Welcome to the first Bleat of 2012! Last time we covered Kuduro as it spread from Luanda, Angola, to Lisbon, Portugal. This week, we’ll track its spread from Portugal to France and Germany, and then, in the future, to the UK and Americas.
3. Invasion of the Continent
After blowing up in Portugal, it wasn’t long before other open-minded DJ’s, producers, and audiences in other countries took notice of Kuduro and other forms of African music — fueled in part by an influx of African immigrants to France and Germany.
The French interpretation of Kuduro is often called the “French Touch,” and it often showcases the more Hip Hop-esque side of Kuduro. I’m not going to say much about it in this post — I’ll leave that to a later date — but I would like to introduce you to a couple of young French producers whose sounds are heavily influenced by Kuduro.
I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about French Fries before — he’s a young genius (17!) off of Youngunz and DJ Sandrinho‘s ClekClekBoom, who makes Tropical Bass and Future Garage tracks that turn into gold when played. Seriously.
“Bust ‘Em Up (French Fries Remix)” – Crookers present Dr Gonzo (Soundcloud link)<- He recently gave Crookers’ “Bust ‘Em Up” royal remix treatment. And when I say “royal,” I mean it was the best remix on the EP. And it was legally released for free download on Soundcloud. Boo ya.
Go buy the rest of the release on Beatport.
“Senta (Original Mix)” – French Fries (Beatport link)<- You’ve almost certainly heard this track, off his Arma – EP, which has been given support by… well… just about everyone. Seriously. Though some would call it “played out,” I still use it as a staple in my sets.
“I.R.L. (French Fries Remix)” – Girl Unit (Beatport link)<- Perhaps better examples of French Fries’ Kuduro influences can be seen in these next two tracks… Intense percussion, screeching leads, and a beatbox line that does Voltmix-inspired Baile Funk proud, turn Girl Unit‘s deep Dubstep dirge into a spastic Kuduro banger.
“Marawa (Original Mix)” – French Fries, Savage Skulls (Beatport link)<- For Enchufada‘s fourth volume of their Hard Ass Sessions series, French Fries teamed up with Swedish duo Savage Skulls for “Marawa.” The result speaks for itself.
Why does it seem that all of France’s hottest new producers are my age or younger? Hailing from Douai in northern France, Canblaster has had a place in the highest notes of my praises for some time now — his remix of J-Wow’s “Spark,” in fact, was the highlight of my first ever Bleats segment a year ago…
Spark (Canblaster Remix) – J-Wow <- Canblaster has been killing it lately, in just about every conceivable way. This remix of Buraka Som Sistema’s own J-Wow alternates between airy and unbearably heavy, with high-fluting synths and shake-the-Earth lows — and naturally, they come together after the drop to blow your mind into the canopy. I may have posted this track last, but it might be the most massive one of the four. Decide for yourself. Just be sure to turn your speakers all the way up. Also check out the just-released Spark – EP, available on Juno Download.
“Kapongo Dance (Original Mix)” – Canblaster, Berou (Soundcloud link)<- Finding equal parts inspiration in vintage synths, Chicago Juke, UK Funky, Kuduro, Kwaito, J-Pop, and R&B, Canblaster’s productions are really something to behold: glittering with bubblegum-sweetness while still hitting a deep, dark place somewhere inside your soul. See what I mean? This Kuduro-inspired joint effort with fellow Frenchman Berou is another track that I’ve been giving heavy play. Released a little under a year ago, “Kapongo Dance” received support from superstars such as Sinden, Brodinski, Douster, Congorock, Camel, and Yolanda Be Cool. It got a remix EP earlier this year… and the “2011 Version” is a must-have. Period.
“Cannibal (Video Edit)” – Martelo, Canblaster (Soundcloud link)<- You may get the feeling that the majority of artists I’m going to share with you today have submitted entries into the Hard Ass Sessions comps. Well… they have. Not because I’m lazy and used the comps as a guide, mind you — I’m not — but rather because the Tropical Bass community is so fledgling and small-knot. J-Wow and company are just on their game. And so I present to you Canblaster’s collaboration with Scottish Future Garage producer Martelo, also for the 4th volume: “Cannibal.”
Out of Lyons, France, Douster is one of those dudes who seems to eat, drink, and breathe Tropical Bass music, then regurgitate the resulting audio-cultural elements into writhing masses of awesome.
“Carajo! (Original Mix)” – Douster (Mediafire link) <- Here’s what I’m talking about. A sampled Argentinian party break done up in what the man himself describes as “a bassline meets kuduro vibe.” Even you Fidget House and Dubstep heads will appreciate the understated wobbles in this one.
“Afro Nuts (Douster Remix)” – Yolanda Be Cool (Beatport link) <- Before Yolanda Be Cool‘s “We No Speak Americano” became the #1 most played (and most hated) track in the universe, there was “Afro Nuts.” For his remix, Douster did away with the cheesy Latin folk synths of the original, accentuating the “call-to-the carnivale” whistles and upping the percussion. Better than the original. Absolutely.
“Little Freak (Savage Skulls & Douster Remix Feat. Marcus Price)” – Usher (Direct download) <- For Brodinski‘s Best Of Everything Vol. 2, Douster went in on Usher with Savage Skulls and Marcus Price. Oh man, that galloping, understated Kuduro beat is made for club sexiness. Grab it.
The German approach to Kuduro focuses on sheer energy, and often draws influences from Electro House (not unlike Douster’s “Carajo!” above). Here’s a pair of German duos who’re positively crushing the scene right now.
Operating out of Berlin, Hat + Hoodie (not to be confused with British Grime label No Hats No Hoods) are a duo that I’m (legitimately) surprised aren’t a bigger name. Unabashed fans of Tropical Bass, the two run their own blog (link above) and give out quite a few of their own tracks for free; one of them — their remix of Cajmere’s immortal “Percolator” — I actually covered some time ago.
Percolator (Hat+Hoodie Bootleg Remix) – Cajmere (Direct download) <- House legend Cajmere‘s “Percolator” is a classic (seriously, from 1992!), so naturally everyone went nuts when it was announced that it was getting re-released with a brand-spanking new remix EP this year. And it was released, and it was good. But while everyone was going nuts over the Claude VonStroke and Major Lazer remixes, Danes Hat+Hoodie released their Kuduro-Dubstep fusion bootleg on their Soundcloud. And it’s awesome. It may even be my favorite. This one’s a primetime tune if there ever was one.
“Ayoba (Hat&Hoodie Remix)” – Schlachthofbronx, Gnucci Banana, Spoek Mathambo (Soundcloud link) <- Not a whole lot to say about this one… While not really up my alley, I know many of you DJ’s out there will find much use for Hat + Hoodie’s slightly-goofy take.
Ah, the great Schlachthofbronx. I credit these guys (along with the likes of Buraka Som Sistema, Diplo, and L-Vis 1990) for making what was simply a passing curiosity toward Tropical Bass music into a full-blown love affair. I think I just about have a Schlachthofbronx track for every occasion; it helps when they’re so eclectic in their tastes. Cumbia, Dancehall, 3ball, Dutch House… you name it, if it falls even marginally under the Tropical Bass umbrella, there’s a Schlachthofbronx track that fits the bill. And so it should be unsurprising that they’re staples in just about everyone’s sets.
“Alemao (Schlachthofbronx Remix)” – Bert On Beats, MC Gi (Soundcloud link) <- This rework is pure fire. Like horns? Like pan flute? Of course you do. Though this offering is a tad over a year old, it just saw a re-release with the Antenna of Talinn Remixed – LP last month, which you should grab all 14 tracks of off Beatport. I’ll get to Bert On Beats further down, so keep the name in mind.
“Backup Run (Original Mix)” – Schlacthofbronx (Soundcloud link) <- The Germans’ offering to Hard Ass Sessions Vol. VI (Beatport link), “Backup Run” is literally half build-up. And you have to admire that, because it just plain works. Drop at peak time for special flying clothing unlock. Hoorah!
“Onwu Nna Na Nwa (Schlachthofbronx Remix)” – Onyenze (Bandcamp link) <- This here’s off the Akwaaba Remixed – LP; a zany remix of Nigeria’s Onyenze. I have but one thing to say… BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOOOOMBOOMBOOM.
That’s all for this week; next Monday we’ll be taking a break from Kuduro — don’t worry, we’ll come back to it! — and turning our attention to 3ball, because I just found a ton of great tracks that I can’t wait to share with y’all…