So much for theｃ ｌ ｉ ｃ ｋ ｂ ａ ｉ ｔ part. Everybody is done with hypes and I don’t care if it is relevant or not to still talk about old memes on the brink of 2017. Cumbia will always be relevant so shut up. Same goes for vaporwave.
Usually, blends between genres occur when specific, different genres come to occupy an important role in the the cultural sources consumed by an individual, either by growing up with it, being part of a specific cultural environment, or by having any other kind of connection with it that sticks for some reason. At some point, somebody realises that a combination between the two genres is possible and starts experimenting, either as a joke or as a sincere expression of their reality. Usually somewhere in the middle. Like with any cultural translation, something is first imitated and then translated into the new context, developing a ‘homegrown version’ of something that may or may not start living a life of its own.
Vaporwave is of course no exception. I have pointed out before how vaporwave caters to a collective memory of long days of luxurious mall shopping with your parents, television commercials, videogaming and the first aquaintances with the life-changing influence of computers. This shared experience of growing up with these things is mostly specific to affluent, white, suburban Americans and don’t necessarily have the same subconscious connotations in other parts of the world.
CYBEREALITYライフ is one of the earliest ones introducing the genre to Mexico, fully integrated in the entirely internet-based, largely anonymous vaporwave scene. An old track from 2013, with all the tokens: slowed-down, chopped and looped soulful mall music, presented with mystifying Japanese script: nothing that gives away that this was made in Mexico. Nowadays he largely left vaporwave for a broad variety of other styles.
マクロスMACROSS 82-99, also doesn’t make any notable use of Mexican cultural elements and is even heavier on the pseudo-Japanese kawaii-disco flavour.
Munchi recently showed this video, dating from back in 2010, produced by video artist Rollz Royce for the T Tauri Trap House collective (which included artists likeZakmaticandChippy Nonstop) who experimented with tumblresque aesthetic net-trends, fused with sounds, predating ‘avant-garde club’, which leaned more towards global bass than towards the post-internet lineage of seapunk, vaporwave, meme-rap & cybernetic club. Even though I would now automatically connect these aesthetics to future funk vaporwave, the connection makes total sense, since these sounds in fact draw from the collective memory of growing up in the 90s but in the Latinx community.
One of the most obvious ways to give a Latin twist to vaporwave is to vaporise the homegrown versions of the kinds of music vaporwave is usually based on, like this edit of a 90s hit from the Mexican singer Luis Miguel.
And from there it is only a short step to vaporising cumbia. Mexican vaporwave producer A. Rivers recently released a mini album with 3 ‘made in Mexico’ vaporwave tracks, two of which are based on cumbia.
Mexico is not the only country where somebody got this idea, Falsorwave そして、通過 Chile is a Chilean channel with vaporwave edits of Chilean pop, some of which cumbia.
And a Reddit search of the terms vaporwave and cumbia led to this whole new attempt by a producer called Wiracocha, after the precolumbian Andean deity, to create a new microgenre ‘Incawave’, a blend of post-vaporwave ambient and Andes music. Personally I like post-vaporwave experimental stuff better than pure vaporwave so, clickbait or not, I really dig this!
A long while ago, I made a remark somewhere that bubbling could be seen as a kindof nightcore version of early dancehall and then Mexican cumbia rebajada would be a vaporwave version of cumbia. This was also realised by Redditor Newtype420, who postedVice’s cumbia rebajada documentary in /r/Vaporwave last year, which has lead some vaporwave-aware Latinx Youtubers to comment in ｆｕｌｌｗｉｄｔｈ to old uploads of cumbia rebajada channels.
Strikingly, pre-vaporwave cumbia rebajada has always had the strongest in Monterrey as well as in Mexican communities in Texas’ metropoles, where it has crossed paths before with Texas’ hiphop culture in general, and thechopped & screwed hiphop movement in particular, which has created an aesthetic that shares a lot of cultural DNA with the different elements that inspired vaporwave and sad-rap.
The question then becomes what is the difference between the cumbia rebajada that’s been around for so long and slowed-down cumbia edits presented as vaporwave? As WosX has pointed out, the way in which it is presented as an added, mystifying and recontextualising layer on top of the sound itself, is an essential element of what makes something vaporwave.
WosX’ recent educative short doc goes in depth into the defining elements that give the vaporwave family of related genres their disctinctive character **I personally do not agree with his assertion of inconsiderate, ‘google-translate’-style cultural approptiation (the way it is usually practiced in VAPOUR) as a positive way of cultural exchange**
This would imply that it is the representation of cumbia, as could be done with every genre, that ‘vapourises’ it, rather than simply applying ‘classic vaporwave’ techniques to cumbia. In that sense, ‘vapour cumbia’ is still in its infancy, but it has clearly entered its journey through the grinding mill.
Essentially the classic sound of cumbia rebajada, wrapped in vaporwave aesthetics, fromVaporguey
Also from Mexico, by an obscure humor channel, slowed down ‘vaporwave’ edit of Los Mirloschichahit Cumbia de los Pajaritos, presented in an eclectic aesthetic package that can refer at the same time to cumbia rebajada, sad trap and nightcore
Even though it is not consciously part of the ‘vapour’ umbrella, when it comes to slowing down cumbia with the purpose to create a displacing experience that is both nostalgic and unreal, this already classic cumbia dub edit by El Búho comes close to how a more refined cumbia vapour could be imagined.
On the visual side of things, the crew from Caballito Netlabel, where the designers have been conscious of vaporwave from the start, have experimented with more ambiguous, vaporwave-inspired yet uniquely different Latinx aethetics to accompany their digital cumbia sound.
It’s been 2 years since Munchi’s last release, the brilliant “Perreo 101” which we were privileged and honoured to unveil to the world. Prior to that release was the exceptional Rasterinha EP which ranks as one of my all time faves in the Munchi cannon alongside the legendary “Rotterdam Juke”.
The musical landscape has changed a lot over the past 2 years. A hell of a lot. As Victor has been correctly identifying via his amazing blog posts, standard Global Bass fare now sounds pretty old-fashioned and a product of a bygone era. Things are evolving and progressing. The Global Bass of new is trying to shed its tags and associations as being looked upon as a World Music/Global/Exotic genre and is placing itself alongside standard club music and wishing to be identified as just that, Club Music.
The innovators of this new evolution are mostly kids with their origins in the country from where they take their inspiration. Munchi is one of the First Generation of that ilk which is now being inhabited by the likes of Nazar, Happy Colors, DJ Haram, Bison, Nigga Fox, El Mahdy Jr, Non label, Naafi label and many others.
So where does Munchi fit into all of this. Well he is one of the innovators, one of the Godfathers I guess you could say. Were it nor for him, would we have come this far? Don’t forget he was doing stuff like SkullTrap and other weird, dark and aggressive mutations well before many. This filtered down to this new generation and his influence is undeniable. Even right now he occupies the classic position of an “innovator”, over-looked & barely talked about except by the ever faithful, almost forgotten. That’s what usually happens to innovators, true originators.
This is not the massive come-back, some of us might have been anticipating or wished for. The material could quite easily have come out in circa 2010-2011. The sound and technique hasn’t evolved that much beyond that circa. However, I think it’s totally unfair to have expected Munchi to meet those high expectations at this stage. Let’s not forget, Munchi has not been busy honing his skills, technique or musical growth, he’s been busy looking after himself and trying to manage his ill-health. So with that history in mind, all of this has to be put into some context.
This is just the start, we hope, Munchi is just warming himself up and that revolutionary come back, that new sound some of us are expecting from Munchi will arrive, be rest assured. For now, anything by Munchi is better than nothing by Munchi and I’m just so happy that he is taking little tentative steps to make music again. This must be encouraged and I pray it continues.
It’s not a MASSIVE COMEBACK but a SLIGHT RETURN and a most welcome return too. It would be unfair to expect Munchi to come back and blow our brains with something totally new and revolutionary like he has had a habit of doing in the past. This EP is what he says it is, it’s an EP going back to the roots.
Don’t get this twisted or wrong, this EP is fyah, total fyah and a cut above what everybody else is doing with this kind of stuff. Those damn drums, that tightness of production!!! It’s an education for many, a history lesson, you will learn something from this that will inform your own music making and that will add to your knowledge.
Munchi is just easing himself back into music making again, warming up to it in that inimitable Munchi way by causing total mayhem first before soon silencing us all with his wonder!
Let me hand you over to the boy genius:
It’s back to the roots on this EP – Bubbling and Reggeton. Shoutout to the originators!
After hearing “Tupac Back” a couple of years ago I knew exactly what to do; “Naffie Back”. This concept lingered in my mind for too long, so in March this year I finally made it happen. Instantly dropped a preview on Soundcloud too, because wtf happened to that Naffie drop?
There was a time that upon hearing the Naffie drop you knew – the club is about to be destroyed. Previously I made two VIP’s of my favorite classics in the form of “shoutouts”. These were literally to just be able to hear the Naffie drop in the clubs again. I recall hearing the “Blow Your Speakers” remix for the first time. This changed my life. I recall hearing the “Satisfaction” remix for the first time. I almost cried due to the amount of that my mind was being blown. So in making the 3rd shoutout of the series, the intent was to make a track that was going to be something like a ultimate shoutout that covered each aspect since this dude did so many genres. The mother of all shoutouts lol! Just the thought alone had me smiling.
So instead of rebranding it or watering it down into the 1.000.000th new genre, imma call it exactly what it is – Bubbling. More like Bubbling O.D. while you’re at it lol with references to the Bubbling dons Shaun D, Master D and De Schuurman. Hopefully they’ll all bless the world with new Bubbling tracks, cause nobody does it quite like them – SHOW THEM HOW ITS DONE.
“Pa Lo Under”
I used to listen to Reggeton’s Dembow rhythm on my walkman all day. Obsessively learning all I could about Reggeton. Fuck it’s crazy, back then all the producers were on the same old forum talking shit to eachother. I even hear the sounds I posted back then scattered in packs or even in productions over the years. This is for all the trademark sounds, all the homegrown labels, shitty VST’s that were only used for Reggeton, the limited sound palette you had to use over and over again, the creative ways to sing the most retarded lyrics and most of all the Reggeton singers that couldn’t sing for shit! YES, I LOVE IT.
Nothing is as fun as making a Reggeton track. So I present to you another one of those ultimate shoutouts lol. Covering all my favorite Reggeton producers in a Moombahton setting, stuffing it with an impossible amount of references to shout them out haha. You know who you are!
So salute to the Reggeton kings, while throwing on my FUBU clothes for one last time to keep on grinding in this sandungueo. HA!
So here’s something that we have been really excited about for quite some time now. THE sound that has been taking over the Dominican Republic – Dembow.
After the Dominican youth got into Reggeton and later creating an entire scene on their own strength with Dominican Rap, Dembow was making noise on the island with tracks like ‘Pepe’ by Doble T y El Crok. There was a big longing for the riddims found on the Playero tapes, that the polished sounds of Reggeton simply were not providing anymore. Ever since Dembow made an entrance back then in ’09/’10, Dominican Rap was getting on the background and Reggeton seemed to be forgotten about. This was the new sound and it was only after a couple of years of evolving, that the sound finally started to create it’s own identity.
In comes Amsterdam based Godwonder, also of Dominican heritage, to present his 7 track EP. After 2 years, we present his unbiased vision of Dembow. Influenced by Dembow’s “cousins” Reggeton and Moombahton, but also by the islands own Merengue and Mambo, to show how it’s done. People have been sleeping on it for too long, so we decided to crash the parties at ADE to wake everybody the fuck up!
You know what? I’m not even going to describe the tracks for you. I suggest that you go ahead, grab yourfucking bottle of Presidente and realize that the sandungueo just started again.
Leaving 2015 behind it is time to do make some first predictions about what we can expect in the coming year. Last year we saw the massive breakhroughs of some people both under and outside the radar of Generation Bass, such asNidia Minaj,Kamixlo,ANGEL-HOandSanta Muerte. All artists who demonstrate how the underground club scene has become the new centre of gravity for music and how the rebirth of culture from the perspectives and identities of people neglected by the dominant narratives in Western culture, has become the most essential themes. In 2016 these trends will certainly continue and will mutate into new directions. Which ones are not clear to tell yet, but there are some questions that may hint at the possible futures that may give some clues.
(SCROLL DOWN FOR THE LIST OF ARTISTS WHOM I THINK WILL MOST PROBABLY BREAK THROUGH INTO THE SPOTLIGHTS THIS YEAR!)
What will happen to the club trax underground community once its own sucess definitively throws it into the (semi-)mainstream, with its dilemmas around commerce, ethics and ego’s?
We’ve seen this with many other movements once they become popular. Almost certainly will there be copycats at some point who try to benefit from the success formula, with as little dedication as possible. How will this stuff be marketed to larger audiences, and which audiences exactly? What will this do with the high ethical standards concerning race, class and gender which have been unquestionably respected in this scene so far. All these questions we’ve been confronted with before in our history, as the global bass underground was undergoing a similar phase, splitting off into Mad Decent and its following on the one side and.. well.. some small, non-commercial snippets of underground who survived on the other side, including ourselves.
What will happen to the‘dark turn’in genres like trap, dancehall or even more importantly, in the club avant-garde?
More importantly, will it really ‘merge’ with the innovations in dark music like crossbreed, rhythmic noise or abrasive ritual ambient techno? Until now there’s only a negligible fraction of the two sides scene really ‘coming together’, either in online groups or with IRL events (I’ll be playing a set of dark industrial flavoured trap & global bass and avant-garde club at a kinky dungeon night this month, magnet for the post-goth alternative scene, and I’m really curious how it will be received!)
A collab from three absolutely essential names from the new dark generation you need to check out:Volkanos(USA), |CRPT| (Poland) & TRNAH (Poland) !
Even genres as close sound-wise as witchhouse, trillwave, dark trap and dark/agressive subgenres of hiphop share little fanbase or producer-base. Now the boundaries between original genres and subcultures have effectively eroded, what WILL be the new lines dividing scenes and cultural expressions in the coming year? That immediately leads to the next question..
How will the culture-wars develop this year and what will that mean for music?
If one thing is clear from last year, the culture wars have just started yet. Online underground scenes, in almost any field like gaming, tech or fashion blogging, have now been acquainted with the critical call for more diversity and inclusiveness for people of colour, women and LGBTQ people and have witnessed the unfolding of a ever more heated debate between cultural critics, mocked as ‘Social Justice Warriors’, and their opponents, ‘Free Speech Bigots’, who want to maintain their privileged status-quo with an appeal to free expression. This debate has started to surface ever more into mainstream politics, and with the unstoppable impact of the internet and online underground cultures, I expect this to sore to full-blown heights this year. My expectations are bleak. What will happen if the mainstream political spectrum definitively diverges into Tumblr’s mercilessly militant cultural Marxism and 4Chan’s evil anarcho-nihilist glorification of everything we know to be evil, including racism, sexism and LGTBQ-phobia as the ultimate mark of true rebellion. How will this affect avant-garde music, an alternative cultural area in which sharing revolutionary political ideas is bread and butter? The dark-industrial sound and aesthetic is one that can readily be adopted by either camp and in fact already has been.
EDM is dead, but why does psychedelic rave culture still seem to be boiling in the underground in many places of the world, waiting to have its moment?
Something less bleak but still relevant. Since about 2014, I have witnessed the popularity of deephouse in the US and techno in Europe as a clear response to the loud ‘bass-drop-gasm’ formula of festival EDM. Especially in the case of techno, it was the air of exclusiveness and status-boosting elitism that fueled the magic. Once it reached a critical mass, it really took off in the course of several months, with copycat-techno raves mushrooming everywhere. And with the growing mainstream attention for a concept like Burning Man in 2014, I would have bet a fortune on my prediction of a sudden explosion of a Burning Man-inspired crossover mainstream movement in which techno-hipsters could readily take a ‘next step’ into psychedelics, neo-hippie culture, transhuman-futurist philosophy and a crossover of deep techno, psytrance and potentially supplemented with psychedelic bass music, electrofolklore or transhumanistically flavoured post-vaporwave. But, guess what, nothing of that did happen. On the contrary, Burning Man was loudly declared dead this year and an important initiative to denounce the festival and it’s culture as pseudo-open, culturally insensitive, privileged snobbery came precisely from the club underground. Burning Man may have lost its magic, but psychedelic rave culture still seems to be strong and growing in many new places like Brazil and Mexico. Could it still become a potential new centre of gravity for music to move towards?
Future bass producers likeR23Xblend elements together like ‘deep’, the ‘dub’, the ‘tech’, the ‘trill’, the ‘wave’, the ‘tresillo’, the ‘dream’, the ‘vapor’ and the ‘psychedelic’ into something from another dimension
What will happen to Middle Eastern electronic music?
Back in the days, every newly hyped genre was immediately incorporated into the broader movement of ‘tropical bass’ and that in turn into ‘festival EDM’. Now since there was no strong ‘centre of gravity’ any more in 2015, all the amazing Middle Eastern electronic music that we have pushed passionately this year with artists such as Deena Abdelwahed, 8ULENTINA, Dj Haram, Mutamassik, C Production and Streamer and genres like shamstep, arabtronix and desertwave, remained kind of on their own. Not that this heavy incorporation was always a good thing, not at all, it usually squeezed a genre into a prefabricated direction before the producers could even get the deserved recognition for what they had created. 8ULENTINA, Dj Haram and now also Deena are solidly part of the new club movement, but that doesn’t obviously go for all the Middle Eastern electronic music that we’re interested in at Generation Bass.
HABIBIBOI, an upcoming name in the club trax underground who is weaving Arabic elements into club music
Are there still any ignored underground scenes left, or have new ones emerged while we weren’t looking?
The question which new ‘centres of gravity’ will be of influence this coming year will not only influence Middle Eastern electronic genres but in fact any new genre or micro-movement that comes under the attention of the blogo- and Facebookgroup-sphere. But then the obvious question is, after half a decade of introducing new genres from all over the world: are there still any such underexposed sounds left anywhere? Has the internet perhaps made the formation of new local undergrounds impossible?
I am cautious to use the word ‘discover’ for the obvious appropriator-colonialist attitude that comes with it and I definitely don’t approve of that. Yet I think that the way Generation Bass has been an integral factor in many scenes in the past locally and globally, especially in countries like Chile, Mexico and Brazil is very valuable. Could there still a future for Generation Bass in this role for new movements and genres? I think the answer is and should ‘yes’. I spoke to Munchi lately and he told me that the entire internet has been sleeping on very interesting things going on in Puerto Rico’s reggaeton underground that have already started to fade away due to the lack of interest. It’s a shame because this is what Generation Bass has been created for down to the essence. We’ll keep you updated!
What will the urban-eclectic scene do now EDM is dead?
We all know the histoy: music today would not be what it is without the urban eclectic scene in the Netherlands, which started with the Antillean bubbling movement, where DJs started remixing dance tracks, which grew into a vivid crossover scene of electronic music blended with Afro-Caribbean styles like dancehall and reggaeton as well as hiphop and R&B which is much broader than ‘Dutch house’, the main sound that it produced. The multi-culturally driven scene scene effortlessly incorporated new genres like kuduro, azonto, kizomba, went through a latinhouse period and is now all about the new wave of afrohouse, without any ‘help’ from the blogosphere at all. Lately though, sadly enough, the lure of the Major Lazer’s bro-ified formula, which has turned acts like Boaz van de Beatz and Shaun D into semi-superstars, has had a big influence. But that whole magic will quickly die out this year if it hasn’t already. But then, what will be the next centre of gravity for this unique scene?
Grime, once kind of an obscure hobby in the Netherlands for alternative hiphop and UK bass fans, is having its moment in Amsterdam right now. This may perhaps, in the long run, pull the broader Dutch scene towards the club trax movement… but that is still far away, even as the club underground is making its first entrance into the Netherlands right now (HERE & HERE!). A more likely guess is that the scene could first transform itself into a reinvented version of the ‘tropical’ movement. The paradox with todays internet culture is that something seemingly worn out online can still be fresh and new for other crowds. True, ‘música tropical’ is a traditional synonym for Afro-Caribbean music in many parts of Latin America and it will probably stay that way, but in Europe it used to be a gimmick umbrella concept to combine Afro-Latin styles and brand them to hipster crowds as an exotic curiosity. A couple of years ago, the concept had its moment of high expectations and then sank away into the abyss of things passing by also on Generation Bass. But right now it seems to be making a comeback and this time free from the EDM hype machine, being more the truly harmonious fusion of electronic sounds with Afro-Latin genres in the way the Dutch scene has already been since the beginning. Much of the sounds from the tropical movement like moombahton and zouk bass have firmly found their way into the Netherlands by now, turning it into something much more authentic and permanent. My guess is you’ll definitely hear more about this ‘tropical 2.0’ this year, especially if you’re in Europe and are following KUDDEDIEREN (if you weren’t yet, you should be now). More info will follow soon!
Les Rownessbrings the contemporary sound of the urban-eclectic scene and shows how small the distance has become with what blog readers know as ‘global/tropical bass’
Where is the all the live electronic music actually?
Last spring, I was absolutely convinced that 2015 would be the year to say goodbye to not just the EDM industry but DJing as a whole. After all, producers making the tracks and DJ’s playing them on the dance floor is something that seemed to have reached its absolute dead-end with EDM’s superstar-DJs. I expected to see all kinds of different ways of electronic music, especially live bands. The underground club trax movement’s allergy against big entertainment the appreciation of producer-DJs as conceptual artists and storytellers rather than celebrities is certainly a counter-reaction. But the ‘back to the basics of club culture’ attitude still isn’t a true break away from the DJ-formula. Of course there are many new electronic bands pioneering right now but then I don’t have the feeling that they’re getting the amount of attention and recognition as I hoped they would. It may also be that it’s just ME not having my eyes open enough but I hope to see electronic bands get back to the centre of attention again in 2016. This is what I came across in the area of live electronica towards the end of last year and it’s making me very excited for the future!
Appeared earlier on the blog but I can’t repeat it enough, Bedtime Stories(alter ego ofShinji) is an extraordinary, completely independent musician with a style unlike anything else, blending the neo-dark classical touch of legends like Venetian snares with introspective gothic ambient wave into an intense, despairing yet angelic well of emotion.. all recorded and performed live
Featured earlier in theAfrofuturism Festival serieswhere I witnessed her performances live, Camae Defstar a.k.a.Moor Mother Goddess is an artist whom I should have included in the list below because she is not only a magnificent live electronic artist and but also somebody who I think is on the brink of being lifted into the spotlights of the big forward looking music magazines, her recent interview in THE FADER is only the beginning
And.. finally, of course, which specific artists do we need to keep an eye on this year?
This was perhaps the hardest part of the post because I have my own focus and am not aware of everybody in the reach of Generation Bass who may nevertheless do big things this year. Even within my focus scenes combined, there are many more promising upcoming artists than could be included here. Also, there is a big difference between people whom I might personally HOPE to break through and whom I EXPECT that will do so. I tried my best to balance it out but couldn’t escape my disproportional focus on the club avant-garde. But don’t worry, the focus will broaden this year. The dark underground series will finally be launched, with extra attention for the comeback of witchhouse, and I’ll hopefully be able to keep you updated about the Dutch urban-eclectic and new tropical scene, pay massive attention to electronic bands and solo live acts in as many genres and scenes as possible and will also try to actively promote a future generation of psychedelic/transdimensional music.
If there is one artist that I’m 100% sure will make it big from virtually out of nowhere in the same way as KAMIXLO, ANGEL-HO or Chino Amobi did last year is GAIKA, a multi-talented producer, vocalist, songwriter and visual artist from London. Not surprisingly he is also afiliated with the NON label, which will certainly stay one of the most influential labels in 2015. DAZED recently described his unique style as a blend of grime, dancehall, garage, hiphop and R&B with a gothic touch. What makes him particularly unique is that he is with one leg in the club avant-garde scene but at the same time delivers a live stage act that breaks with the DJ-producer formula and can appeal to a much broader audience in scenes like dancehall, grime and hiphop.
I don’t know what it is about the UK. It’s not just London but also other cities where the new club scene is flourishing and three steps ahead of almost everybody else. In Manchester the forward looking Swing Ting night, already one of Manchester’s best club nights back in 2014, is the big motor. The Colombian producer Florentino went from being a practically unknown bass producer to one of the most promising newcomers with the release of his Tu y Yo EP in October last year. His unique, subtle blend of reggaeton, Latin drums (surprisingly similar to what has been going on in the Dutch underground to my own ears), UK bass and club music became an instant hit in the club underground. Funnily, the EP came out just shortly after I wrote this pasionate post about all the great things that moombahton could potentially be but unfortunately isn’t, and would have been the most perfect illustration of what I meant with that post. As Florentino himself also said in a recent interview with FACT MAG, his lightfooted, romantically flavoured style is complementary to the cold industrialism of Kamixlo, both interpreting and expressing their own connection to Latin America’s most influential subculture (reggaeton) in the context of multi-cultural youth life in the UK today.
Probably the most underrated producer of 2015. As the producer for many hit bangers from Dutch acts like Bollebof and Broederliefde (who are also massively underrated outside the Netherlands), most of the credits still go to the vocalists, the faces you see in the music vids and on stage. His productions draw heavily on tarraxo, kuduro and afrobeats and he is in frequent contact with producers from the Portuguese underground, which will hopefully bring more recognition for Portuguese producers in the Dutch scene and the other way around in 2016. Expect big things this year.
His newest production ‘Kwasten’ featuringBollebof&Joyba, THE hit in the Netherlands right now
The Swedish talent Toxe was with pain in my heart not included on my ‘Best of 2015‘ list, even though she, as well as other very promising Staycore 117 affiliated producers Mapalm, Mobilegirl and Mechatok are among the most impressive new talents right now. Right when I heard the ‘Muscle Memory EP‘ and the way in which she is able to transmit something intensely deep and meaningful with very mechanical ambient sounds. Everything, from the subtle polyrhythmic elements, crispy sounds, sample work and cryptic multi-layered titles, is in the right place and creates a unique and magical experience, at the same time incredibly conceptual and incredibly powerful on the dancefloor.
Sometimes I have no explanations for why something does not happen the way I am almost convinced it must happen. The Paris based, Principe Discos signed genius DJ LyCox has been one of the most unique upcoming talents (and one of my permanently favourite producers) for more than a year. Exactly a year ago I would have sworn as confidently as now that he would be heading towards a massivbe worldwide breakthrough, joining the ranks of names like Dj Nigga Fox and Dj Marfox. But compared to other names from the Portuguese underground like Nidia Minaj, he remained completely underrated last year. So now I am saying, yes shouting out loud again that 2016 should and will be the year of Dj LyCox. If you’re still doubting, check out this recent, otherworldly forward looking track. The question is, why isn’t there a monumental, recognisable debut EP yet? If it were up to the productivity of the producer, uploading new music almost every week, he could have had an impressive discography on his name already.
He was at the forefront of a whole new experiment in the Portuguese underground sound: Portuguese batucada/kuduro enriched with hammering distorted 808 bass ..and almost nobody noticed..
Promising new talent GIL from Switzerland was lifted into the spotlights with an incredible release on THUMP half a year ago and has further released via Staycore 117 that same summer. In the meantime he has only released two tracks, nevertheless magnificent, and the last one is three months back already. Like for Dj LyCox, Gil’s unique, energetic blend of dembow, dancehall, baile funk, mechanical sounds and sample work just cries for an EP in the same way as we have seen for most of the other newcomers. If it isn’t in the making already to be announced by surprise, Gil, if you’re reading, we at Generation Bass are excited to release an EP from your hand at any time! (More soon about the Swiss underground scene too…)
Formerly known as Dj Miss Devana, is probably the most underrated producer of everybody in this list. She hasn’t yet been lifted into the big spotlights by any of the major platforms, nor in the Netherlands, even though she is making incredibly unique stuff for more than a year now. People from the moombahton scene and the wider global bass folks like the KUMBALE label have definitely shown love for a while now and that is a great start but (and that surprises me actually) she is still virtually unknown in the underground club scene. I’m really looking forward to see her get the recognition she’d deserve by platforms like the Staycore 117 fam or the Classical Trax community, as well as by the Dutch urban-eclectic scene. Preferably at the same time. The passionate dedication, unique style and talent is definitely there!
We may know newcomer JKZ, formerly know as Rain Jx or JAKZ, from our massive DoomBahTon compilation and from the Favela Trap House EP but he isn’t even a fraction as known as he should be. Expect a post soon about him and the underground scene around him: a collective of friends who are into experimental music, dark sinister stuff and just doing things differently in a way that creates something unique. JKZ is his producer project, focused on energetic dark trap with a touch of vapor/trillwave and baile funk. Shortly ago, he launched a second project as a rapper rapping over self produced beats: $KA. Where JKZ is about dark energetic bangers, $KA pushes a mystical, smokey ambient chill sound where again, traces of baile funk come back in a way never done before. Much like GAIKA, he creates a format where the producer and the MC blend into a live act formula with the potential to appeal to push the music into whole new directions.
When I got into contact with Munchi a couple of months ago he told me, prepare for the secret EP of Godwonder, carefully prepared and crafted under his direction, dedicated entirely to making music that bridges the gap between the contemporary street sounds of the Dominican Republic and of Amsterdam. 2016, without any doubt, will be the year of Godwonder and not just because Munchi has attached his name to it. With this new EP, out within a couple of days, Godwonder shows that he has found his direction and sound and is ready to leave his lasting mark on the development of music for the coming years.
Closing with yet another producer from the club underground whom I’m both very enthusiastic about and also convinced he will definitely break through this year. Interestingly although well appreciated in the club trax scene, he is not affiliated to any of its major labels but recently released a magnificent debut EP (‘Manuscript EP‘) on the forward looking label Infinite Machine, which is certainly ‘avant-garde’ in attitude but definitely not limited to club music, also releasing a lot of great experimental techno and house flavoured music. It is precisely this open connection, beyond the immediate borders of the new club scene, that make Thomás Urquieta’s music a powerful example to imagine music in a near future when the current fresh club trax sound has transformed and durably influenced everything.
At a regular Saturday night in club Far West, Dallas Texas, once the ultimate example of a 3ball stronghold, very little is left that will remind of the cultural explosion that took place just a few years ago. Cowboys in skinny jeans and tartan shirts long were there long before the genre, just as the traditional North-Mexican nightlife custom of walk-dancing around the large hall in big circles. But gone are the extravagant pointy-boots, with their electric lights and shiny glitter prints. The timeless charm of traditional Mexican Norteño and banda music almost makes 3ball seem like nothing more than a historical curiosity. But the transformative role the genre has played in the development of the new generation Latin Music has left its traces for the future to come.
3ball was my first love of global bass genres. Back home after travelling in Mexico in the summer of 2011, I was hungry as usual after holidays to explore what music people over there are into. It was right at the moment when the pointy-boots hype was blowing up in the hipster-media. Vice was about to release its monumental documentary, and even a Dutch television show touched upon it. I was hooked from the very first moment I heard the fresh sound, which was electronic, Latin and urban-flavoured at the same time but very different from anything I ever heard before, like reggaeton, baile funk or bubbling. I spent days listening to DJ Carlos’ Bull City mixtapes, and as I got excited to spread this stuff to the Netherlands, I suddenly found myself surrounded by the vibrant international scene known as global bass. The rest is history.
3ball is almost a decade old now since its inception in the late-00s. Ten years seem like an eternity in times of cyberspace, where kingdoms can rise and fall as a matter of months. The story of 3ball is therefore not merely a story of one music genre. It is one of the best examples that shows how the internet has changed music and youth culture forever.
Back in 2010, a blogger nostalgically described how he witnessed the last days of record shopping right in front of his eyes. Mexico City’s labyrinthine, unregulated market of Tepito, was one of the last places to find the pirated CD’s for local consumption, which had been dominating the streets all over Latin America just a few years earlier. Among the CD’s he could find there however, were the first records of a new genre called ‘ritmo tribal’.
Tribal, often written as 3ball to avoid confusion in English, actually does derive its name from ‘tribal house’. If anyone can be credited with the ‘invention’ of the genre, it is Ricardo Reyna, one of Mexico’s most accredited house DJ’s, who was into tribal house and became inspired by the indigenous folkloric dances that can be seen all over Mexico City to create tribal house with a distinctly Mexican identity, as a response to the ever growing presence of western music genres. Mexico is one of the Latin American countries where the indigenous cultural heritage is most strongly engrained in the country’s national pride. And Mexico youth are, much more than in other Latin American countries, aware of their situation of being at the same time very close to and most clearly screwed over by the United States. Nothing would be better suitable to express a Mexican identity for 21st century teens than electronic beats that resonate the unique near-triplet patterns of the folkloric dances they’ve grown up with.
An indigenous folkloric dance performance in Ecatepec, Morelos, Mexico
Ricardo Reyna’s ‘Danza Azteca’, one of the first ‘3ball’ tracks ever produced
Mexico City and beyond
Reyna’s experiment was a success and his creation quickly moved away from tribal house into a full blown new genre. This new genre used to be a purely Mexico City thing in the beginning, barely heard of outside the city. The early 3ball was trippy and repetitive but also diverse, using varied percussion and samples, some folkloric, others more related to daily life. In this very local underground scene leaders like DJ Mouse created tracks that would become the genre’s first classics and would steer the sound into a more standard formula.
One of the oldest 3ball-tracks that can still be found on the web, apart from Ricardo Reyna
DJ Mouse’s ‘La Musica Tribal’, one of early hits that forms the basis of standard 3ball
Out of this early sound also emerged the first subgenres: tribal prehispanico, tribal guarachero, and tribal costeño. Tribal prehispanico has stayed most faithful to the oldskool, keeping the almost purely percussive vibe of the Aztec dances, enhanced by the folkloric samples such as flutes. Tribal guarachero introduced harder percussion, conga’s, shakers and cowbells from cumbia and lo-fi synth melodies. Tribal costeño fused the characteristic uptempo ‘contracted afterbeat’-rhythm, which came to define the genre, with the folklore of the Pacific south coast, resulting in pop-friendly sound, driven by accordion chords and catchy melodies. Notably, all three the styles removed the kick on the main beat, marking a definitive break with the Western music tradition.
Prehispanico remained the local sound of Mexico City while the hyper-energetic guarachero became booming in the North and the warm-blooded costeño in the South.
3ball blew up in the Northern Mexican states and started to create an entirely new subculture, fusing with the North-Mexican ranch culture, which spread to the Mexican youth communities in US cities like Dallas and Houston, where this subculture grew even more massive. At the same time, the international media started to jump on it, not just global bass blogs but mainstream media such as MTVIggy, TheFader, DummyMag and The Guardian. The influential Mexican music pioneer Toy Selectah’s dream with 3ball MTY was to transform 3ball into the defining sound of next-generation Latin music. Under his auspices, 3ball MTY lifted the sound out of the underground into the world of pop, creating songs that can be performed live. Their single Inténtalo, featuring the notorious pointy boots to the max, presented 3ball to the world, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Latin Song chart, leading the hit charts of Mexico and many other Latin American countries.
Inténtalo started a chain of enthusiasm for 3ball. 3ball MTY performed at the Mad Decent block party and in Europe and worked together not only with Mexican pop artists but also with the reggaetoneros J King y Maximan. Non-Mexican global bass producers like Munchi now fully embraced the sound and started to produce it themselves. And what few people know is that even South American countries artists pioneered with local, Andean flavoured 3ball music.
Urban-flavoured 3ball from Dallas, featuring rapperJuan Johnson
3ball MTY – Inténtalo, the defining track of the genre for mainstream audiences
3ball was internationally hailed as ‘Aztec rave from the future’, the ultimate sound to welcome the mythical aliens at the 2012 apocalypse. But interest in the sound faded almost as soon as the popular fear for the Mayan Calendar. Collaborations with the big Latin pop stars like Pitbull, which everyone probably expected, did never come. And global bass as a whole faded out of view in the shadow of trap, twerk, bigroom and deephouse. So what did happen instead?
First of all, the scene in Dallas and Houston quickly collapsed under its own weight. A who had been in Dallas around 2012 DJ told me that there were near-identical 3ball parties in almost every club, which drove Mexican youths away from it, returning towards mellow Latin hiphop, Norteño music and edited cumbias. Most of what remained of the subgenres of tribal prehispanico, guarachero and tribal costeño stagnated into repeating exactly the same sound.
But, as I wrote a year ago, the genre reinvented itself, now free from expectations to become the next big thing. EDM, especially and urban-latin-pop, the sound of most popular late-reggaeton, have been major inspirations for Mexican youths who kept making 3ball. In Oaxaca, DJ Giovanni Rios created a hybrid, EDM-flavoured sound of 3ball and brostep, dubbed tribal evolution. In Dallas, the influential DJ Tamalero kept pushing his unique 140 BPM style with hard synths. In Apodaca, the innovative duo Los Innsurgentes started pioneering with avant-garde underground flavoured 3ball-bass. And dedicated producers such as Clap Freckles and Alfonso Luna kept making forward looking tribal prehispanico.
Super fresh forward-looking tribal prehispanico from Alfonso Luna
The most recent, and very promising innovation is the fusion with the dreamy, hi-fi futuristic synths of future beats, pioneerd by 3ball MTY’s Erick Rincon with the NAAFI signed avant-garde producer Siete Catorce as well as by the Canadian global bass allrounder Antae.
Examples of ‘future tribal’
Beyond Mexican Identity?
If anything, I expect the future of 3ball to be safe in the hands of the Mexican avant-garde platformNAAFI, one of my all-time favourite labels, who recently compiled an extensive anthology of the genre and its sub-flavours. The label is the one of the most important incubators of innovation in music and culture, not just for Mexico and the Latin world, but for the entire world.
NAAFI is post-global bass, post-future-beats, post-EDM and post-urban. Post anything we have known so far. NAAFI is both internet-avant-garde and semi-mainstream at the same time. NAAFI is where global youth culture leaves behind the rigid fixation on exclusive cultural identities as well as the vicious circle of global bass’ often inevitable colonial stereotypes and cultural appropriation. NAAFI is respectful, ritual deconstruction and rising from the ashes. Mexican identity beyond Mexican identity. Cinco de Mayo beyond Cinco de Mayo. NAAFI is, in short, nothing less than the future culture itself, and I’m somehow convinced that 3ball will be part of it.
“Just heard the finals and personally it’s the best release of 2014, real talk”- Munchi
Here’s a new name to watch from the heart of one of the most interesting musical countries in the dance world, Angola. The place that gave birth to Kuduro, Tarraxinha, Tarraxo, Semba, Fodencia, Kizomba, Future Tarraxo and Zouk Bass!
This is the Motherland of some of the most interesting riddims & sounds to have gripped the Western dance world in recent years and which have been brought to greater prominence in the West via the help of the Portuguese New Wave, most of whom are in some way linked to Angola.
“Nazar” is that new name in the game!
“Rough Kuduro” is his invention – a brutal, dark & sinister kind of Justice meets an Industrial Kuduro sound with experimental drums which remind us of dark techno, breakcore and, of course, Munchi’s iconic skullbass genre!
As Nazar explains…”Rough Kuduro was to give another narrative – more politically – to our genuine music style called Kuduro. By exploring rawness and the extreme violence of the 27-year Angolan civil war.”
This ground-breaking and innovative EP consists of 3 mind-blowing, cinematic and thought-provoking tracks. Nazar is best placed to shed some light on them all:
“NIHIL, my project – obviously inspired on nihilism – tries to translate into distorted frequencies, emotions as fear, anxiety, hate, the feeling of belonging to a rebel group, arrogance, Hubris syndrome and so on. ”
“….is my take on how the Angolan society was divided during that war. And what drove the violence of this conflict after Political implication and purposes. I think it’s really powerful energy that makes with stop caring around yourself and the possibilities that you may be wound and killed when you go fighting. So I just tried to translate in a song that can provoke you same thing. You’ll feel invincible while listening to it.
“….. – is the consequence of this main emotion.”
III.“10 000 Africans”
“….– was named after an approximate number of men it takes to overthrow a government in Africa. Angola is of course the main inspiration behind this work, but I look at other stuff going on all over the continent. 10000 Africans was named after a situation created in my mind where “imaginary rebel gang of 10 000 men, were heading down to the state head quarter to commit a Putsch (Coup D’Etat) while cheering up themselves, with evil chants, burning village on the ways, raping women. Shooting in the air etc.”
Raúl Chacaltana, better known as DM∆TTH, is a young DJ from Lima Perú who has been involved in the Tropical Bass scene for some years now, and although he is architecture lover, he’s also a Bass Music lover!! And as a consequence of that he bring us this amazing EP called “MASHUP”.
And this is what it is, a serie of killer mashups from very different styles, all together!
Throughout the EP you’ll find tracks from big names like: Munchi, Buraka Som Sistema, Björk, Schlachthofbronx, Miss Bolivia, Quantic, Bigote, etc!
Schlachthofbronx x Quantic x Dengue Dengue Dengue! – Cumbia Riddim (DMTTH Refix)
To us Munchi is the most important producer of the past 5 years in the Trans/Global/Tropical/whateva u wanna call it/ Bass Underground.
He is our brother, our son the DJ, one of our bloggers, the one and only underground dance artist in our 5 years to whom we have dedicated a whole one day special – cause he is that special.
He is still pretty special! This scene has taken a nose-dive in innovation since he has taken time out to cope with his illness. We hope he has a full recovery and gets back on track asap cause we need him, this scene needs him, innovation needs him!
We miss him, just like most of the underground scene does. We hope he comes back soon to knock the pretenders off their fake thrones!
Here’s some great footage of him taken by Daniel Van Hauten!
You might recall that Munchi broke these Chilean geniuses on Generation Bass back in 2011 HERE and we’ve been blogging them several times since then too.
It’s been a while since we’ve had their Shamanic, Pan Flute driven Tribal House on this blog but they’re back with a great new mix for some radio station called “Zero” and it’s another astonishing and captivating listen.
“Rough Kuduro” is his invention – a brutal, dark & sinister kind of Justice meets an Industrial Kuduro sound with experimental drums which remind us of dark techno, breakcore and, of course, Munchi’s iconic skullbass genre!
As Nazar explains…
”Rough Kuduro was to give another narrative – more politically – to our genuine music style called Kuduro. By exploring rawness and the extreme violence of the 27-year Angolan civil war.”
I’m 21 year-old Angolan and Belgian producer, London-based, with the main purpose of exploring rawness and the extreme violence of the 27-year Angolan civil war.
Angola is known musically for its Kuduro – genre created and widely celebrated to make us forget our dark and violent past. But my motivation is definitely the opposite. Since I’ve started making music, I’ve obsessively looked after ways to make us remember those dystopian years. Rough Kuduro is the result of that. I think there’s still so much to explore.
My quest is for a brutal – yet imperfect but honest – sound.