Clubbers decktionary: Moombahton
A guide to the musical genre defined by midtempo shuffling rhythms
(moom-bar-tonn), also Moombahsoul, Moombahcore, Moombahstep, proper noun: midtempo style (105-115 BPM), characterised by the same shuffling rhythms (or ‘riddims’) of reggaeton, cumbia and dancehall with heavy bass and beats, plus electro/rave motifs such as build-ups and break-downs, electronic stabs, horns, sirens, blips, bleeps, whistles and vocal snatches often of a trashy or comical nature. The derivative styles favour samples/themes from soul (Moombahsoul) and dubstep (Moombahcore/Moombahstep).
In Autumn 2009, Washington-based DJ Dave Nada was invited to play at a ‘skipping’ party (thrown by and for kids playing truant) in a friend’s basement, but instead of his conventional style (hard, fast, ravey electro), they were listening to reggaeton and other Latin American music. Rising to the challenge, he opened his set with one of his regular tunes – DJ Chuckie & Silva Cuomo’s ‘tropical’ electro shuffler, ‘Moombah’ – pitched right down to the 110 BPMs of reggaeton: the party went off, Nada beheld his golden egg and, in barely 18 months, Moombahton has gone global.
Dave Nada and Matt Nordstrom record together as Nadastrom and run the Moombahton Massive night in Washington with DJ Sabo. LA’s Dillon Francis and North Carolina’s Dave Heartbreak are fellow US champions alongside Philadelphia’s niche-scene-supremo and international tastemaker, Diplo. Never one to miss a trick, Diplo has just released a Moombahton compilation by Dave Nada on his Mad Decent label. New York singer Maluca and Dutchman Munchi are spreading the Moombahton gospel for those of Dominican descent, while French electro star Brodinski and Sheffield dancehall champion Toddla T are currently its highest profile European purveyors.
You’re likely to hear some Moombahton at Walk’n’Skank, Club 520, weekly Thu; Hung Up!, Sub Club, weekly Sun and Bass Warrior Sound System, Stereo, Sat 13 Aug (all Glasgow); Wonky, Bongo Club, Fri 12 Aug and Volume, Sneaky Pete’s, Sat 13 Aug (both Edinburgh).