Produções

Artist: DJ Estraga & DJ Ly-COox (Lisbon, Portugal & Paris, France)
Title: Tarraxar Sem Medo (2014)

In addition to kizomba, I had to feature some of that badass tarraxinha sound that is the genre’s close cousin. In a manner similar to how the producer and label “drops” of Mike Will Made-It and Maybach Music adorn tracks in trap music, the names of producers are generously sprinkled into the fabric of this relatively new and urban Portuguese offshoot of Angola’s irresistible pop mainstream. It’s thanks to this that I know I’m about hear some dope jams when I hear the names of DJ Estraga and DJ Ly-COox, two artists who are absolutely killing it right now.

Portland’s DJ Panaflex has been spinning the weirdest of mixes in his bedroom since late last year. We’re proud to bring you his freshmen effort, Summer is a State of Mind. At just over 50 minutes, this mix features 17 examples of why getting a midi controller and a copy of Traktor Pro was something he couldn’t put off a second longer.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing with you his notes on the tracks that make up Summer is a State of Mind.

Advertisements

What We Do

Portland’s DJ Panaflex has been spinning the weirdest of mixes in his bedroom since late last year. We’re proud to bring you his freshmen effort, Summer is a State of Mind. At just over 50 minutes, this mix features 17 examples of why getting a midi controller and a copy of Traktor Pro was something he couldn’t put off a second longer.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing with you his notes on the tracks that make up Summer is a State of Mind. Today’s feature is track 1:

Artist: RaphaaelVááz & VN (Almada, Portugal)
Title: Don’t Tell ‘Em (Kizomba Remix) (2015)

I knew I wanted to start the mix with a Top 40 cover and I wanted it to be kizomba. This particular pick was irresistible because the track it covers is itself a cover of sorts. The original, by Jeremih “borrows” heavily from German group, Snap’s Rhythm Is A Dancer. I really, really want to hate Jeremih’s version, but the appeal of DJ Mustard’s understated production can’t be denied and it made it to number 6 on the Billboard Top 100, so it’s fair to say it will be unavoidable for years to come. I like the gender roll reversal inherent in having a woman sing the cocksure male lyrics, and the kizomba version offers the added benefit of sidestepping YG’s disgusting rap section.

Getting to Know Passinho

Regular readers of Volumes of Bass will remember the time we shared the story of Rio de Janeiro’s latest dance craze breaking out of the ghetto and into the international limelight. If you’re like us, the last place you anticipated for dancers to take the style is from aggressive club-oriented Funk Carioca to the more laid-back grooves of raggae. But if the numerous examples found on YouTube are any indication, that’s exactly the direction passinho has taken.

Youths perform a passinho do reggae routine

While considerably less spectacular, it seems this is a significant development along with the emergence of projects that clearly have the budgets for more than a neighborhood bodega’s borrowed sound system and a base-model Nokia camera phone for recording video. In case you’ve been wondering what Ricky Martin has been up to since falling off North America’s radar with the fading success of She Bangs in 2000, the latest answer is actually a single with a video that prominently features the dance:

Ricky Martin feat. Dream Team do Passinho – Vida

For the uninitiated, the best introduction to passinho is undoubtedly the 2012 documentary, A Batalha do Passinho that tells the stories of some of the favelas kids responsible for the style’s early development and activist Julio Ludemir’s efforts to get it the recognition and widespread acceptance it deserves by organizing dance battles for inner-city youths. The whole thing can be watched in its entirety for free on IMDB.

The trailer to A Batalha do Passinho

Tijuana comes to Portland

DJ Chucuchu – Chucumix Vol. 2

This coming Saturday, February 7, something very special is happening at Valentine’s. DJ Chucuchu is coming all the way from Tijuana to bring the cumbia heat.

If I had to pick one word to sum up my excitement about this event it would be “authenticity”. While for many the Mexican border town conjures gritty images of crime and strife born of Narco Cinema and urban legend, the fact remains that it’s a city of 1.7 million that no-doubt supports the kind of club scene a Portlander can only dream of.

DJ Chucuchu

Reading his bio on the Facebook event page, it soon becomes evident that we’re dealing with a bonafide international act, someone whose toured in support of A-list rock bands and electronic performers alike. For those of you not familiar with cumbia, it’s been said that it is like what the rest of the hemisphere listens to the way we listen to rock and roll.

If you’ve been to Gran Ritmos‘ stellar parties, you’ve certainly heard cumbia, but like rock, it cannot be encompassed by just that particular taste. Just as the Beatles and Marilyn Manson share a single tenuous thread of influence, so do many cumbia artist, some decades and continents apart, share a genre that is every bit as much a chameleon.

For contrast, here’s a mix of much older cumbia by GJDJ entitled “Mega Mix Sonora Dinamita”

Getting to Know Dembow

In our latest piece to promote this month’s Getting to Know You(Tube) event, we discussed the phenomenon of the Jamaican dancehall riddim. One of our favorite uses of riddims to emerge in the last decade has been in the nascent Dominican genre of music known as Dembow. Devoted fans of dancehall will immediately appreciate the scattershot referential nature of tracks like Secreto’s Ponte el Chaleco. Take, for example, this sample from 2:59 to 3:08:

Secreto el Biberón – Ponte el Chaleco

 

That juicy little flute riff and bassline are from none other than Santa Barbara by the legendary Sly & Robbie’s band Taxi Gang. When Taxi Gang recorded that one, the foundation for the track was Sly & Robbie’s own Bam Bam Riddim, featured here in Murder She Wrote by Chaka Demus & Pliers:

Chaka Demus & Pliers – Murder She Wrote (1994)

 

The Bam Bam Riddim, while not the most widely used of its kind, is featured on at least 102 tracks according to riddimguide.com. In contrast to Demus’ chauvinistic admonishment of “corrupt and dirty” women, the riddim’s namesake is most likely the empowered and conscious vibe of Sister Nancy‘s 1982 track, Bam Bam:

Sister Nancy – Bam Bam

 

While Nancy’s inspiration is clearly the 1966 Maytals & Byron Lee & Dragonaires track by the same name, the riddim she sings over in her version is actually the Stalag Riddim discussed in the DJ Ripley video featured in Saturday’s post. If Nancy’s vocal melody sounds familiar, but you just can’t place it, it may be because you remember hearing it in Lauryn Hill’s track, Lost Ones.

So after that stroll down reggae’s memory lane, where does Secreto’s deejay take us next? Well, from 3:15 to 3:25 we hear the unmistakable verve and swagger of Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg’s Deep Cover. SELECTA! RUN DE RIDDIM!

Dominican youths dance at a dembow contest

Getting to Know Riddims

It takes skill to be real
Time to heal each other

—2Pac, Changes

If you had a pulse during the 90’s, chances are you heard 2Pac’s “Changes” and “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy. Something these two tracks have in common is that they are both based entirely on successful tracks by other artists. In the case of the former, you have Bruce Hornsby’s soft rock hit, The Way It Is and when it comes to the latter, there’s no mistaking the pensive, introspective guitar riff from Every Breath You Take by The Police.

Puff Daddy – I’ll Be Missing You

Neither of these tracks attempts to hide its origins and, in fact, both of them even go so far as to use the same chorus as the original, nearly verbatim. Those familiar with hiphop’s tropes understand that this form of mimicry, while something distinct from mere sampling, is as endemic to the genre as call and response.

To understand this phenomenon of borrowing wholesale, it helps to understand the parallel and influential phenomenon of the reggae riddim. Reggae backing tracks, known as “riddims” are circulated widely in the Jamaican music industry with multiple artists recording their own original vocals over the same track and releasing it as their own.

Bruce Hornsby – The Way It Is

While the circulation of riddims is mainly concerned with the reuse of an instrumental it is not unheard of for an artist to also make reference to other songs with his or her vocals or even go so far as to reuse a whole chorus. Take, for example, Junior Reid’s remake of “This Why I’m Hot” by United States rapper, Mims. In our next installment, we’ll be breaking down some examples of this pattern of appropriation, but Dutty Artz‘s DJ Ripley did a far better job than we could in this talk she gave at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society:

Larisa Mann on Decolonizing Copyright: Jamaican Street Dances and Globally Networked Technology

Getting to Know Jumpstyle

In preparation for the presentation he’s giving a little more than a week from now at Getting To Know You(Tube), Charlie Thompson will be sharing some examples of music and dance here on Volumes of Bass. To get things started, Charlie shared with us a letter he wrote to a friend about a style of dance called Jumpstyle with origins in Europe that has enjoyed popularity there for little more than a decade.

Unfortunately most of what’s out there on YouTube has the music dubbed over the actual audio and it has relatively poor synchronization with the steps of the dancers, so sometimes you just have to imagine they’re in time with the track you’re hearing (it’s a real bummer, I know).

This one’s good for starters. Please feel free to click through all the amusingly bad intro material since it doesn’t really contribute a whole lot besides an exaggerated air of self-congratulation. The closing stuff and even during the credits and after is heartwarming and gives a bit of a glimpse into the culture:

This one saves its cheesiest videography for the middle. Note that these two are Russian. I keep digging and digging for this one I saw of an annual Polish meetup because I thought it best typified what I’ve seen after consuming example after example of this stuff:

I love this one from the Czech Republic because of how young and wholesome everyone looks. It also has the best music (OMG, did I just admit that I like the music? What are people going to think):

And finally, still not the one I had hoped to find, but a big annual thing from Poland:

Gran Ritmos II

You might remember our publicity for the recent visit made to us here in Portland by members of Mexico City’s NAAFI as well as the monthly hosted at High Dive by Michael Bruce and the radio program of Coast2c.

Today’s post is about something of equal import that we here at Volumes of Bass have been meaning to share. This Friday, October 24 is the second installment of Gran Ritmos. And guess who’s playing it this time? None other than Coast2c and Michael Bruce themselves. Check out this dope mix the latter just dropped to promote it:

If you enjoyed the phenomenal Discos Discos parties Bruce used to throw at Holocene, you’ll appreciate the continuation of those nights’ format at The Rose, a venue that always draws in interesting mix of clientele.

Listen to the Banned

While the idea of a banning an entire genre of music in the digital era may seem laughable, it’s important to remember that the success of a ban isn’t measured by whether or not the thing being banned can reach its audience, but rather by whether the people trying to sell it can stay in business.

Africa Beatz Deejays – Tarraxo Sem Respeito

For an example of when this has been tried before, one need look no further than North America’s neighbor to the south, Puerto Rico. You may remember from earlier this month our discussion of the origin of that island’s most recent contribution to dance music, Reggaeton. In the mid-90’s when reggaeton mixtapes were beginning to gain traction among Puerto Rico’s youth, a politician named Velda González became the island’s version of Tipper Gore when she championed the cause of protecting it from the musics’s supposed social ills.

The Constitution says we all got a right to speak
Say what we want Tip, your argument is weak

—Ice T – Freedom

Unlike the courts here in the States, the Puerto Rican authorities succeeded in establishing that reggaeton qualified as illegal pornography. To be fair, there was a visual element to the genre that was largely inspired by North American artists’ depictions of hip hop’s subject matter. And the Puerto Rican version stretched the limits of tastelessness to perhaps an even greater extent. (I’ll spare you the details, but if you peruse the video search results for Ranking Stone, you’ll get the idea.)

DJ Playero – 39 Respect

Regardless of its ethical merit, the ban on reggaeton was used to seize thousands of dollars worth of cassettes and CDs from stores all over Puerto Rico. At the time, you could be pulled over for having it playing in your car and forced to hand over the tape. While the ruling that made this legal was ultimately overturned, the response from the business community was to do the converse of what record labels in the United States found necessary in the PMRC‘s regulatory environment. Rather than putting labels on releases containing “objectionable” content, they took it upon themselves to label the stuff that wasn’t particularly vulgar and, in some cases, stick to only selling material of that variety:

Clean Lyrics label used to label reggaeton as such

Explicit Beats

Earlier this year, DJ Umb of Generation Bass put forth somewhat of a pioneering collection of tracks which we can only guess were painstakingly culled from the disorganized and poorly-credited labyrinth of pay-per-click hosting and Facebook updates found at the vanguard of emerging music scenes that lack formal means of promotion and distribution.

DJ Marfox performs at Red Bull Academy

What makes this mix special is that all of the tracks in it can be described as part of a new genre known in Portugal as fodencia, a word which can be more or less translated as, “fuckery”. Something that makes fodencia interesting is that DJs who play it can’t get bookings in Portuguese clubs. Currently there is a ban on it due to its sexual nature, a situation a bit perplexing  given the fact that almost every example we can find of the stuff is 99% instrumental. Have a listen:

As we’ve been finding in our exploration of bubbling/reggaeton/latin house/moombahton, variations of a single rhythm, played at different tempos tend to develop unique aesthetics that coalesce in the form of distinct genres. In the case of kuduro you have a very fast kind of beat which, when slowed down, gives you a very different feel. Various artists have taken this in different directions and one of those is what has come to be known as fodencia.

 

Volumes of Bass sometimes features content of a vulgar, violent, or sexually explicit nature. Please be warned if you are offended by this kind of subject matter.