Remember the post where I gave you that map of Global Bass with some thoughts about where it’s heading? This post will be kind of a ‘PART II’ to that one. One of the buzzwords you may have heard me saying over and over again in discussions on Facebook (before I went on a Facebook break for some months) is ‘global bass integration’. But what is it and why should we even care?
For the ones who haven’t heard the yet I’ll make a long story short. There are basically three forms of ‘global bass’ existing today (I won’t get into a discussion whether or not the roots of the movement today go back to the 1990s Dutch and UK multicultural music scenes and African and Latin urban-electronic movements and or rather to transnational pop-rock that has been around since the 60s and 70s and even further back, I leave that to experts with more music experience than myself):
1.) the original scenes behind the non-Western dance genres (kuduro, tarraxo, baile funk, cumbia, 3ball etc.)
2.) bloggers, DJ’s and producers, often from the West, bringing these genres under the attention of new audiences who do not themselves belong to those original scenes..
This distinction is important because when you talk about a scene, you’re talking about a group of people rather than a style of music or aesthetics who recognise themselves as part of one group, associated with a certain name (or often, that name is given to them by outsiders). If you want to talk about a global or transnational (or, for that matter, a tropical) bass scene, you are only talking about those people who consider themselves as part of the movement that combines non-Western dance genres, most often for different, Western audiences. It is, no matter the intentions, an activitiy where the pitfall of cultural appropriation is always just around the corner. Especially when the genres are adapted to fit the formula of EDM, tailored for consumption by American festival crowds.
Stereotypically, over the past ten years, there have been two types of parties where you can hear genres like kuduro, tarraxo, cumbia, dembow, baile funk, etc.:
1.) Parties from the scenes of those genres, so, in Angola, Lisbon or even the kuduro scenes in the metropoles in France, all over Latin America’s working class neighbourhoods and in the hispanic neighbourhoods in US cities etc.
2.) Indie-tronic parties labelled as ‘tropical’, with white hipsters indulging in a tropical fantasy-world filled with palmtrees, big shaking butts, seductive fruits and menacing wild animals..
Of course I am exaggerating, but the big difference is that only in the second scene, you could hear the different genres together, instead of just one (or a limited number) of them. On tropical parties, moving from cumbia to moombahton, to rasterinha to trap has been bread and butter for years. But I doubt if there has ever been a cumbia track played at bailes funk in Rio or a tarraxo track at a 3ball party in Monterrey. And when some years ago, Venezuela’s Tuki became known via the global bass movement, the creators were amazed to find out that the sound they had developed was so similar to kuduro or bubbling, which they weren’t aware of when they created it.
I think it is clear today that the ‘tropical formula’ as a way to popularise these genres into the new EDM craze has failed. It couldn’t compete with trap and twerk’s hood-fantasies of guns and money and bling. But it was not just controversial, it also failed to involve the scenes around the people who created it. Most of them didn’t even associate themselves with concepts like global or tropical bass. If the transnational bass scene could reinvent itself into a movement that does not grab every non-Western dance flavour as raw material for the newest fad in American EDM but exchanges ideas and sounds between the original scenes themselves, the future may look very different.
Since the early days, a lot has changed in this direction. Much of the younger generation of producers in any of the indigenous genres has grown up with the internet, global bass blogs and, especially in Latin America, many producers nowadays know about all the ‘neighbouring sounds’ existing elsewhere in the world and often start to associate themselves with the global bass movement. In this way, a ‘reverse movement’, taking other sounds from the appropriating hipster avant-garde back into indigenous scenes sometimes occurs.
The thriving urban-electronic-eclectic scenes 0f multi-cultural youths in the metropolitan cities the UK or the Netherlands and on the island of Mauritius, can be an example for the new transnational bass to be.
The producer-dj duo Smash & Aries are an upcoming act in the Dutch urban-eclectic scene who smoothly fuse RnB, hiphop and house with genres like afrobeats, kuduro, kizomba, dancehall, moombahton and more!
Wanna know what’s going on in the Mauritius scene? Check out this mixtape from DJash Ley, supporting the upcoming talents DHARISH, AVI S, FUNKJ and DJash Ley himself! It’s mostly Afro-Latin house but a look at the producers will show that they produce everything from house to kuduro, baile funk, moombahton and trap..
Mexico City is one of the most innovative places in the world for music these days and not just on the hipster side of things. One of the most important developments next to cumbiaton is the rise of an urban-eclectic scene much like in Europe, where urban-Latin sounds of reggaeton and dancehall are combined with EDM. DJ Krizis, a big name in Mexico City’s reggaeton scene, introduced moombahton on such an urban-eclectic night last year which even in design looks a lot like what’s going on in the Netherlands..
I already shared his moombahton mixtape before but in case you missed it, here anoter shoutout!
From the very start, I’ve been a supporter of moombahton as a future branch not of EDM but of reggaeton, especially with live MC’s.. ‘moombahton urbano’. In Sweden there is DJ Cuervo who pushes the urban-flavoured combination of moombahton, reggaeton and dancehall. Check out his mixtape he made together with Dj Blass!
DJ SmokeMachine from Lisbon is an exciting innovator who pushes the wider global bass genres, mostly zouk bass but also some tuki, and even cumbia & 3ball into the Portuguese ghetto-zouk underground!
So then what about tracks, are producers from different scenes exploring each other’s sounds? Well, yes they’re starting to do that more and more..
One of the things I’m most strongly hoping for most that the funk scene in Brazil and the Afro-Portuguese underground will get more involved with each other in the near future. They speak each other’s language so there’s definitely potential there. And I’m always on the lookout if I perhaps see producers from each side liking and commenting on each others tracks. This has already happened a couple of times but unfortunately I couldn’t find the examples back to share them here.
DJ Dotorado recently made a funk tune for his Maluku EP, pushing funk into the Portuguese underground! He took the EP off his soundcloud, I don’t know why, but the demo is still online..
And of course don’t forget Anderson Teixeira‘s tribute to funk from last year.. Tarraxo das Brasileiras! I hope that somebody from Brazil reads this and will play this track at a baile!
Funk itself too is evolving a lot lately. Next to beatbox sambles and horn stabs, percussion beats are back and there’s a lot of experimentation going on with synths. Innovative funk producer duo RD da NH & André BPM made an exciting track last month which perfectly closes the gap with Portuguese underground flavours!
And this is from last week, rasterinha-twerk with lots of bass!
And if there is any other genre many producers from the Portuguese underground are into, it the hiphop side of trap & Chicago-drill. This two rad tunes from DJ Babaz Fox and DJ Estraga fuses drill with kuduro!
One of the most unexpected examples of global bass integration I came across randomly is this amazing collab from the Argentinian bass alrounder FDA The Producer and the Detroit based future-trapper ▲ZER, which mixes Argentinian urban cumbia villera with trap. That is already cool in itself but the most exciting thing is that this is released on the prominent EDM-trap label Defco Records, who have seldomly touched global bass flavours before, let alone cumbia!
Once and a while the EDM-trap scene shows some interest in global bass and I predict this will grow stronger in the future. Check out this massive, arabic flavoured banger from the German talent Karl Hungus. Traphood Family tagged it as ‘twerk’ but the moombahton element is just as strong here!
It is not just the Portuguese underground which is getting more interested in baile funk. Bass producers, and not just the hipster ones, from the Spanish-speaking part of Latin America are discovering it too..
3ball OG Clap Freckles made this exciting funk-guarachero (3baile!) track a year ago and I’m actually surprised that nobody else has followed this example yet..
The 16 year old mexican alrounder DJ ChuCko is a quickly rising global bass talent with potential to follow in the line of names like Bacondo, Wost and Billion Dollars. And the promising thing is that he experiments with all different kinds of transnational flavours. Check out this electrifying funk-3ball-latinhouse banger!
And here he fuses kuduro with 3ball!
More latin-kuduro here from the Venezuelan duo Mambo Killers!
These tracks made a dream come true. When I first found out about 3ball after travelling in Mexico, I immediately wished I could somehow connect that sound to the urban-eclectic scene here in the Netherlands, together with bubbling, kuduro, reggaeton, Dutch house, grime etc. But there are very few Mexican youths in the Netherlands so I doubted it would ever happen. But this idea got me in the global bass scene and the rest is history ;-)..
I should have blogged this stuff right away when the tracks came out but I didn’t manage and have been waiting for this moment ever since!
Even though DJ Lockie is an absolute hero for everyone interested in bubbling, both inside and outside the Netherlands, his biggest ever fan is the hard-Latin-tronic experimentalist from Santa Rosa California, DJ Broken Record. This enthusiasm resulted in a mini-EP, dedicated to the town of Santa Rosa, fusing zouk bass & cumbia!
And don’t forget that the rhythm in some Portuguese underground kuduro tracks come very close to 3ball as well. I remember that Anderson Teixeira had a track once which was almost identical to tribal prehispanico, but he took it off his soundcloud so the closest I can find now is DJ Nigga Fox‘ unique style. If we haven’t blogged his newest track yet, shame on us, it’s RAD!
And while bubbling is coming back in the Netherlands, the Dominican dembow scene almost reinvented it with tracks like this banger from DJ Scuff!
If from the central global bass genres, this eclectic attitude diffuses further to shape the future not just of Western genres but also of urban-Latin music, dancehall, soca, kizomba etc. the future of music can be very thrilling.
We at Generation Bass are ready for it!