When I am writing my posts, I always imagine you to be either a global bass dj checking out tunes for your next gig, or an ardent global bass fan such as I was myself before I became a blogger. But of course I don’t have a clue whom I’m talking to. Maybe you’re somebody from my student union or from my grad-school, not into global bass at all but just taking another peek into all the weird stuff that Victor is doing these days. Maybe you just found out about Generation Bass via my Soundcloud account, discovering a whole new world. Or maybe you just want to know what will be the ‘next big thing’ in music..
Anyway, each week you’re presented with cumbia. Often cumbia plus something else: electronic synths, dub, reggae, rap, dembow.. Modern interpretations of a Colombian rhythm with ancient African and pre-hispanic indigenous roots.
“Is anybody interested in that.. in the Netherlands?” (with the emphasis on ‘the Netherlands’) a guy from my student union asked me a couple of weeks ago when I explained him what I was blogging about each week.
“I don’t exactly know,” I answered. “I just write for anyone, anywhere in the world who is interested enough to check it out..”
Actually, there is an interest for cumbia in the Netherlands. Fantástica: un cumbia happening is probably the best cumbia event on the European continent, fairly rivaled by the great live performances of the biggest cumbia artists, organised by Colombian event host Pagoza. And cumbia is also an important ingredient of alternative Latin parties like Fiesta Macumba or vintage tropical parties like Vintage Voudou and Moksi Boom Boom.
But who are targeted or reached with cumbia is hard to say. The Latino community here are mostly Dominicans and Colombians and, without generalising, I’ve got the impression that the Latin scene represented by popular clubs such as El Punto Latino in Amsterdam, is mostly salsa, merengue, reggaeton, latin house and zouk. Not a lot of cumbia there as far as I can tell. The blooming cumbia scenes of Mexico, Peru, and Argentina seem to have no counterpart on Dutch soil.
So who in the Netherlands should dance to cumbia then? Middle-aged middle-upper class world-music fanatics who want to stay for a night of reveling in tropical grooves after seeing a similar flavoured live performance? Self-proclaimed open-minded college hippies with new-age tendencies? Hipsters craving for the newest hype?
And then still, which type of cumbia will be used for what purpose? And how will it be marketed? Is every option appropriate.. could it be stealing or stereotyping Latin culture? As an adopted and completely Dutchified Colombian, I’ve been presented with cumbia ‘workshops’ from early onward. Back in the days it was indeed simply a matter of adoptees in traditional costumes, enacting Colombian culture to ‘feel more connected’ to their roots. To be sure, I am definitely not accusing anyone specific. For every finger I point, there are another three pointing towards myself. These are just some questions I’ve been discussing with people intensely over the last days and want to take very seriously.
But more than time for cumbia now!
First the mixtapes…
P-Teez a.k.a. Pablo Tesio from Argentina did this psychedelic mix of deep, dub and organic cumbia.. perfect for a lazy Sunday on the couch or as background music in the lounge-corner !
El Gayo Negro, the Mexican nu-cumbia embassador in Switzerland did another mix this week for the Zürich-based alternative radio station GDS.FM. This one explores the a wide range of different flavours.. from traditional stuff to experimental sounds to pop-cumbifications and cumbiaton, it’s all represented!
This mixtape from the Guatemalan moombahtonista Dj MIxA is, as the title gives away, more straightforwardly dancefloor-oriented. These energetic, seXXy cumbia-bass grooves are ready to rock the summer of 2014!
I discovered this ancient-futuristic Andes mixtape from the Chilean Australian musician and folklore investigator Galambo ‘last-minute’ before publishing this post. Not all-cumbia but if you’re a fan of both the organic roots-side of transnational music and of experimental techno, this will surely blow your mind!
The same goes for this hot mixtape from the brand-new tropical duo from Merida, Yucatán, Los Ricardos, featuring a blend of cumbia, cumbiatronica, cumbiaton and reggaeton!
The EP section has got three excellent releases in store this week…
The first is the fantastic new creation of Real Cumbia Activa, a collective consisting of the moombahtonista Fake Moustache, global bass experimentalist 4:20 Music Flavor and cumbia-remix master Albert Dj, released on my favourite global bass label: Regional Label!
‘Gozadera Cumbia Sonidera’ is a creative bass project with Mexico City’s danceable cumbia-sonidera groove as its basic element. The EP opens with an energetic cumbiaton banger, featuring Arturo Herrera. The second track is a subtle bass edit of the amazing song ‘Vienes y te Vas’ from the Mexican band Los Askis which combines cumbia sonidera with folkloristic Andes sounds. Another exponent of this interesting genre of ‘Cumbia Andina Mexicana’ is the band Los Llayeras. RCA gave their song ‘El Verde de Tus Ojos‘ to a nice zouk-bass/lento makeover. The closing track is a collab with El Catorce: an experimental track which draws heavily from the vibes reggae and hiphop.
The second, ‘Full difusion’ is an EP with three booming urban-cumbiaton bangers with a subtle dose of bass, released a couple of days ago by the cumbiatonero RPM!
It is a couple of months ago now since Oye!Simpson first released his amazing Corbeau EP. What makes this work so unique and worth some extra love, is that it is almost entirely organic. And not sampled but live performed, all by the artist himself. This week, the independent transnational bass label Boom One Records turned it into an official album release, with a vinyl version also in the making, more than worth to be purchased!!
Moving on to the single releases now!
After last week’s special edition, dedicated to Erick Jaimez has continued full-force with this remix of ‘Bien Pedos’, a collab between rapper Microphone Killa and Dj Rage. Interesting fact, during my time in Mexico, the commonly used, multi-meaning slang-word ‘pedo’, literally ‘fart’ but also ‘drunk’ was one of the weirdest things things in Mexican Spanish to get used to..
Tu Guaina, cumbia alchemist from Argentina, is always pushing the limits of creativity with the most mind-altering cumbia grooves, drawing from styles like techno and psytrance. Demonios del Baile is the newest example of his visionary style that is equally energetic as it is meditative!
With ‘Royal Crown Cumbia’, the Clarkston-based tropicalist and dub artist Piper Street Sound is also exploring the experimental side of things. This track features traditional percussion and accordions, organic 70s guitar and vibraphone psychedelism alongside dub sound effects and delicious, sharp bass synths!
Next to his contribution to the RCA EP, 4:20 Music Flavor uploaded two new tunes of his own this week.
The first one is a very happy cumbia-hiphop-bass edit that will guarantee a smile on your face while you nod your head to the beat.
The other one is a deliciously deep and soulful cumbiaton track that accompanies your Sunday afternoon daydream session!
More great music was released by Pablo Pachutik, a transnational bass artist from Cochabamba, Bolivia. The first one is an uptempo tropical bass tune, tagged as ‘tropical dancehall’, which has unmistakeably cumbia influences!
These cumbia influences are a bit less pronounced in the dark trap-dub track ‘Amazonico Grito’.. but this is so good that you just have to check it out right away!!
From the early days of my first explorations into transnational bass, I remember Michael Bruce as an avid supporter of 3ball. Next to mine, when I still had the fire-eye for a profile picture, I always saw the characteristic ‘M’ logo of this Portland based tropicalist on almost every tune I digged. He’s also a good producer himself, with a list of releases that vary from footwork to moombahton and kuduro. Although he’s been away for a couple of months, he is back now with this experimentally flavoured, tarraxo influenced, deep-dub cumbiaton production: ‘Mud Cumbia’!
Sabogal is a versatile, experimental producer from Lima whom I discovered a couple of weeks back. Now he is back with another nice digital cumbia track involving percussion from the Amazon!
My new discovery for this week is the Mexico-City-based producer Asagi Saundo, whose approach to cumbia is both ‘galactic’ and passionate at the same time. His synth and sound effect work is intended to take you on a trip through space and time. But with an equal dose of dance-drive, he makes sure you enjoy your trip to the max !
This mysterious, crop circle themed track is his newest release..
..and also check out this energetic release from a couple of weeks back!
If there is one music genre that is repeatedly declared either ‘dead’ or ‘making a comeback’ and continuously trying (and often failing) to reinvent itself for a much longer time than our generation has even been around, it is classical music. There is hardly a genre which has not in some way or another used-edited-remixed famous classical music lines, often from Mozart or Beethoven. Cumbia is no exception. This Mozart-cover from the 70s Colombian band Afrosound, which brought the psychedelic chicha sound ‘back’ into the Colombian cumbia scene, was uploaded this week by the vintage chicha channel Sonido Chichadelico!
Time for the banger section!!
The Chilean collective Moombahkingz has joined forces to push the moombahton movement in Chile for about half a year now and has already attracted the attention of a number of major artists in the scene and of the platform OG Moombahton! I selected three of their most recent tracks to show why they deserve massive support from both the cumbia and the moombahton scene!!
Here they mashed-up of a cumbia classic and an already legendary moombah riddim from Cratesz & 2 Deep..
Here they crazily moombafied a happy song from the Chilean cumbia band La Sonora de Tommy Rey!
Last week, Arturo Herrera showed how to combine the tropical grooves of moombahton with the energy of nu-jumpup-moombahcore. This week he repeats the trick like a boss: turning the most legendary-ever cumbia tune into a festival-rave experience!!
Just two days ago, Mexico-City’s Moombahton OG Fake Moustache released a brand-new EP, ‘Spend Money’ (which we will support in a separate post coming week), with badass bangers that combine the sounds of twerk, trap and moombahton!! As the icing on the cake, this last track of the EP, ‘Vamos a Hacerlo Sencillo’, has some cumbia in it.. Therefore some extra support here as well!!
There were two pop-cumbifications this week.. The first one is a absolutely delicious remix of Major Lazer’s ‘Aerosol Can’, from Lima’s nu-cumbia legend Tribilínsound!
The Mexico-City based remixer Fricci refashioned last year’s summer hit Royals with a laidback cumbiaton vibe!
But.. what could be a better way to finish than with this fantastic ultimate feelgood tune from the Uruguayan duo Vi-Em. This song blows my mind !! It has more than enough potential to become this year’s ‘Ai Se Eu te Pego’.. THE radio summer-hit of 2014!!
“Sing ! Life is a Party!” Grab it here and play it everywhere you can!!