April 29th, 2010

Moombahton, Munchiton, & Related Reggaetony Ear Candy


a moomba, apparently — no relation to afrojack, i don’t think

Reggaeton doesn’t die, it just continues to fragment and reconstitute in a thousand different ways. (Sorry about the passive language there — I don’t think reggaeton has viral/memetic agency, but I still find myself using that sort of shorthand/emphasis even when what I want to think about primarily is how particular people in particular places&times do something with the “genre”.) In this case, I’m not just talking about Dominican dembow or jerkbow, but other, equally odd revivalist fusions. I mean, it’s practically a personalized genre at this point!

First case in point: a couple weeks ago I got an email from a guy named Munchi, connecting dots and introducing prototypes —

There is this new thing going on that just has started but has huge potential. You see, I love Reggeton. But the things that came out these years (Regge-Pop) weren’t even Reggeton. I still have those great tracks on my mp3 in the time when Reggeton still was Reggeton. Althought there is a movement going on in my home country (Dominican Republic) where they use the Dembow with chopped up vocals or just make a party track, but that itself seems to be destroying the Dominican Hiphop market. Since everyone sees that the money is in the Dembow party tracks. But that is a whole other story. This type of Reggeton is just like those oldskool Playero songs.

This is a good thing but i dont see Reggeton getting out of the hole it is right now with this movement.

However, like i said there is a new thing.
You see i live in Holland and here we have Bubbling.

Holland always had its own thing i guess and with the Dutch House going strong at the moment, you certainly cant miss the Bubbling influence in it. Then of course when a couple of years ago Baltimore Club came out of nothing destroying every club in Holland ”Samir’s Theme” that influence got in it also. It evolved, just like the raggamuffin to bubbling and then dutch house (with the other genres of course). Puerto Rico and Panama had their own evolved version with Reggeton.

Now we come to the States, where the Dutch House thing is pretty big right now. Like the rest of the world. I don’t know about Reggeton but I guess it still gets played over there.

Those 2 genres met eachother there.

Dave Nada played Afrojack’s ”Moombah” (Huge Dutch House Track) & Sidney Samson’s ”Riverside” at 108 BPM. Almost Reggeton speed (96 BPM). He saw that the crowd loved it and he made the Moombahton EP.

This was just a month ago.

And I came across it and when I heard it, I couldn’t believe what i was hearing. The idea was so simple, yet THE chance for Reggeton to get out of its hole.

Eventhough that i love Reggeton, there are so many genres that are new and interesting to me. It’s all so inspiring and i want to make them all. So i haven’t been making Reggeton besides Dembow.

Yet when i heard this I immediatly made a Promo CD.
I worked the whole night and got 5 tracks.

You see Dave Nada had this fantastic idea, and with the Dutch House hype there is at the moment, its perfect. The genre is in its beginning, i dont know which way taht its going to go. I hear the Uncle Jesse rmx of whatyoudoin and i hear alot of percussion work. I hear people making the same as the original Dave Nada idea with just editing and slowing down dutch house. I also heard a juke moombahton rmx of Moombah which was fantastic. And what i did was make a house at a 108 speed with Reggeton samples. Also mixing it with cumbia/baltimore club/baile funk/merengue/miami bass/dominican dembow.

It felt so good that i could make ”Reggeton” again, with the inspiration i used to have while making it. I can see this becoming big. It has alot of odds for it, but im not even talking about that.

You see, like i mentioned before it all started with Raggamuffin. 2 different genres that evolved out of that in two different worlds are meeting eachother again after a long journey. And i think they will be stronger than ever.

Here are some links for you to check out:
http://soundcloud.com/davenada
www.nibootoo.net
http://soundcloud.com/unclejesse410/n-a-s-a-watchadoin-dj-alvaro-remix-uncle-jesse-moompatron-edit

This all happened today/yesterday, and im stoked.
I can’t wait to see this evolve and grow to something.
Let me know what you think and I hope to hear from you.

He included the five song EP, and I’ve been bumping it. (He also followed up with a buttload of bubbling videos, which I’ve not yet had the time to peruse. But, as Dave & I get grindin on that dreampipe of a book, I’ll be digging in.)

Up where they are, tempo-wise, Munchi’s tracks work well alongside Dave Nada‘s bangers and Chief Boima’s techno rumbas, and they flow well from slightly slower dancehall and reggaeton tracks. Like dembow or bubbling at their core, we hear a mix of styles indexed and flexed, suffused with some of the most cherished sounds and patterns casting about. And yet, for all their nods to the back and the side, they sound as here and now as anything. Which is to say, they sound inspired —

    >> Munchi, “La Brasilena ta Montao”

    >> Munchi, “Metele Bellaco”

I also kinda love that someone can be sent on a beatmaking binge like this. I suppose the same thing that Dave Nada put his finger on when he slowed down some Dutch house and sent a bunch of Latino highschoolers into frenzy is also vibrating over in the Netherlands (for Dominican kids especially?).

Or in California for college-going Colombian kids who grew up in Chelsea, Mass?

That’s what I have to surmise, reminded of some related sounds this past week when two Twitter frens tweeked out over the “Candy Flip Riddim”. The maker of that track, a guy named Johnny, first came to my attn last October via email from the moderator of dancehall.mobi, who pointed me to another track of his on YouTube, “Dembow Dynamics,” knowing that I’m a big fan of all things dembow. The email simply read:

I’m not sure if you guys do promo stuff but let me know if you like the sound. DIGITAL REGGAE for the world!

When I wrote to Johnny to ask about the track, he mentioned that a friend had played the track at a couple parties in Lawrence, MA, and “people were seriously diggin it.” Having done some beatmaking workshops up in Lawrence and neighboring Lowell, where I think I learned more about reggaeton than the kids learned about anything from me, I was intrigued to hear more about reggae/ton parties in Lawrence. Per Johnny:

Lawrence is the dancehall capital!!! (Strangely, I noticed that in Boston, reggaeton was bigger at spanish parties, yet in Lowell/Lawrence it was dancehall). I’m sure you probably heard of him, but if you haven’t, definitely check out Dj Styles on myspace. I remember in high school people would literally play the music straight from his page at parties, it was like the radio for Spanish people around Boston haha.

Although Johnny’s tracks could use a little help in the mastering realm (which I learned pretty quickly when trying to play them in a club setting — and which, yeah, kinda goes without saying in this brave new world of DIY/p2p music industry), I dig the mix of references in them and the way he mines the reggaeton oeuvre in the same way that reggaeton mines dancehall and hip-hop (and trancey techno too) for its own suggestive palette. Like Munchi’s experiments, Johnny’s music seems to express a return to roots (of a sort — DJ Blass is a root, right? rhizomatically speaking?) while offering an audible sense of reinvention.

I also found his description for “Dembow Dynamics” pretty interesting/provocative, especially the level of disclosure:

I want to sex dembow. This song is my representation of the night when dembow becomes a living female. My second credible riddim.

It’s funny how people say reggaeton is “dead” when in fact its creativity that’s dieing. Dembow is in my fucking SOULLLLLLLL!!!@!@!!!@!!!

I got shit from 7 different tracks:

Notch – Hay Que Bueno
Ranking Stone – Quiero Hacertelo
Don Chezina – Tra
Yaviah – Wiki Wiki
Unda Wata Riddim
Playero 41
Wisin & Yandel – Por Mi Reggae Muero

Those are directly in the track. other influences would include:

Dancehall, Diplo of course, Dj Blass, Electronica, SALSAAAAAAA, and whatever else I forgot.

Taking all these together, it’s striking how this sort of sound, shared among a few producers, can seem to voice a zeitgeist, to stand in for a multitude, when the evidence is emanating from 2-3 “bedrooms.” Funny how we can imagine a wider community of practice abstracted from but a few examples. (Or is that my tendency alone?) It makes me wonder how limited one’s claims about the meaning of this sort of “phenomenon” must be. But the fact alone of resonance — of, say, Moomahton especially, based on the rapid bloggy uptake and effusive, inspired acts like Munchi’s — seems to speak volumes about a broader (dare I say?) structure of feelings modulating with the music.

I hesitate to subsume this under the banner of global ghettotech or, as seen this week, “global ghetto house.” While there are global-ghettoey cross-currents here, as borne witness by Munchi’s and Johnny’s references to Bmore and Diplo, we might better attend to the far more specific genealogies that Munchi and Johnny draw, not to mention awesome myths of origins like Dave Nada’s. That the palette of what we’re calling here reggaeton (sometimes anachronistically) can go from largely based on hip-hop and dancehall to including a panoply of styles not limited to techno, (Dutch) house, electro, bachata, cumbia, and funk carioca, does seem to suggest that the old signposts have shifted.

The goalposts too?

[Update: Toy Selecta rightfully objects to me leaving raverton out of the constellation. He's been mining the same turf for two years now, and raverton certainly fits into the picture here. Beyond simply rounding out the picture, Toy's toying with reggaeton arguably made space for the likes of moombahton, finding favor at the Fader long ago. As it happens, just this week Toy unleashed his latest raverton opus, which I highly recommend.]

[Update II: Talk about timing, I see via Catchdubs that Munchi has posted a whole heap of other productions in this vein to his SoundCloud page. The Flashing Lights blog also includes a bunch of descriptions of several tracks, which go further into the sources & influences in the mix.]

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rupture  |  April 29th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    re: Playero revivalism, its been audible in NYC for awhile now, reverently oldskool in beat-structure + sound but always awesome to hear Playero-style edits bumping from cars or bodegas, etc

  • 2. wayneandwax  |  April 29th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Oh definitely! I think the first Playero style throwback I heard was on your blog years ago (and, apropos of that, this post’s a reggaetony classic, btw).

    And since then it’s been a building trend, from mid-song nods to entire mixtapes built around that ol’ underground style. Before I heard how DR dembow had gone and ran with it, I was hearing PR cats get on it (including the last track I played on MuddUp Radio last May!). And the truth is, even in the techno-dominated days of DJ Blass’s Reggaeton Sex jams, a lot of mixtapes would have an “old school” track toward the end, keeping the torch aloft.

    For the record, despite its own nods, I hear the stuff in the post above as somewhat different from the Playero/Noise revival long underway in reggaeton’s more established channels/spaces. It springs from that spirit but is located elsewhere. It lays claim to reggaeton, in its way, but does so at the margins, something of an inverse picture of access and power. A picture which flips again when we watch DR kids sampling jerk.

  • 3. Orion  |  April 29th, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I can’t for the life of me come to terms with moombahton. I understand it’s process but its’ process is more a verb and not a noun. The act of slowing a track down without shifting the pitch isn’t a genre, is it? An amalgamation of interests and ideas yes, but a genre? I guess like everything else time will tell. To be fair though, i like to make stuff up for both the sheer hilarity and to confuse people (too) like Cumbiacid and Botanical Bass :) Regardless of my opinion i enjoyed this post!

  • 4. wayneandwax  |  April 29th, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Appreciate your opinion, Orion! Yeah, people are having lots of fun making up “genres” these days — that’s sort of what I meant by “personalized” reggaeton. It’s interesting to think about what actually constitutes a genre (as opposed to, as you say, a process, or an aesthetic, or an isolated experiment in stylistic fusion) — not to mention what kind of work “genre” does (in marketing, yes, but also in scene creation and maintenance, etc.). So ‘screwed’ or ‘rebajada’ can be a genre since the pitch is usually changed too? Or are you insisting that these are processes, styles, etc.? It’s a funny question, and it’s funny that we sometimes care as much as we do.

    “Botanical Bass” is perfect!

  • 5. nina  |  April 29th, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Coolness. I enjoyed the moombaton tracks I heard, but I really want to hear this sex track with the Chezina then Ya-a-a-aviah. *looking around to see if anyone else is in the office*

    http://www.negrophonic.com/words/pivot/entry.php?id=14

    LOVE what the rafi b says here-

    “here is the deal: whereas older song forms tended to blur the distinction between languages and the character of languages that make them so unique, toasting and rhyming bring these characteristics to the fore. in pop songs everything is flattened — the way people always say the beatles sound so american when they sing. but there is no mistaking dizee rascal as anything but british — in rhyming and toasting, the language cannot hide behind melisma, it must bare its gutturals and glottal stops, its elongated vowels and nasalizaztions.”

  • 6. nina  |  April 29th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    “I want to sex dembow. This song is my representation of the night when dembow becomes a living female. ”

    I’m sort of fixated on the idea of a dembow succubus now. That would make an awesome animated short.

  • 7. wayneandwax  |  April 29th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    DEMBOW SUCCUBUS!

  • 8. 'duk  |  April 29th, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Thank you to Wayne and all the commenters for the intelligent and insightful dialogue. My specific interest is documenting the Moombahton phenomenon. First of all let’s itemize the reasons DAVE NADA created a new genre. Moombahton is more than “Dutch House slowed down to 108 bpm.”
    How Moombahton differs:

    1. Acapellas are layered
    2. Additional drums and percussive elements are introduced
    3. The original tracks are heavily chopped
    4. Buildups are extended and intensified.
    5. Strong emphasis on bass and low end dirt

    We are dealing with a new genre, and MUNCHI’s masterpiece so far “Toma Berimbau” is so perfectly conceptualized and realized that any snickering that Moombahton is a joke is obliterated. Slap & Dash’s brilliant “Toy Fried Moonbahton” also lifts Moombahton to new heights, and fortunately Mu Gen is at work on an Extended Mix as the original was bit attenuated.

    I am not that conversant with the reggaeton dilemma, but I am so impressed with Munchi’s work that would tell him, “OK, blaze the trail out!”

    My personal take is that Moombahton is exploding because a segment of the population wants to slow down. Moombahton is a way to relax, catch ones breath, catch nuances and subtleties lost at higher bpm, and it gives the DJs a little more flexibility and chances to be creative.

    I am a total MoombaHead (note the capital H to serve for 2 h’s) at this point. The genre is exploding in Phoenix (MELO and EPIDEMIC), in Vancouver and Western Canada (NEOTERIC, KEV FRESH, ERNOLD SANE, D-MAC), in Los Angeles with MORNINGSTAR who has the first Moombahton underground hit Rihanna’s “Rude Boy.” B’more has UNCLE JESSE’s brilliant
    “Whatchadoin” “Moompatron” sound that Brodinski is in to now. SANO has created a New York Sound. I have inside info that a Miami Moombahton Sound is imminent, and even a Swiss
    Sound that is Soca-inflected. Philly is trying to get a handle on Moombahton with APT-ONE.
    In addition, we can expect Moombahton to splash back from Sao Paulo shortly, and even Tokyo, where they seem to like the stuff, as well as the Toronto to Montreal corridor. May/June 2010 will be the make or break period for the genre worldwide, but it will always captivate Australia.

    “Ay, tan sucia!” MoombaHeads unite!

    Thanks! ‘duk at NibOOtOO http://www.nibootoo.net

  • 9. Cosculluela Ft. Jomar Y K&hellip  |  April 30th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    [...] wayneandwax.com » Moombahton, Munchiton, & Related Reggaetony Ear Candy [...]

  • 10. wayneandwax.com » v&hellip  |  May 5th, 2010 at 11:53 am

    [...] of Perry's odd remixes. Finally, given the recent uptick around Dutch club music thanks to the moombahton movement, I'm pleased to note that the second track here employs a classic bubbling loop. This post was [...]

  • 11. Moombahton – Redmon&hellip  |  May 24th, 2010 at 9:37 am

    [...] Wayne and Wax did a post on it, had a few tunes there for download by the likes of Munchi and NASA. Grabbed ‘em, and a week [...]

  • 12. wayneandwax.com » M&hellip  |  May 26th, 2010 at 9:49 am

    [...] follows up his moombahton splurge with some flashbacks – i totally forgot to send you some tracks i worked on in late 2009 that [...]

  • 13. TRASH MENAGERIE |Ape - Ox&hellip  |  June 10th, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    [...] uploading his beats to an unassuming YouTube account. Within a matter of a few days his work was uplifted to the critical consideration of World Music 2.0 Doctor Wayne Marshall of Wayne & Wax, (Phd [...]

  • 14. PELIGROSA » Blog Ar&hellip  |  June 24th, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    [...] is back at it again, well if you didn’t catch the Wayne and Wax post then this may be your first exposure to Munchi. I know a grip of djs are reppin’ Munchi and [...]

  • 15. wayneandwax.com » T&hellip  |  July 15th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    [...] output of Mr. Munchi, it’s seeming more and more apt to call what he’s doing something like a genre unto itself. Moombahcore? Nah, [...]

  • 16. Mixpak FM Number 2: Nadas&hellip  |  July 22nd, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    [...] As an aside if you’re wondering exactly what Moombahton is, check out an excellent article on the topic from Boston-based ethnomusicologist Wayne&Wax. [...]

  • 17. MULTITUNES :: proletarian&hellip  |  August 2nd, 2010 at 5:06 am

    [...] with the inspiration i used to have while making it. I can see this becoming big.” – Munchi @ Wayne&wax “Dj Blass, Dj Nelson or Rafy Mercenario been doing 108-110 BPM dembow party breaks and tracks [...]

  • 18. Dirty Tim  |  August 7th, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    There is only 1 rule in music: 1. There are no rules.

  • 19. wayneandwax.com » A&hellip  |  November 1st, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    [...] Angolan kuduro, Latin American cumbia and more. In April, he wrote to a number of bloggers, myself included, to share his music. Over the next few months he maintained a prolific work rate, producing 50 [...]

  • 20. reggaeton « Hermano&hellip  |  January 2nd, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    [...] reggaeton. É lá onde tenho notícias sobre as evoluções mais recentes do dembow dominicano ou a fusão desse dembow dominicano com o bubblin’, equivalente do funk carioca inventado nos bairros negros/caribenhos das cidades holandesas [...]

  • 21. wayneandwax.com » B&hellip  |  February 21st, 2012 at 1:03 am

    [...] familiar with the moombahton wunderkind from Rotterdam, well, you haven’t been reading this blog, for one (or three or four). And you’ve clearly found other holes to stick your head down. [...]

  • 22. wayneandwax.com » T&hellip  |  July 25th, 2013 at 11:32 am

    [...] moombahton offered to revisit these irresistible rhythms: “The idea was so simple,” Munchi wrote to me, describing moombahton as “THE chance for reggaeton to get out of its hole.” Having nearly [...]

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Wayne&Wax

I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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