercial attention and appropriation, her trailblazing events in New York are back. Vice’s cultural inspiration platform i-D invited her to host an i-DJ mixtape session and showcase the range of flavours and vibes to be found at GHE20G0TH1K nights and in the vibrant community, also very closely integrated with the trax scene, around them.
This vibrant mixtape is a rollercoaster ride that moves from flavours like ghetto house and vogue to kuduro, Chicago drill and dembow!
6. Joao Pavigo : MIX PUTARIA
The Brazilian futurist Joao Pavigo is the trax scene connection for baile funk. This brilliant mixtape shows the most exciting tracks where baile funk meets the avant garde flavours embodied by the undergrounds of London, Stockholm and Mexico City, even blending in some kuduro and 3ball towards the end!
7. DJ Fasta : The Fastape Volume 2
Then now some attention for the Dutch urban eclectic scene. I’ve been talking a lot about this movement in my pieces about the history of genres like bubbling and moombahton but the blogs never seem to give this stuff the credit it deserves. Let’s just get real about it. Most people who read blogs like this one still think that the whole idea of fusing urban-electronic beats from places like Angola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Brazil was invented by these blogs. Which would be the same as crediting Daniel Haaksman for baile funk or Frederic Galleano for kuduro. Blending dance genres from Latin-Caribbean, African and Middle Eastern countries and combining them with flavours like hip-hop, RnB and house has been bread and butter in the Dutch urban club scene for decades. Long before anything like the blogosphere existed.
The different cultural backgrounds present in the Dutch cities have always brought about a blend of different styles, with bubbling, dancehall, kuduro, azonto and kizomba being the most important ones. Less baile funk, 3ball and cumbia yet, mainly because there aren’t that many Brazilian, Mexican or Argentinian youths living here, but I’m convinced these flavours too will get embraced at some point. The formula of Diplo and the whole Hollerboard leading up to Mad Decent is basically a weak American ripoff of this vibrant scene in the Netherlands. The sound has become more mainstream flavoured over the years but the ease with which genres are blended into one another is brilliant and inspiring as ever!
DJ Fasta is an established name in the Netherlands and beyond, a producer-DJ who delivers the freshest eclectic tracks, bootlegs and mixtapes. Check out the new edition of his FASTAPE series, hosted by MC Ashwin Jaydee!
8. Versano Laroz : So Fucking Amazing Mixtape Part 6
Versano Laroz is another important name. This rad 6th edition of his So Fucking Amazing Mixtape series came online last week. A little more focused on trap and hiphop than Fasta’s mix but that’s the point, it all goes together and people dig it. Check out the other editions here!
9. DJ Edgar : RhythmExplorer mix Vol.7 #BaileFunk
Our dedicated baile funk blogger and owner of the Brazilian blog Funk Na Caixa, just wrote a m0numental, fantastic article about the history, present and future of baile funk for our befriended platform Rhythm Travels, who are all about respectfully promoting underground club scenes all around the world as travel destinations. With the article comes a mixtape that leads you along all the sub-genres of funk, from the classic sound to melodic pop-funk and ostençao from São Paulo, to rasterinha and fusions with trap and bass, mixed by funk veteran DJ Edgar!
10. El Buga : Internationally Unknown Mixtape
Last year, the Chilean underground label Sello Regional was the most promising newcomer. And rightly so, because in the meantime, while we haven’t had enough time to blog their newest releases, they have developed into an ever more established player in the Chilean underground music landscape. El Buga is one of the founders and label owners of Regional who recently took his first steps towards a solo project which explores territory beyond the scope of Regional, more influenced by African flavoursand dub than the conventional deep Andean electrofolk and cumbia of the label.
This second edition of Internationally Unknown is a blend of Africa and the Andes with an organic dub-touch, featuring a wide range of better and lesser known artists like Rafael Aragon (France), Erick Rincon (Mexico), DJ Yirvin (Venezuela) and DJ Explosao (Angola).