With electronic dance music at the forefront of music moving away from big business and more into the independents; the scene is going to be highly influenced by collaboration and selfless joint ventures. With that said, I bring our first guest spot from SeminalSounds.com creator Matt Serious and his piece, “Moombahton 101: A Brief History”.
What is it? How’d it come to be? Where’s it going?
Since you’re already on this site, you’re most likely quite familiar with Moombahton and it’s other sub genres of electronica. But there’s probably some stuff you didn’t know about this genre or have been misinformed. Well let’s clear it all up and give you a little background knowledge on Moombahton.
Sometime in 2009 or 2010 (Wikipedia is unclear on specific dates), Dave Nada (Half of NadaStrom) was asked by a cousin of his to spin some records at a party for some friends. When Dave showed up ready to play house music, it was clear he wasn’t as prepared as he originally thought. Everyone there was dancing to reggaeton (An infusion of salsa, electronica and reggae) and Bachata (rural Dominican Republic music). Uh oh! What was Dave to do?
Like any great DJ or producer would do, Nada simply adjusted his set to match the music the crowd was already enveloped in. So he took the electro and dutch house records he had brought with him and selected a track to play. Except he slowed it down from the standard house tempo of 128 BPM to 108 BPM. The track as some of you may know, was the Afrojack remix of Silvio Ecomo & DJ Chuckie song “Moombah”. His set then continued with “Riverside” by Sidney Samson slowed down to the same tempo. Slowing the vocals, tempo and melodies of both tracks down to be in tune with the music already being played.
If you haven’t guessed yet, this is where the term Moombahton came from. The mixing of the music Nada was playing, Reggaeton and slowed down “Moombah” remix by Afrojack.
While this sounds extremely simple, and often leads people to remark aloud about how Moombahton ‘is just house music slowed down’. While technically that may be true, the music can actually be much more complex and intricate. The style actually works and has led to some extremely well produced tracks with increasing exposure of the musical style as whole. There are also already some notable sub-genres of Moombahton that are taking off in their own regard. These include the likes of Moombahcore with a harder dubstep sound to it, and Moombahsoul which has a more soulful jazzy approach to the musical style.
Producers of the genre tend to stick within the 108-112 tempo range, with moombahcore typically being set around 110 BPM. Most people would classify all moombahton in the same genre, however we find there’s sometimes a vast diversity between them. Take Skrillex’s track, “Reptile Theme” with the hard hitting bass and standard Skrillex dubstep noises and samples as a perfect example of what’s dubbed Moombahcore. On the other hand we have Deep End’s edit of the Frank Ocean & Andre 3000’s track “Pink Matter”. A prime Moombahsoul specimen, with it’s flowing basslines, rapped lyrics and jazzy sounds. You’ll notice both of these have the same sound as traditional moombahton like Dave Nada’s original slowed down version of Moombah, with it’s two-step beat, and electro sirens and deep drums. However all of them have a noticeably different sound to make the genres somewhat distinct.
Since it’s inception, Moombahton has birthed numerous stars and even gone somewhat mainstream with labels like Diplo’s Mad Decent releasing full Moombahton albums, Beatport releasing top Moombahton charts and artists like Dillon Francis dropping some serious tunage.
There are any number of big name artists producing Moombahton tracks, and you can pretty much look on any flyer for a party in a city near you to see someone playing Moombahton. Increasingly, Moombahton has even been cross promoted by acts who primarily focus on other genres with many events nationwide seeing more and more DJ’s dropping moombahton into their sets. Recently Skrillex even released his own original track in the moombahton tempo range, and has also promoted several other moombahton tracks through his facebook fan page. Not to mention other artists like Knife Party, Alvin Risk, The Killabits and Porter Robinson all dropping their own tunes in the genre. With all the cross promotion and attention from artists far and wide, this genre is here to stay and will only gain popularity as time progresses.
This past year or so has seen a big jump on the amount of Moombahton related blogs, soundcloud groups, tumblrs, facebook pages and youtube channels. This is certainly because there are countless numbers of budding producers releasing track after track on soundcloud and youtube. Some even getting massive publicity by the ‘blogosphere’ or whatever it’s called these days. This is just continuing to expose more and more people to the genre.
This kind of music is especially catchy with its slowed down tempo, 2 step reggaeton beat, and often the familiar face-melting electro inspired sirens and lasers. It’s easy to see why it’s gained so much popularity with a strong following. The music has successfully merged several other genres of electronica. It’s easy to groove to and offers a diverse sound that can easily maintain the ebb and flow of a party all night long. It may even be set to give dubstep a run for it’s money sooner rather than later. Yeah, we said it.
Matt Serious (AKA: Illicid) is a writer, dj, producer and entrepreneur who runs a EDM focused news site called Seminal Sounds. Covering the latest in DJ news, Scene reviews, festival reviews and DJ’s.
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