REVIEW: Mad Decent’s Blow Your Head: Moombahton compilation and the urban underground’s sea change
by Marcus K. Dowling
Alternative urban music is the new mainstream sound. When artists like Janelle Monae, Little Dragon, Quadron and Cee-Lo Green are being courted by mainstream America, there are two vastly divergent paths that fans who appreciated the underground nature of music they had come to appreciate as “their” music can take. The first road is to sell out or join in along with your favorite performers and follow their career path. Corporate America is all about hipsters, blipsters and quirky alternative kids these days. Jay-Z has a blog, and Diddy is swagged all the way out just like Odd Future or Lil B the Based God. The second path? Well, it involves being willing to head back down into the dark corners, away from the bright lights, and willfully allow yourself to indulge in odd, strange and bizarre sounds from unusual new places. Remember the first time you appreciated electro? Remember the first time you heard baile funk? What about your first sip of cheap ale at your first hipster dance party? It may be time to relive those impulses, as if you’re a fan of urban alternative music and NOT appreciative of the strange tropical bass by way of Dutch house sound of moombahton, I advise you to jump aboard the bandwagon today, or prepare to get run over in short order.
On Tuesday, Mad Decent Records released the Dave Nada curated Blow Your Head: Moombahton compilation, which serves, alongside the moombahsoul mix by Kansas City’s Brent Tactic on this site as an excellent introduction to what the DC bred and LA residing Nada, alongside a plethora of largely growing in regard producers have created over the past 500 days. There’s no true precedent, no guidepost producers, engineers or DJs. Yes, reggae and dancehall classics like Shabba Ranks’ “Dem Bow” and El General’s “Pu Tun Tun” have as much to do with the sound as DJ Chuckie’s “Moombah,” but unlike Mad Decent’s first Blow Your Head compilation for dubstep, there isn’t a prodigious nearly twenty year history of moombahton being turned into a progressive pop music soundtrack for a universe of youth. Blow Your Head: Moombahton compilation is basically a guide to moombahton’s first 500 days ever, and a great opening point for people wanting to strap in for the next 5,000. In that respect, it’s an important compilation, and worthy of your time.
In fifteen tracks, you hear what moombahton truly has become. It’s the next generation, from disco, to house, to drum and bass to dubstep of redefining the emotional connectivity between a DJ and an audience of people. It revels in the emotional confection of sampling, and in dredging the emotion from some of the most exciting moments in the history of music. Moombahton creates a rich, viscous and tasty stew of sound, that when produced with an attention to advanced sonics and electrified human response makes for the definition of the most powerful of releases for the current underground dance generation. Moombahton remixes special moments of delirium and examines them with a fire toothed comb, thrashing a listener in a wild sensual interplay.
The next generation of the urban alternative underground has arrived, and moombahton has officially arrived, deserving of your consideration.