Bajo Fondo

E is for Electronic Music Infiltration

‘E’ in Beaver’s A to Z of Fusion goes to the sounds of electronic music for their like-it-or-not, rapid infiltration of almost every type of music in just about every part of the world since their beginnings at the end of the 19th century.

electronic music

A Shallow History of Infiltration

The history of electronic music is long and involved.  It’s not a story I’m qualified to properly tell, nor do I want to try. The over-simplified, short, sketchy version is this…

The Beatles - Moog SynthesizerFirst came the creation of electronic musical instruments like synthesizers. The Beatles weaved them into their music in the late 1960’s, as did artists before them. Pink Floyd did too, even Herbie Hancock, and countless artists since them.

The development of electronic music technologies continued, including digital audio to rapidly thereafter replace analog.

The creation of music using only electronic means became increasingly common.

Computer software advanced. Access to computers and other technologies became easier for most of the world.

electronic music

Certainly electronic music got its grips on ‘less-developed’ (ie. poorer) parts of the world sooner than the richer ones, but it eventually infiltrated just about everywhere. Seven years ago in Havana you can imagine my dismay when a young man in the technologically un-advanced, insulated Cuban bubble, proudly played me the reggaeton (an electronic-music-Evil) track he’d just finished making on his archaic equipment.

Some consequences of the world’s electronic music infiltration I’m into, some I am most definitely not.

Post-Infiltration

Nowadays it’s rare to find music made in the warm, living analog world. That’s a tragedy of epic proportions. Thankfully some artists still deliver it – most recently D’Angelo with Black Messiah, and regularly by Will Holland (aka Quantic).

Digital music consumption now dominates – another tragedy of epic proportions.

Nowadays and for a long time it’s been open to any man, woman or their dog with a computer to make music on it. It’s great that so much creativity is flowing from people around the world, but the truth is that I have little tolerance for listening to music produced wholly and solely in the electronic domain.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – the infiltration of electronic music has had its benefits too. Today some of my favorite music from around the world is by artists/groups who innovatively utilise and blend the sounds of electronic instruments into their musical mix whilst valuing and maintaining the living, human, conventional sounds.

It is the sounds of those instruments, and the people playing them, that is the living chi of music. They make the music sound and feel alive to me. They physically and emotionally connect me to the music. Without that living element, with purely electronic sounds, the music is a lost cause for my ears.

Infiltration Samples

Check out these sample tracks by a handful of contemporary artists from different countries who mix up the sounds of electronica and the living to produce killer musical results. Remember these are just super-compressed mp3 versions of the songs. Buy the music on vinyl where you can, or at least cd, to hear it in its full, living sound glory.

1. NGAIIRE (Papua New Guinea/Australia)

Lamentations (2013) - Ngaiire

NGAIIRE – Lamentations (2013)

‘Fireflies’ – NGAIIRE – Lamentations

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Check out more NGAIIRE music + footage from live shows here.

2. Flying Lotus (USA)

Flying Lotus - You're Dead! (2014)

Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (2014)

‘Never Catch Me’ – Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar – You’re Dead! 

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Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

‘See Thru To U’ – Flying Lotus  feat. Erykah Badu – Until The Quiet Comes

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Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma (2010)

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (2010)

‘German Haircut’ – Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

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Check out more Flying Lotus music here and stay tuned for a rundown of his upcoming live performances in Australia.

3. Will Holland – aka Quantic (UK)

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico (2007)

‘I Just Fell In Love Again’ – The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico

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Check out more Quantic tracks + footage of his DJ set at WOMADelaide 2014  here.

4. Myele Manzana (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Myele Manzanza - One (2012)

Myele Manzanza – One (2013)

‘Elvin’s Brew’ – Myele Manzanza  – One

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5. Hiatus Kaiyote (Australia)

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

‘Sphinx Gate’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk

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Hear more Hiatus Kaiyote tracks + videos of live shows here.

6. Sidestepper (UK + Colombia)

(pioneers in live/electro Colombian fusion)

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper - 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

‘In The Beats We Trust’ – Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust

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7. Bajofondo (Argentina + Uruguay) 

(pioneers in Latin American live/electro fusion)

Bajofondo - Mar Dulce (2007)

Bajofondo – Mar Dulce (2007)

‘Pa’ Bailar’ – Bajofondo Tango Club – Mar Dulce

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Hear more Bajofondo tracks + videos from a live show in Bogota here.

8. Roberto Fonseca (Cuba)

Roberto Fonseca - Yo (2012)

Roberto Fonseca – Yo (2013)

‘Rachel’ – Roberto Fonseca – Yo

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Hear more Roberta Fonseca tracks + videos from his live performance at WOMADelaide 2014 here.

9. Electric Wire Hustle (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

‘Burn’ – Electric Wire Hustle

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10. Little Dragon (Sweden)

Little Dragon - Ritual Union

Little Dragon – Ritual Union (2012)

‘Please Turn’ – Little Dragon – Ritual Union 

 

Hear more Little Dragon songs + videos from live shows here.

Little Dragon live at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

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So musical people, what say you about the infilitration of electronic music…like it, or not?

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DJs With Bands = Musical Diversity +++

Many of the fusion bands I have heard live in Colombia (and/or have on CD), have a DJ in the musical mix.   Those DJ’s play a fundamental part in the diversity of sounds created by the band as a whole.

Live music is the ultimate musical experience for me.

A great DJ to dance or listen to is also an awesome musical experience.

The 2 combined: DJ + a band = musical diversity +++, live.

A DJ can create any and as many different sounds as he/she wants yesMusicians can’t do the same thing with instruments, can they?

Combine the musicians and the DJ’s (+ of course emcees & vocalists), and you have complete musical freedom to be as diverse as you want yes? The sound possibilities are endless.

Or no? 

Add a VJ into the mix and you have visual diversity with the auditory yes?

Official sites of these groupsBajo Fondo – Bambarabanda – ChocQuibTown – Dubioza Kolektiv – Mitu – Papaya Republik – Pulenta – Sidestepper – Systema Solar – Troker – Zalama Crew

 

Reviews of gigs, sample music & other info about these groups by Beaver on the Beats @Bajo Fondo –  Bambarabanda –  ChocQuibTown – Dubioza Kolektiv –  Mitu –  Papaya Republik –  Pulenta –  Sidestepper –  Systema Solar –  Troker –  Zalama Crew

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Bajo Fondo & Systema Solar – Muchisimas Gracias

Good music makes me feel happy.

Amazing music makes me feel incredibly happy, and alive.

Two Latin fusion music collectives I experienced on Friday night at Bogota’s Teatro Metropol made me feel that way. The live Bajo Fondo and Systema Solar experiences were an audio & visual delight that have put a smile on my face for days.

BAJO FONDO  (formerly Bajofondo Tango Club)

Bajo Fondo

Bajo Fondo at Teatro Metropol

Basic low down:

  • Collective of 8 musicians/composers/singers from Uruguay and Argentina
  • Fusion of tango/ electronica/ murgacandombemilonga/ hip & trip hop/ drum & bass/ rock/ house/ chill
  • Guitars/drums/percussion/bass/vocals/live visuals/sequences/piano/scratching/bandoneon/dj sets/violin.

Sounds interesting yes? It is.

For years I’ve been listening to and loving Bajo Fondo’s first two albums Bajofondo Tango Club and Mar Dulce. But the live experience of Bajo Fondo exceeded all hopes and expectations, and was more sublime than words can convey.

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Talented musicians and composers – High quality compositions – Ridiculously interesting and unique sounding music – Beautiful visuals – and a super positive and high energy stage presence.

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This was undoubtedly the very best live electronic music gig I have experienced in my life so far.

Need I say more? No – because you can check out the Bajo Fondo website to learn more about them, buy their music, and find the live experience wherever in the world you can.

Short videos from the Bajo Fondo gig here:

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SYSTEMA SOLAR

Systema Solar - Teatro Metropol- 2013- www.beaveronthebeats.com

Systema Solar at Teatro Metropol

Basic low down:-

  • 7 Colombians from the Carribean coast forming a musical/visual collective with “a strong emphasis on worship, dance and joy”
  • Fusion of  porro / cumbia / fandango / champeta / hip hop/ house/ techno/ breakbeat/ scratching
  • Turntables/singing/emceeing/percussion/ video jockey/dance
  • Super cool costumes

Spectacular live performance by Systema Solar at Teatro Metropol that had me smiling from ear to ear.

I doubt there is any group on this earth right now that sounds like Systema Solar do – and that makes them pretty special.

Awesome visuals too. It was cool that during some songs the stage lighting was dimmed so as to obscure or totally silhouette the music artists, allowing the focus to stay on the movements and bright colours of the visual arts.

Systema Solar live @ Teatro Metropol - Bogota 2013Systema Solar live @ Teatro Metropol - Bogota - 2013

The use of traditional Afro-Carribean styles in Systema Solar’s music meant that there were moments in songs, especially some vocal sounds, which reminded me of the sounds of Australian Indigenous group Yothu Yindi, infused with Latin sounds.

Systema Solar - Teatro Metropol6-2013- www.beaveronthebeats.com

Systema Solar’s proclaimed mission (a paraphrased Beaver translation from espanol) is:

To radiate the best of our energies to the world, and in each new stage of orbit to continue to assume our biggest challenge in this life – to be happy. Come dance with us…

Systema Solar live @ Teatro Metropol - Bogota - 2013

Systema Solar achieved that mission in abundance on Friday night. Blessed was I to have shared it, and dance I did!

Dance did everyone – illustrated by my favourite people moment of the night:

Seeing (in true & beautiful Colombian style) four uniformed venue staff succumb to the music, dance, smiles and positive high energy around them in the space.

I noticed them longingly watching everyone around them dancing. The moment came when they asked themselves “Can we?”.  Then answered “Yes, we can.  Why not?” So dance  they did – with the rest of us.  All smiling we were.

Systema-Solar-live-Bogota-www.beaveronthebeats.com

I highly recommend checking in to Colombia or somewhere else in the world to experience the Systema Solar collective live.

Check out these videos of Systema Solar at Teatro Metropol:

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Muchisimas Gracias to Bajo Fondo & Systema Solar for a warm and happy welcome back to Bogota!

Bajo Fondo - Live - Teatro Metropol - Bogota - 2013Systema Solar - Teatro Metropol- 2013- www.beaveronthebeats.com

 

I’ve already said it, I’m saying it again today, I suspect I’ll say it many more times before I leave Colombia again: I am ridiculously-happy to be back in this country to enjoy all the amazing and diverse musical feasts on offer.

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Music = Medicine

Music is the best medicine in the world.

I think music artists should be paid equally to doctors and pharmacologists.

Don’t you?

I’ve had a smile on my face since last night after experiencing the concert of two incredible Latin fusion music collectives. Musical quality and goodness beyond all my hopes and expectations. Muchas gracias Bajo Fondo & Systema Solar.

Bajo Fondo

Bajo Fondo

Systema Solar

Systema Solar

Details of the gig + more images & videos soon (after Rock al Parque tomorrow).

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