Cemented as the buzzword of the moment, moombahton is briskly becoming a permanent fixture under the umbrella of electronic dance music, embraced by tastemakers such as Diplo and Brodinski. The makeshift name encapsulates the rise of mid-tempo tropical bass, whose sounds draws influence from genres as eclectic as Dutch house, reggaeton, Jamaican riddims and cumbia.
In only two years since its accidental invention, the story of its discovery has already become somewhat of folklore among fans and journalists; At a high school party in Washington D.C., DJ David Nada slowed down Afrojack’s “Moombah” to a syrupy 108 beats per minute from the normal 128. As the pitch slider moved down, the sound became markedly similar to the teen-friendly sounds of reggaeton.
But saying moombahton is simply reggaeton sounding Dutch house would discount its credentials. The tempo and rhythm bring to mind reggae and cumbia beats, and combining these various samples creates a crisp Caribbean sound with clean, house-inspired drum and bass, dominating the low frequencies. Other experimenters have moved in different directions, layering their remixes with tracks as far reaching as neo-soul and U.K. bass.
Should summer 2011 become the season of moombahton, we’ll gladly kick-start it with these five essential mixes. Word of advice: this hybridic genre exists primarily in the world of Soundcloud and MP3s are sometimes difficult to come by; browse associated tracklists for clues on where to search.
1. David Nada: Moombahton Megamix (Fool’s Cast 010)
This mix is the bread and butter of the crusade. The beauty of slowing down Dutch house is that it widens the gaps between the usually adjacent stabs of noise, allowing for a spacey, booty-shaking rendition of high intensity techno. [Download/Stream here.]
2. Diplo: Moombahton 2k11 Mix
If Nada’s mix is reggaeton’s polished European cousin, Diplo’s moombah set is their party animal nephew from Miami. Diplo’s co-sign at the helm of Mad Decent is largely the reason the genre has spread so quickly. [Download/Stream here.]
3. Mix Master Moss: Moombafricah!
Like the name implies, this mix from Master Moss reeks of African-infused rhythms. Littered with international raps, this set it also one of the most lyrically heavy, while sluggish Dutch house is kept to a minimum. [Download/Stream here.]
4. Heartbreak: Moombahsoul
Only 15 minutes old, and moombahton is already trying on suffixes like sneakers. Although known for his dynamic cross-genre remixes, Heartbreak narrows his focus to the funky side of moombahton for this compilation. After loading into iTunes, the essence lies within the hazy “Amor de Aaliyah,” which use electronic kicks and snares to glue reggaeton and R&B together. [Download here.]
5. Medic 90: Moombah!
If you need that electro-dubstep gnarl in your life, look no further. This mix opens with Skrillex’s “Reptile’s Theme,” and from there maintains the distinguishable tempo of moombahton, while dubstep, hip-hop and reggaeton songs intertwine enthusiastically. Unless an inadvertent mosh pit is part of the festivities, don’t play this at your next slumber party. [Download/Stream here.]