Tag Archives: Bubbling


Artist: MR SM Ft Ts & DJ Weapon (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Title: Namarujana (DJ Lockie Moombah-Bubbling Remix) (2014)

If you know me, chances are you wish I would shut up already about bubbling. I can’t, though. It’s my favorite musical discovery in years. If you’re as crazy about reggaeton as I am, you perhaps know my struggle. While that genre is formulaic, it’s a formula that I adore, and the monolithic industry responsible for it simply can’t supply me with dope jams at the rate I require. So, naturally, I went looking for a new fix. If you trace reggaeton to its origin in Panama, and the appropriation of the dembow riddim from Jamaican dancehall, it becomes clear that Puerto Rico isn’t the only place to play a role in the orgy of creativity that came out of that musical nexus. I have a theory that the African diaspora in the Dutch- and Papiamento-speaking Lesser Antilles were also influenced by the Reggae En Español movement and that it is because of their cultural influences in Holland that we have tracks like Namarujana today. Big up the bubbling sound!

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.


Popping Bubbels Part 3

While it is true that the reggaeton we know and love today came of age in Puerto Rico in the first decade of the new millennium, earlier examples of what would eventually lead to its creation seem to come primarily from Panama where historical records indicate an influx of workers from the West Indies in the early 1900’s for the construction of the Panama Canal.

El General – Rica y Apretadita

While many did not stay there, a significant enough proportion did that parts of Panama City now have a majority black population. As is often the case when foreigners bring their music and culture to a new country, you saw an interesting blend of sounds which led to what some consider reggaeton’s closest relative, Reggae En Español.

Nando Boom – Dem Bow

In an amusing example of circular logic, a click on the link to the English-language translation for the Dutch wikipedia article on bubbeling takes the reader to the article on sandungueo. Known more widely as “perreo” or what we here in North America might call “bump and grind,” sandungueo is the style of dance most closely associated with reggaeton.

Latin Fresh – Ella Se Arrebata

Thus, by following a musical trajectory from the Caribbean to the Netherlands and a separate one from the Caribbean to Latin America, we arrive in the same tiny corner of cyberspace concerned not with balanced inquiry into what exactly these musical styles are but rather the scandal of all the pelvic thrusts that happen when they are played.

Popping Bubbels Part 2

Dutch youths in blackface for a Christmas celebration
Dutch youths in blackface for a Christmas celebration

It can’t be denied that the Netherlands has a fascination with the culture of the West Indies. The country’s Christmas folklore even incorporated a black character during a period contemporaneous with the country’s importation of black slaves to work the sugar fields of the Dutch Antilles. That practice eventually led to the existence of a significant diaspora of blacks in Holland from the Caribbean and Suriname, especially in parts of Amsterdam.

Googling for “bubbling” or the Dutch language’s own “bubbeling” yields not only the special brand of house that gave birth to moombahton, but also numerous examples of the unedited riddims found at dancehall/bashment reggae parties around the world.

If my theory is correct, it was the Dutch-Caribbean subculture’s version of these parties, where dancehall was first sped up from its modest double-digit tempos to the neighborhood of 110 bpm, giving us the machine gun drum fills characteristic of tracks released 20 years later in tracks like this:

Interestingly, the sound to which bubbeling tracks are most often compared when they are slowed back down also has its origins in a diaspora of Afro-Caribbeans. I’m speaking, of course, of reggaeton.

Popping Bubbels Part 1

After my post last week I was pointed in the direction of what I suppose is a more authentic or old school example of “bubbling” (thanks, Helder Water). It seems to follow a pattern of appropriation some of us experienced growing up in the 90’s as the amen break was coming into its own.

DJ Moortje – I’m Back (1996)

Around the time some EDM producers, particularly in the UK, were reimagining the more aggressive side of dancehall reggae as a style which would come to be known as Ragga Jungle, it turns out Holland was busy coming up with its own reinvention of the sound. Instead of sampling breaks from old funk records, they tended to concentrate more on the rapidfire kick drum fills that are the hallmark of today’s bubbeling tracks.

Here’s what bubbeling dance looks like (1995)

Yes, the same culture which brought you Gabber and took Jumpstyle to the world stage also has a dedicated subculture of mostly black, urban partygoers who invented a style of music and dance around what sounds to me like the speeding up of dancehall reggae records.

Here’s the direction England was taking around the same time:

Shy FX & UK Apache – Original Nuttah (1994)

Bubblin Up

Friday’s post was incomplete. There is more to be learned by crawling down the rabbit hole that opens when you learn that Moombahton has it’s origin somehow intertwined with Dutch House. Specifically, tracks like the one that begat what is arguably DC’s most important contribution to EDM in the last decade can be found in a series of CDs published annually at the beginning of the current decade under the aegis of something called Bubbling Beats.

The cover art for the Bubblin Beats releases bears a striking resemblance to the Now That’s What I Call Music series

It is evident that one of the purveyors of Bubblin Beats is none other than world famous Dutch DJ, Hardwell.

Hardwell Live @ Tomorrowland 2014

So what does “bubbling” mean? We’re still working on that. So far the best we can do is that it has something to do with the Caribbean. If you dig into what Soundcloud tags and names of parties in Rotterdam can tell you, it appears that the West Indies have once again come to bear in the world of club music.

A quick search into what the internet considers “bubbling” turns up countless mixtapes like this one which seem to feature a selection of beat-heavy dancehall/bashment with the distinction of having the occasional MC rapping over on top of it in Dutch:

Bubbling Terug K-liber4life Mixed By Dj Mba

It may be relevant to note that Portland’s stellar Bubblin routinely fills clubs like Tonic Lounge and Holocene, despite drawing modest crowds as recently as four years ago for international acts like Roska and Dubbel Dutch

Here’s the latest from Bubblin organizer, Ben Tactic:

1. Jungle – The Heat
2. Sasac – The Chase
3. Gwen McCrae – My Feelings For You (Edit)
4. Prins Emanuel & Golden Ivy – Midnight Cruise Pt 2
5. Stevie Wonder – As (Whiskey Barons Rework)
6. Huerco S. – No Jack
7. Reva DeVito – Friday Night (Produced by Kaytranada)
8. Mark E – RnB Drunkie
9. Marvin Gaye – Heavy Love Love Affair (The Revenge Rework)
10. Boohgaloo Zoo – Testify (Soulphiction Boogie Version)
11. Late Night Tuff Guy – Dancefloor Baby
12. XL Middleton & Eddy Funkster – Night Time Is Coming
13. Marquis Hawkes – Roger Funk
14. Modern Amusement – Cold as Ice (Louie Fresco Remix)
15. Galcher Lustwerk – Put On
16. Max Graef – No. 5
17. Unknown – Unknown
18. Jayson Brothers – Monster Box
19. The African Dream – Make A Living