Mashit Records relaunches this month as a netlabel, complete with a blog, and DJ C has been tearing it up over there. He promises podcasts, mashups (of the week), remixes, and all sorts of goodies as they go, including no doubt plenty more Mashit Seratonin.
My favorite post so far is Jake’s coverage of yet another newish local electronic muzik-und-tanz genre, this one — jumpstyle, they call it — emanates not from urban America but from Belgium. It’s kinda like Chicago juke in its combination of technofied beats and fancy footwork, only much much Europeaner–
As Jake points out, YouTube is, unsurprisingly, chock full of this stuff (in addition to sites like belgian-jumpstyle.com). & as with homemade juke vids, most of the clips appear to be filmed in empty rooms and parking lots —
Here’s a tutorial for those of you rearing to get your jumpen on —
There’s even a nifty Simpson’s setting —
Over @ mashit, Jake links to a jumpstyle mix, as interpreted through the cockrockdisco aesthetic of Jason Forrest, aka DJ Donna Summer. A fine post! More like these, please —
24 thoughts on “Euroteknofolkisch Fußwerk and Other Whirledly Delights”
Thanks for the blog-love Wayne! You’ve obviously been a huge inspiration to me. I’m looking forward to our continuing dialogistics.
Some ruminations for you…
Obviously jumpstyle music is a gabber offshoot. What’s interesting to me is the particular variety that seems really folk-inspired (and I mean eastern european folk, primarily, though my knowledge of folk musics is pretty limited so I could be off). It reminds me a lot of folk metal, in which folk elements are matched – somewhat incongruously – to metal. A lot of it’s really cheesy (though, same can be said for most gabber and jumpstyle, no?), but some of it really seems to bring the two elements together in a surprisingly harmonious (meaning conceptually harmonious rather than sonically, though the latter’s true as well, probably) way.
What’s particularly interesting, I think, is the blend of one “aggressive” genre – metal or gabber – with the fairly “gentle” sounds of folk music (and folk instruments). And both jumpstyle (or folk-gabber, which is probably a better descriptor for what I’m talking about) and folk metal tend to use military/marching sounds quite a bit. Overall it strikes me as a weird overlap between an electronic genre and a guitar-based one, though I suspect there’s almost no overlap in the fanbases (and no novel dances in folk metal (that I know of)).
Having pretty much no knowledge when it comes to styles of dance, I’d be pretty interested to know where the moves in jumpstyle developed from – it’s totally different than how I’ve ever seen anyone move to “dance” music, especially stuff with fast tempos like gabber.
thx for the thoughts, dr.dots. i had similar reactions while watching — noting the folky (or perhaps folksy) elements of the dance styles (though i’m no expert on european folk dance either) as well as picking up on a martial edge to it all, or even a fascist tinge (tho that’s obv bound up with my own imagination and associations) — which is why i made up that silly deutschisch word for the title.
the mix of aggro drums (but cheeezy synths) and happy vibes is a funny one indeed. i’m definitely curious about the larger cultural context for all of this. how does it differ from gabba? from happy hardcore? from volkmetal? i saw some rave-y looking scenes on youtube, but a lot of what’s up there seems so casual, backyard — almost, well, folky.
I know there’s something called turbofolk in eastern europe and russia.. it is often quite campy (I think someone from that scene got pretty far into the Eurovision song contest) and high energy. I would love to see how people dance to it.
it does have a martial vibe to me as well – but the happy vocals and cheezy synths are a bit more twinkly and less heroic than I would think really military music would be.
but I would take issue with categorizing “folk music” as gentle. If by folk music you mean music played by rural peoples and Roma and the like, and understood to be part of a local or inherited tradition… There have been many folk traditions of playing fiddle at top speed till your fingers bleed and dancing until you can’t lift your boots, drinking till you vomit then going to dance some more.. Turbofolk seems pretty sensible to me on one level, a logical extension of some of that vibe.
It’s interesting that you should be hearing something martial in it and refer to turbo-folk too. Turbo-folk was huge in Serbia in the 90s and criticised by high-culture intellectuals as being nationalist, expolitative and anti-intellectual. Ceca Raznatovic was married to the warlord Arkan – they were like the Serbian royal couple back then. There’s a good article here:
dunno about the dancing tho.
It’s interesting to see this kind of sound spreading west. I’m half-Hungarian myself and there the “folk-synth” type genres are pretty god-awful – think standard happy house with a folk-pop song bolted on top.
Our neighbours are doing much better in the updating of folk-pop to a new genreation. The Poles were first – disco polo even started before the fall of the wall, inspired largely by Italo-disco and with a blooming period in the late nineties. You’ll find more parodies of the genre than actual examples on YouTube these days…
A couple of older folk styles from the balkans had big revivals in the nineties as well: Bulgarian chalga and greek LaÃ¯ka are both fairly cool, though I like older LaikÃ³ like that of Manolis Angelopoulos better, because of the unexpected (for the sixties) Bollywood influence!
The previously mentioned turbo folk, from the former yugoslavia, is also quite interesting though not nearly electronic enough for my tastes.
If you want a style with an actual dance style attached (haven’t checked the others, they might be dance-oriented too) there’s always the highly kitch-ironic german genre of dancefox, an offshoot of eighties discofox. The dance style is danced by couples to basically any four-on-the-floor music. Very popular in Russia apparently!
My big, big, big favourite though is a genre I’ve mentioned several times before: Romanian manele, yet another example of the historically common balkan tradition of taking middle-eastern music and balkanifying it. They tend to do really great stuff with it as well – like mix it with Reggeaton. It’s also, unlike practically all the music styles on this list, a properly youth-and-street oriented genre made by the young, the poor and the opressed minorities, which adds a lot of energy missing elsewhere.
I have a feeling this isn’t the best example of turbofolk dancing but…
–> “Turbo Folk!!!” on YouTube
hahaha.. Jumpstyle has been the subject of much derision and amusment on various drum and bass boards over the last year or so… Its like some kind of bastard son of morris dancing and gabba stomping. The music is awful as well!
Those interested in a slightly skewed take on ‘turbofolk’ should google for ‘Ed Cox’s Gypsy Clowncore mix’. its a few years old now, but its still quality.
I love the jumpstyle. But they can never take the crown. Never.
Ripley: my choice of words was perhaps off a bit – I don’t normally do any “serious” writing about music. “Gentle” is clearly not really the word I mean, but the aggression in metal guitars or gabber drums is really different from the intensity and passion you’re describing.
Craig, I actually think metal and folk are pretty intimately related. Have you ever seen/heard Secret Chiefs 3, probably my favorite metal-folk combo
and check this
start at 1:39 i hear a lot of metal there…
(of course there is a genre of “folk metal” but that seems more thematic in some ways
of course, if it’s opnly volume, then no acoustic instruments can approximate speaker tower. But in terms of intensity, speed, precision (not talking sludge metal I guess), some genres of folk songs and performances are right up there.
I actually haven’t heard Secret Chiefs 3 before – going to have to look into that, thanks!
What I meant isn’t exactly volume either – maybe distortion is what I’m trying to get at, and the agression and power that it represents. Speed is an element, there, too, but speed doesn’t always imply aggression. Plenty of orchestral music requires speed and precision, and it often signifies wholly different ideas.
Further confusing things by adding gender to the discussion, I feel like most metal is very “masculine”, and has a lot in common sonically with other “masculine” genres (like gabber, or breakcore – most of the people making the music are men, and the fanbase is dominated by men, to the point where a lot of women I’ve known wind up dismissing those sounds outright as clearly “not for them”).
Folk music (which I’ll admit to having difficulties defining exactly, which may be part of the problem) doesn’t have that inherent masculinity, it seems to me. But that’s precisely what I find interesting about folk metal: the contrast between the sounds, and the way they’re played off of each other. That tension doesn’t exist if they’re too similar.
Defining something like “folk music” is obviously a fraught exercise. (What’s that famous line about horses?) It’s is an interesting set of distinctions you’re trying to draw, Craig. I wonder whether electric vs. acoustic gets us any closer to the differences you’re hearing since, it would seem, you and Ripley both agree that folk and metal (and gabba) might share certain qualities of intensity.
& throwing gender into the mix (not that we can pretend it’s not already in there) definitely makes things more complex. Musicologist Robert Walser has written at length about gender and heavy metal, and he argues, persuasively I think, that it’s not always so clear that metal affirms or undercuts “traditional” notions of masculinity. See, e.g., “Forging Masculinity: Heavy Metal Sounds and Images of Gender” (108-136) in Running With the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music.
That’s definitely an interesting read, Wayne. Though the examples feel dated – Dokken isn’t exactly what I’ve had in mind throughout this conversation – the point is clearly still relevant regardless of what examples you’re looking at.
Though it’s probably telling that glam metal is currently looked at as a laughable phenomenon left in the past. The metal I have personal experience with (doom, mostly, and post-rock-influenced bands like Isis) seems worlds away from that, in terms of what it signifies and who the audience is. I don’t recall seeing any women at all at the last doom show I was at, for example.
All of that said, I’m gonna duck out of the conversation now, before I get over my head – I have next to no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to gender theory, and I’d prefer to avoid making a fool of myself. Good talking, everyone!
hi, i’m from belgium and “jump” dance (aka the chicken dance) and music has been out for years.
a.f.a.i.c.r. some ravers were telling about how much they “jumped” the night before.
that was back in 93 or 94.
and the music has been popular in clubs and among car tuners for a while over here, and in the netherlands and germany as well.
in belgium it’s mostly popular around cities like liege, hasselt, antwerp and in the south-west hainaut.
musically, i think this sucks really bad, there’s a lack of originality and creativeness.
Waw. You even write about jumpstyle? You’re all over the world man.
I’m from Belgium (which you couldn’t have guessed by my previous latino-themed comments :)) and from my point of view, jumpstyle is actually hot here. (as opposed to what jef writes above). Of course there’s a hard core of true jump aficionados, in the car tuning scene among others. They probably like the agressive beats and mind-numbing repetitiveness of the music. But there’s a bigger audience of ‘average’ youngsters, college students etcetera that make fun of jumpstyle – while still dancing to it at parties. Hard to explain in English, but you get what I mean? Kinda like when white suburb kids appreciate 50 Cent-ish rap, just for laughs.
Meanwhile jump is becoming more mainstream, heck even children see the fun of it. Here is a video of two Belgian Junior Eurovision Song Contest participants doing a (very folky and non-agressive) jumpstyle dance song.
I just have to add another very, very unexpected Manele track:
Can you hear the Lukthung/Thai country influences? it’s brilliant! I love the way the roma in Romania are latching onto anything and everything asian – it reminds me of that article you posted about Champeta and the relationship between black Colombians and Africa.
That’s an interesting find, and interpretation, Birdseed. I’d love to know more about what inspired the track and how the band themselves hear it connecting to these seemingly far-flung traditions. It certainly seems like an interesting example of a kind of “lateral” and symbolic kind of musical engagement.
Some serious hip-hop and reggae influence in there too, natch!
Hi, it’s very nice looking website. I’m waiting for fresh articles. Regards and may the jumpstyle force be with you!
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