Archive of posts tagged with "bubbling"

December 30th, 2018

Me & Moortje in Aruba!

Can’t believe it took me four years to track this down, but I was happy to finally find footage of an interview I did alongside DJ Moortje with Revolt TV while in Aruba back in 2014. The interview appears to have been incorporated into Revolt’s special on the Electric Festival where we were both speaking (and where Moortje was DJing). It’s fun to be reminded what a crazy time this was: the parties were one thing, but for me, it was all about hearing more from bubbling legends like Moortje and Chuckie and soaking up more of that loopy history (and some sun).

Check it out: your boy first appears around 7:45 showing one of his favorite videos by The Noise and tweaking some Ableton clips during a lecture on the history of bubbling, and then I offer a little break down for the crew between 7:53 and 9:00. We hear from Moortje himself (incorrectly ID’d as “Moorcha”), discussing how he “pushed and pushed” rub-a-dub into bubbling, from 10:08 to 10:48.

I look like I’m having a good time hanging with Moortje, which was 100% true! I’ll never forget how he drew turntables in the sand to show how he made the records play even faster.

technics in the sand

technics in the sand

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October 18th, 2016

Still Bubbling After All These Years

I’m headed back to Amsterdam this week to attend the ADE where I’m excited to be a part of the screening of a new documentary on bubbling. Check out your boy the beatboxing talking head!


the film will have English subtitles, and hopefully will be widely available before long

I can’t say how humbled and happy I am to have encouraged and abetted local Dutch efforts to tell the amazing story of bubbling, a story of global reggae’s local resonance that first grabbed my attention almost exactly 11 years ago thanks to a “random” blog comment!

I’m especially proud to have helped make the case that the story of bubbling — often dismissed as marginal, shameful, frivolous — represents an important, instructive chapter in the national narrative of the post-colonial Netherlands and, indeed, that this plucky DIY social dance culture forged by Afro-Antillean immigrants and their children indelibly shaped the globally-resonant (and lucrative) sound of Dutch house and pop, including the international hits produced by Afrojack.

While I’m thrilled to see how this narration of bubbling history plays to a local crowd this week, I’m also glad that the film serves as a tribute to the two pioneers of the genre, DJ Moortje and MC Pester. The two collaborated to throw some seminal parties in the early 90s, with Moortje bringing the bumping-but-avant DJ creativity and Pester making everything live and local (and political) with his vocals. A few recordings of these parties, such as the inaugural Bandje 48 (the first 47 were pure DJ mixtapes), would then circulate on cassette — sometimes for money, often informally — and take on an afterlife of their own. The film looks not only at the origins of bubbling in this collaboration but also examines Moortje’s and Pester’s falling out and eventual reunion, and I’m delighted to share a stage with them and hear more about the beginnings of this remarkable scene and sound.

The film is, incidentally, named after a triumphal reunion earlier this year — and a recording of it, the elusive “Bandje 64” that never came together in the good old days — showing both Moortje and Pester in classic form; the idea that I might have contributed, by insisting on the importance of this story, to finally bringing these two together again is humbling indeed:

It’s impossible for me to listen to recordings like this and not hear bubbling as kindred to other scenes that coalesced around creative, localized hybrids of reggae and hip-hop in the early-mid 90s — reggaeton, bhangra, jungle — and I guess part of what I bring to the story is an ability to place bubbling into crucial comparative and historical frameworks. (If you like Playero 38, you’ll probably like Bandje 48.)

Related to that global, historical framework, I’ll also be giving a keynote talk on Friday called “Respect the Architects: The Caribbean Roots of Modern Day Pop Music” and you can trust that I’ll be making all of these connections and more. Here’s the teaser; come by / tune in if you can!

Over the last decade, but especially in recent years, the dance rhythms of the Caribbean have become prominent–indeed, even foundational–features of pop, hip-hop, and EDM. Wayne Marshall, who teaches music history at Berklee College of Music and Harvard University, will place this phenomenon in historical context by showing how Afrodiasporic rhythms have long provided the pulse in global popular music, connecting the dots from ragtime to reggaeton, Bo Diddley to trap, and dancehall to “tropical house.”

Nuff respect to the architects, Moortje and Pester, to all the others who built on their foundations, and to everyone involved in continuing to tell the story of bubbling. So much more remains to be said, heard, witnessed, and reckoned. Here’s to all of that–

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December 22nd, 2014

The Freedom of Dutch Bubbling

I’ve got an article in The Wire‘s new issue devoted to “Freedom Principles” (December 2014). I was inspired by the call for submissions to thread the idea of freedom through the story of Dutch bubbling, which I think embodies it in a number of important ways.

After having the privilege to visit with some of bubbling’s pioneers and torchbearers in Aruba this September, I’m feeling as inspired — and required — as ever to give this wonderful story of translocal music culture and creativity the telling it deserves. This is a start.

I’ve also put together a “portal” of audio and video examples for the Wire’s site; check it out and sink deep into the sounds and images of bubbling!

http://www.thewire.co.uk/in-writing/the-portal/dutch-bubbling-portal

The essay that appears in the print issue follows below. Big up Moortje, Chuckie, Coversquad, Fellow, & everyone else involved in this remarkable story! Thanks for sharing with me. Keep bubbling free!


Moortje on the decks in ~92

Is there any sound so free as DJ Moortje’s mid-1990s track “Donna”, his remix of Singing Sweet’s 1992 lovers rock rendition of Richie Valens’s 1959 hit pitched to chipmunk levels and propelled by doubled-up dancehall drums in double time? With such feathers in its cap, Dutch bubbling should have long ago established the Netherlands on the global bass map. A hyperkinetic, hyperlocal, sample-centric take on dancehall, bubbling thrived in obscurity throughout the 1990s, and today it continues to enjoy a certain liberty on the margins of international reggae culture. Obscurity is but one of several key forms of freedom embodied by its almost implausible existence. Its very genesis and gestation, never mind its spectacular and strange shapes, are products of the buttressing effects of inherited traditions with liberating aesthetics, technologies with plasticity, and the social support and political economy of small scenes.

Networking Holland’s immigrant enclaves in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and the Hague, bubbling took root in dancehalls where African-Antillean youth could gather, socialise and dance. Notably, the music of choice for first and second generation migrants from Aruba, Curacao and Suriname was supplied not by these islands or the Netherlands, but by Jamaica. At clubs such as Voltage in the Hague or Imperium in Rotterdam, dancehall reggae provided a soundtrack for couples to rub-a-dub, schuren (that’s Dutch for rub), or, in the parlance of the day, bubble along with sensuous, polyrhythmic Jamaican music that sounded at once Caribbean and global, ancestral and utterly modern. Bubbling — or bobbeling — channelled the energies of a new youth culture that gave people united by their experience in postcolonial Dutch society a common platform for creativity and community, especially as DJs and dancers together pushed tempos beyond reggae’s comfort zone and twisted dancehall into a shape that became more recognisable as a local innovation.

Bubbling’s DJs, MCs, producers and dancers took flight from reggae’s DJ driven and remix-oriented music culture, an imperative to revisit and revise familiar forms accentuated by hiphop’s relentless flipping of scripts. Inspired at once by hiphop sampling and reggae versioning, the practitioners of Dutch bubbling remade dancehall in their own image, manipulating samples of well-worn riddims in ways no Jamaican producers ever would. In this way, bubbling’s referential yet irreverent chop and stab approach to dancehall — more directly derivative than a reggae relick but less faithful to a riddim’s integrity — makes it an uncanny twin of reggaeton; they even share a love for the same canon of riddims: “Fever Pitch”, “Bam Bam”, “Dem Bow” and pretty much anything featuring Cutty Ranks. With a premium on transformation, skirting the line between recognition and surprise, Dutch-Antillean DJs like the pioneering DJ Moortje would take reggae B side versions and make them the basis for new performances, quite as they were intended — if not in the wildly distorted shapes Moortje and cohorts would make of them. Recording new vocals over an instrumental is one thing; combining loops from multiple riddims, some pitched to double time and some screwed to molasses, spiked with whimsical samples from the hardcore gabber of Rotterdam Termination Source or Snoop Dogg album skits, is another thing entirely.

Moortje enjoyed a critical degree of creative freedom thanks to the affordances of vinyl and turntables. Exploiting the limited but profound capacities of these playback technologies, he took the familiar records that made dancers bubble and pushed their tempos into uncharted territory by playing 33 rpm records at 45 rpm and sliding the pitch fader right up to and beyond its upper limit. Given the opportunity, Moortje would sometimes remove the turntable platter from a pair of Technics to access an internal knob controlling the pitch adjustment range, allowing him to shift 100 bpm riddims into a far more uptempo terrain.


Moortje showing me, in the sand, how he would modify the Technics’ pitch range

Later, audio software vastly expanded bubbling’s creative possibilities. Moortje’s innovative performances planted the seed for speed bubbling, a digital development first enabled by Amiga 500 tracker software that allowed production crews like The Coversquad to take tempos upwards of 150 bpm, much to the bemusement or dismay of visiting reggae artists experiencing bubbling’s love of chipmunked and screwed vocals and drums. Commissioned by dancers requiring dramatic, sample-packed soundtracks for their choreographed, competitive routines, producers would suture audio from films and rap albums onto the breakneck bubbling beats that impelled dancers to move like marionettes doing the butterfly. Indeed, the strikingly experimental nature of bubbling productions was predicated on an intimate feedback loop with audiences who appreciated how the music had coalesced as a genuinely local style. Such a supportive setting was fostered and enjoyed by MCs like Pester and Pret, who helped to push the tempos and excitement levels as they added their own accents to the mix. With their Dutch and Papiamento lyrics chanting down Babylon or simply telling people to shake it, bubbling’s MCs further imbued the music with local resonance.

For better or worse, bubbling’s deeply idiomatic qualities may also grant the genre a certain freedom from external forces. In its heyday, it only happened live or on recordings informally circulated on cassette, meaning its heavy use of samples bypassed the attentions of the mainstream pop industry. Whether mainstream Dutch house has since effectively sublimated bubbling’s mojo is an argument for another day. And even as the music’s artefacts finally mount up in online archives like YouTube and Soundcloud, or as musical references percolating through the releases of Fade To Mind, Mad Decent, or Planet Mu, bubbling’s baseline weirdness might yet guarantee that its signature sound will always be free.

Wayne Marshall

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July 6th, 2012

Goin Back to R’Dam: Street Science

I’m headed back to Rotterdam a week from today — to continue the bubbling research, of course, but also, expressly, to take part in a hip-hop festival called Street Science.



Among the various performances & screenings & discussions & battles, I’ll be speaking as part of a panel on Sunday the 15th concerned with “Diversity in Styles” in the wide world of hip-hop (and, I think, global dance/club/rap music more generally, given how the lines blur). Looking forward to that — especially to getting some European/Dutch perspectives on such questions.

I’ll leave you with a brief bit of audio I once cooked-up for pm_jawn’s radio show by the same name — a little concatenation of two classic NWA samples that lets Dr. Dre make the drop drop —

[audio:http://wayneandwax.com/wp/audio/street-sci-drop.mp3]

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November 15th, 2011

B’Town to R’Dam

First, tonight’s (TUESDAY’S) Beat Research is a special session featuring three button-pushing beatsmiths:

Hailing from Toronto, Doldrums comes to town during a tour taking him around the US and over to Europe. Omnivorous in his sampling, and known to release VHS-only mixtapes, Doldrums — who often adds video collage and his own voice to the proceedings — has named his “preferred sources” as “mainstream R&B, classical music, future shock, bollywood, richwave and clip-clop.”

Appearing alongside Doldrums are two Boston-based beat-head transplants. TimeWharp hails from Atlanta but now makes Boston his home for cooking up warm sonic stew over crackling hot boom-bap, and Avila Santo, who lists his location as “Boston California,” channels the sound of Flying Lotus’s Los Angeles with his own take on neck-snapping rhythms and sticky synth lines.

Second, I’m happy to announce that I’m headed back to Rotterdam later this week to upgrade my Dutch club talk to a keynote and play co-panelist with the likes of Marfox and Munchi (who I do hope delivers on that whole Tropical Gabber thing)!

Munchi – Rotterdam (Preview) by Munchi

In my talk, among other things, I’m hoping to connect the following two videos, toward which, if any dear readers are quick with Dutch to English, do help me to understand precisely how the judges discuss dancehall’s shortcomings in the Got Talent clip (aside from the English bit, which is plenty telling).

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August 30th, 2011

Incoming / Outgoing

Despite my relative silence here this summer — about which, more soon — big tings a gwaan, especially as the fall semester rolls around.

First up, I’m thrilled to report that I leave today for Rotterdam, my first visit to Holland / the Netherlands! I’m fortunate to have been invited to participate in a conference gathered around an exhibition on Bengali film at De Nieuwe Oogst

You might be wondering what I have to say about Bengali film, but you’ll have to ask me after the weekend is over for that. Happily, the conference organizers are using the event to stage some broader conversations about media and popular culture, and I’ve decided to take the opportunity to organize my thoughts around a topic that’s been bubbling up on my blog from time to time: Dutch club music — or more specifically, the contrasting media ecologies and aesthetic affinities between 90s bubbling and 00s dirty house / moombahton. In other words, Dutch club music from Moortje to Munchi, with a lil Afrojack along the way. Or in other words:

Look at Me Now: Dutch Club Music from Invisible Local Marginality to Invisible Global Ubiquity

Holland’s bubbling scene of the 1990s was so unremittingly anchored in local sites of realtime production and material circulation that in two decades, with few exceptions, the genre has hardly migrated beyond Rotterdam and the Hague. In marked contrast, contemporary Dutch house producer Afrojack, whose style audibly emerges from a national club music inspired by bubbling’s distinctive take on foreign but familiar forms, could credibly be counted among today’s top-tier producers of global dance-pop (if often overshadowed by US-based partners such as Diplo and Pitbull). Moreover, Afrojack’s remix of “Moombah,” slowed down several clicks by a Washington DC-based DJ named Dave Nada, has served as the basis for an emergent genre, moombahton, that enjoys a similar breadth of engagement and international circulation, but with relatively little attention to questions of Dutch origins — again, offering a striking departure from bubbling’s insistent locality and marginality. Although at a glance, then, the formal aesthetic qualities of mid-90s bubbling and today’s moombahton might have a lot in common — highly referential and resonant drum loops, Afro-diasporic signposts, a strong embrace of denatured synths and samples — a closer attention to their particular contexts and technologies of production and circulation can reveal striking shifts in the cultural politics of urban Holland, and the wider wired world, in an age of digital and so-called “social” media. Tracing the shapes and forms of Holland’s club music from bubbling’s Antillean counterpublics to the multicultural mix of participants addressed by Dutch “dirty” house and moombahton, this paper examines the distinct media ecologies that fostered the rise of such styles while considering the implications for understanding how musical media can facilitate forms of social collectivity and interaction, mobilization and disarticulation, audibility and illegibility.

See here for the full program. I’ll be giving my talk on Friday, Sept 1 at 11:45am as part of a panel addressing questions of “Urban Form.” Even more exciting (for me anyway), I’ll be DJing an afterparty on Friday night alongside Munchi himself! (not to mention State of Bengal and Nafer Loves You) It’s gonna be fun connecting all these dots! Sentello velocity indeed…

The second upcoming event I want to mention here is another DJ gig of sorts. On the evening of September 7, I’ll be performing at openLAB_03, a gathering at Harvard’s cool new experimental research unit, metaLAB, happening in conjunction with the Berkman Center’s iLaw conference.

The directors have been using the openLAB event series to present projects from Boston-area artists and share ongoing metaLAB experiments with the public. The theme of openLAB_03 is remix/curation of media archives (“broadly interpreted,” I’m told). Along these lines, they’ve asked me to reignite the Boston Mashacre/Smashacre stuff I worked up a few years ago, and I’ve decided that the next chapter in this series of sonic explorations of Boston’s sound(scape) will focus on radio transmissions.

Although I haven’t had a chance to write about the subject here yet, I’m deeply interested in how Boston’s radio landscape offers a uniquely audible picture of the city and the people who live here. The vivid, if often muted, presence of low-power and “pirate” radio stations — especially emanating from Caribbean communities — is something I’d like to explore, and accentuate, especially alongside the crushing amount of hi-fi, ClearChannel, middle-of-the-roaditude that saturates the airwaves here. In terms of aesthetic procedures, I plan on toying with degrees of distance and difference, signal and noise. To that end, I’ve been making my own “personal” (and/or public) archive of Boston radio scans, which I plan to cut up and loop and reassemble in the spirit of, e.g., my 2003 Jamaican radio edit.

Not sure yet about the title — think I’ve exhausted the (s)mashacre schtick, so maybe something like “Towers of Power” — but, at any rate, I hope something suggesting these power relations emerges in the performance. Will share in audio form here once I get a chance to bounce it all down, but please do come to openLAB_03 for the live mix if you’re in the area.

Association with the Berkman Center is always a felicitous thing, IMO, and I’m happy to report that, in addition to this latest bit of convergence, I’ve been selected to serve as one of the Berkman Center’s Faculty Associates for the 2011-2012 academic year (alongside a humbling list of luminaries).

Speaking of the academic year, the fall semester is soon to commence, and although I don’t have time (right now) to go into the long story of my academic employment situation, I’m excited to report that although my fellowship at MIT ended this spring, I’ll be continuing to teach here in the Boston area. I’m offering two courses this fall, one at Brandeis and another at UMass-Boston. I’m delighted to be teaching at both institutions, and very much looking forward to meeting the students. If you happen to know anyone at either place, please help spread the word. In brief the deets are:

1) On Monday evenings from 5:30-8:00 at UMass-Boston, I’ll be attempting to fill the very large shoes of Reebee Garofalo, who is retiring, teaching his perennial and popular course on the “Social History of Popular Music.” This is a great opportunity to dig into the question of the “popular” and how it opens into, emerges from, and informs social history. I’ll share the syllabus here as soon as I’ve got it into good enough shape. It’s being offered through the American Studies department (AMST 235).

2) On Tuesday nights from 6:30-9:20 at Brandeis I’ll be returning to the topic of “Reggae, Race, and Nation” for the department of African and African American Studies (AAAS 171a). The syllabus will not look too unlike my Global Reggae course for MIT (now on OpenCourseWare!), though I will be tweaking it a little, of course.

These topics are near and dear to my heart & work, and I feel fortunate (if a little undercompensated — twice the teaching for 20% the pay!) to be able to continue thinking and talking about music, popular culture, and social history & theory for a “living.” Nice work if you can get it. Do help me out by directing good students my way!

Hope to see some of y’all at some of these things. And I promise to fill you in on my Summer of Relative Silence very soon. Also, I’ve got some pieces of writing to share. Soon come, patient readers, soon come.

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May 26th, 2010

Moar Munchiton

Munchi follows up his moombahton splurge with some flashbacks —

i totally forgot to send you some tracks i worked on in late 2009 that were bubbling but influenced by dominican music. like perico ripiao, bachata or dominican dembow. i had these finished but i was working on a whole concept thing there.

Munchi – Dominican Bubbling Battle 2009

Didnt have a name for it so i called it like that. Sampled and cutted up a perico ripiao song, vocals from dominican dembow and with the oldskool bubbling taste. this kind of oldskool bubbling was my favorite, all over the place and so much going on going from slow to fast. made this right after i saw a bubbling battle video from 1995.

And here’s the video in question. Inspiring indeed!

Seriously, what a style! Dude gets LOOOSE. He’s totally syncing with bubbling’s distinctive double-time/half-time herky-jerk, and, like the genre, seemingly drawing on two kinds of raving at once: of the dancehall reggae sort, and of the hardcore techno sort. I like the nods to robot-style popping-and-locking, the plasticman wobbling, and all the transmuted bits of bubbling — and that’s bubbling in the original Caribbean sense. Butterfly, butterfly, mek we do the…

Munchi also shares a couple of tracks that seem to spring uniquely from his Dominican-Dutch circumstances:

Munchi – Mambo Con Sazon

which he describes as

Bachata guitar with also the bachata percussion and the familiar bubbling slowing down and speeding up. I was plannin to put a female reggeton artist on this track she would fit the track perfectly with the energy she brings.

And here’s one more to round things out. Munchi sez:

I made this in 2007 and its mostly bubbling but it flows into baile funk and reggeton
and it got me a bit of exposure back then lol.

Munchi – Nex Aan Te Doen Prt. 1

If it wasn’t clear in my previous post, I love the way that Munchi’s productions are so situated in the particular musical-cultural networks (actual and virtual) in which he finds himself situated (and actively situates himself, as with such keywords as “baile funk” and with, y’know, enthusiastic emails to bloggers like me and Dave Quam).

In light of these latest, I’ve been thinking about Munchiton — a genre all Munchi’s own (even though he’s personally embracing the moombahton tag) — with regard to a resonant quotation from DJ Earworm in that “borrowing culture” documentary I shared last week:

…in the future, when people listen to music, everyone’s gonna have their own custom remix … You heard that new song, yeah, check out my version. Oh yeah, check out my version. That’s not gonna be DJ culture that’s just gonna be culture.

In an age of FruityLoopy GarageBands, I think we’re just about already there. Sometimes this is called “remix culture,” sometimes “participatory culture,” sometimes “read-write culture,” sometimes “free culture.” Before too long, though, Earworm’s right: we’re going to stop thinking of remix practice as the exception, instead realizing that the 20th century’s “read-only” broadcast culture was an anomaly in human history and embracing the imperative to mix-and-mash all the stuff around us as what culture’s really about.

Along these lines, I’m enamored of the idea that not only will everyone be enmeshed in collectively, co-creating culture, right down to versioning the latest global (or local) hits, but that these efforts, in any particular instantiation (e.g., Munchi’s work), might yet coalesce into something even more unruly and awesome: genres of our own. New whirled music. Munch, crunch, mulch. Repeat.

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May 5th, 2010

version a version (riddim meth0d repost)

[Ok, while I’m grinding on non-bloggy things, let me keep things moving here by offering up another from the riddimmeth0d vaults. I’m happy to report that I’ve since discovered more info about the origins of “Bird In Hand” here, which points out that the female singer on “Milte hi aankhein dil huwa” (from the 1950 film Babul, directed by Raj Kapoor) is not Geeta Dutt as I initially reported but rather Shamshad Begum. I also want to note that just about three years ago, my mashup of the Lee Perry recording and its filmi inspiration worked its way into a podcast by Mick Sleeper (mp3) devoted to odd remixes 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 initially published on 27 April 2006.]


worldclass warblers talat mahmood and geeta dutt

several months ago, matt woebot called attention to another amazing instance of far-flung musical connections. in this case, a filmi melody turning up in a lee perry-produced dub track. i myself had always wondered about the odd, haunting melody of “bird in hand” (on return of the super ape), but like many listeners i suppose i chalked it up to that ol’ wacky jamaican creativity or assumed it was amharic or something. recorded in 1978, the song foreshadows reggae’s embrace of the bollywood sound by a cool twenty-five years.

even more remarkable, whereas contemporary dancehall producers tend to simply sample lata and conjure the east with tabla patches, here we have an amazingly faithful engagement on the part of the singer, versioning the melody like alton ellis doing sam cooke and drawing out suggestive vocables (ma-ri-wa-a). (woebot’s post points to more info, but one of the more explanatory pages is down so i’ve linked to it though the waybackmachine here. [update: actually, I’m afraid that page is no longer viewable at archive.org b/c it “has been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt”; I can’t seem to find it on Mick Sleeper’s site either; shame.])

as you might have anticipated, i couldn’t resist mashing the two versions together, hearing – as on “big gyptian” – one complement (and perhaps compliment) the other, filmi singers over dread riddims. (properly speaking, i guess what i’ve done is more like “blending” – no pellas, mang – but, importantly, via digital cut’n’play.) i’ve arranged the two so as to play up their relationship, lining them up and juxtaposing them toward the end, letting the versions share a chorus before their forms (which, despite all the melodic fidelity, are far from identical) diverge too much. i also pitch- and time-shifted the filmi song slightly, playing it a little higher and a tad faster so as to better ride the upsetters’ deep one-drop.


wayne&wax, “a bird in hand is worth two a yard”

[audio:http://wayneandwax.com/riddimmeth0d/wayneandwax_bird-in-hand-two-a-yard.mp3]


[as is par for the course, the filmi version itself is full of far-flung musical connections. note, for example, the tango-derived piano figure in the opening.]

/ .. / .. /


del shannon and max crook’s musitron

as i was cooking up my segment of our lemon-red mix, i was suddenly inspired to include del shannon’s “runaway” (well mixed’n’mashed, of course). given that it seems a less than obvious choice (see comment #3), why did i think this was a good idea? i’m not totally sure. i suppose that some aesthetic doors had been opened for me by bmore’s affinity for oldies as well as hip-hop’s recent embrace of doo-wop. (indeed, as it turns out, not only has bobby vinton been sampled and frankie lymon channeled but, apparently, shannon’s “runaway” has itself been tapped recently – pressed into service for the crossover-courting comeback of NYC’s kulcha don. ) but the main reason i even had the song ready to remix is because i recently picked up a bunch of 60s pop to play at moms’s birthday party. (where people – mostly aunts – were getting down to some golden oldies, boy.)

given the degree to which i’m tampering with it, i was delighted to learn that “runaway” is itself quite a product of electronic technologies. (you can read a detailed account of the story of the song on del shannon’s site.) for one, the track’s famous keyboard solo also happens to be one of the first appearances of a synthesizer (the musitron!) on a pop/rock’n’roll record. second, and significant, del shannon’s voice – which i have chipmunked here (along with the entire song) – was itself pitch-shifted for the original! so all you oldies fans who always wondered how he hit those alvin-esque high notes can now revel in the knowledge that del actally recorded the song in a lower range to a slowed-down accompaniment:

Upon his return to Detroit, producer Harry Balk listened to the tapes only to hear that Shannon was singing too flat. Balk liked the song’s potential and suggested to his partner, Irving Micahnik, that Shannon be flown back to New York to re-cut the vocals. Again, Shannon was nervous and singing flat. Having spent a lot of money on studio time and expenses, Balk and Micahnik were very concerned. Balk and Big Top Records president Johnny Beinstock turned to the owner of Bell Sound for help and advice. The owner developed a machine, the size of a desk, that would enable the tapes to be sped up and slowed down. This allowed Balk to speed up Shannon’s vocals to nearly one-and-a-half times it’s original speed to bring him into key. “We finally got Del on key, and it sounded great, but it didn’t sound like Del,” explained Balk. “We mixed it anyhow, and it came out wonderful. (source)

and i was quite pleased to discover that my chipmunked, boston-bounced, merengue-mashed remix not only seems in line with the original both technologically and aesthetically, but also – considering del shannon’s frank admission of alluding to “stealing” other people’s music – philosophically and ethically:

Shannon, too, was ahead of his time, being one of the first white boys to sing falsetto on record. “I learned falsetto from The Ink Spots’ ‘We Three,'” Shannon would explain in a 1989 interview. “I eventually got hooked on Jimmy Jones’ ‘Handy Man’ in ’59 and would sing that at the Hi-Lo Club. I always had the idea of ‘running away’ somewhere in the back of my mind. ‘I wa-wa-wa-wa-wonder, why…’ I borrowed from Dion & The Belmonts’ ‘I Wonder Why.’ The beats you hear in there, ‘…I wonder, bam-bam-bam, I wa-wa…’ I stole from Bobby Darin’s ‘Dream Lover.’ We all steal from the business you know. When ‘Runaway’ went to #1, people stole from me. That’s the way the record business is played.” (source)

well said. ahem:

wayne&wax, “runaway imagination”

[audio:http://wayneandwax.com/riddimmeth0d/wayneandwax_runaway-imagination.mp3]

[as you can see, i’m mixing the chipmunked “runaway” with loops from the merengue-mix of lil jon’s “get low” as well as additional percussion courtesy of a bubblin’ loop, “Beat-005” (itself a far-flung thing, filtering dancehall/soca through dutch happy hardcore) and a few boston bounce layers, namely that swingin’ hi-hat and syncopatedly-snappin’ snare.]

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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.]

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October 7th, 2008

Blogariddims 50

Today marks the seeding of the fiftieth and final episode of the brilliant Blogariddims series, a near-monthly “podcast” with which many readers of w&w no doubt have some passing acquaintance. Indeed, if you’re omnivorous like me, you’ve likely downloaded every one, each time enticed by the loving, careful, idiosyncratic and refreshingly all-over-the-map episodes from some of the most interesting and engaged music bloggers on the ol’ ‘osphere (if I don’t say so myself).

Nuff nuff props to Droid for imagineering the whole thing and running a pretty tight ship all the while. It was a pleasure to be involved, and I’m delighted to have been able to contribute to the appropriately motley final episode, which features 11 mini-mixes from former contributors to the series.

As with my previous contribution, Another Crunk Genealogy (#11), I couldn’t resist teasing a particular musical thread throughout my mix. In this case, however, rather than letting a suggestive set of rhythmic patterns guide my track selection, here I’ve decided to focus on a particular melody, often — but not always — taking the form of a familiar bassline cutting across (rhythm&)blues, soul, pop, hip-hop, dancehall, jungle, and bubbling, to name a bunch. It’s a surprisingly common riff, suggesting perhaps the naturalness of playing such a thing on an instrument (esp guitar/bass) rather than some (prolly) specious theory of origins. Many readers/listeners will know it best via Sly & Robbie’s Bam Bam riddim, which notably supported, among other hits, the early 90s crossover classic “Murder She Wrote.” Others will be transported back to Otis Redding’s “Tramp” right away.

Although I wouldn’t purport that this is a comprehensive genealogy of any sort, I’ve done my best to bring a number of the more important/influential tracks to employ this melody, throwing in a few (obscure) curveballs for good measure, and doing my best not to get too hung up on pseudo-genealogical orthodoxy. For the record, I’ve crammed the following 13 tracks into my 7 minutes (no numerology a gwaan, trust me); and while I tease some tracks in and out, the general sequence is as follows —

      >> Lowell Fulson, “Tramp”
      >> Otis Redding & Carla Thomas, “Tramp”
      >> Cypress Hill, “How I Could Just Kill a Man”
      >> Prince, “7”
      >> Sly & Robbie, “Bam Bam Riddim”
      >> Chaka Demus & Pliers, “Murder She Wrote”
      >> Cutty Ranks, “A Who Seh Me Dun”
      >> Cutty Ranks, “Limb By Limb” (original + jungle remix by DJ SS)
      >> Janet Lee Davis, “I Will Always Love You”
      >> DJ Playero, “DJ Playero Pistas #7”
      >> DJ Playero, “DJ Playero Pistas #9”
      >> ??, “Bubbling MSN Remix”

I don’t really want to get as prolix here as I did in my notes for “Another Crunk Genealogy.” Suffice to say (and I think you’ll hear) that there are lots of connections ricocheting around in this mini-mega-mix. For one, Lowell Fulson’s “Tramp,” which I tease in and out of the mix, is the track sampled by Muggs for Cypress’s “Kill a Man” — the latter track meshing/mashing incredibly well with Prince’s “7” (talk about nonsense numerology), a song that — cheese aside — always seemed kind of hardcore (and hip-hop influenced) with that low, 808-y bass playing that line in particular.

To step back for a minute, it’s worth noting that the version of “Tramp” recorded at/for Stax by Otis & Carla has also been widely sampled by hip-hop producers (though often for its drums rather than bassline). So between those two bluesy hits from 1967, that riff — played both on bass and by horns — was really in the air, both in the late 60s and the early 90s. It turns up in lots of other soul (not to mention rocksteady) and hip-hop tracks, and it’s not that surprising that such open-eared musicians as Sly & Robbie might have nodded to it on their massive production for 1992, the Bam Bam riddim. The opening — and recurring — guitar lick on that riddim is pretty clearly (and consonantly) related to the riff from “Tramp,” and though I could have stuck entirely to Bam Bam versions/voicings, I’ve also observed that several other reggae riddims from that time period seem to sample the riddim’s guitar, including the Pitch / Fever Pitch riddim produced in 1993 by Sly and Gitsy (which supports, among other big chunes, Cutty Ranks’s fierce “Limb by Limb”).

Couldn’t resist squeezing another genre into the mix, so I took the opportunity to work in, if briefly, a jungle remix of Cutty’s “Limb” before segueing to, even more briefly (for which you should thank me), a cloyingly cheesy cover of “I Will Always Love You” by Janet Lee Davis (which Droid sent to me via email about a year ago when I was looking into connections between Bam Bam and Fever Pitch, primarily for my research into early reggaeton history).

I finish with a couple “reggaeton” / “underground” pistas — c/o Daddy Playero — both inspired by (and sampling from) the Bam Bam / Pitch material. Those riddims became major sample sources for proto-reggaeton producers in the early&mid-90s, right alongside the (now better known / more synonymous) Dem Bow. Likewise, Holland’s bubbling scene has fixated on the Bam Bam as sample source. Not only are a good number of standard bubbling loops derived from the Bam Bam, but I remain totally tickled by the anonymous (to me anyhow) producer who decided to interpolate a couple measures of Bam Bam in his MSN messenger remix (which also made an appearance in my full-length Blogariddims mix). I drop in this final bit right at the end, ramping up the tempo from a steady 100+ to around 140 before crashing out with a reverbed landing on that original Fulsom guitar chord. Bam is right!

You gotta hear it in context, natch, so gwaan and grab Blogariddims 50 right now (& maybe the other 49 while you’re at it). Still, for anyone who wants to hear the mini-mega-mix it on its own, here it is:

      >> wayne&wax, “bam bam big!” (mini-mega-mix) [16mb / 320k]
      [audio:http://wayneandwax.com/wp/audio/bam-bam-big.mp3]

Blogariddims done! Long live Blogariddims!

Here’s the full list of final episode contributors, for those wanting to peruse tracklists and notes and such. Fine company, I have to say —

0- Droid Intro
1- Autonomic (6.01)
2- JEPM (eden + meme) (8:41)
3- Matt B (6:33)
4- Rambler (7:09)
5- Wayne (7:00)
6 – Droid (7:44)
7- Gutta (6:02)
8- Heatwave (6:04)
9- Hal (8.01)
10- Flack (6:15)
11– Slug/Droid outro

/fin

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February 22nd, 2008

linkthink #0293535: King of Wok


there is none frier

videyoga :: (via)

-

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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