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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‘C’ is for Cumbia – Old School & New

‘C’ in the A-Z of Music Genres, Beaver Style (ie. ‘fusion’) goes to Cumbia – old school and new.

Older (But Still ‘New’) School Cumbia

In its original form Cumbia music developed around the Caribbean coast of Colombia during its period of colonization by the Spanish.  It became a fusion of music styles and instruments from the indigenous Colombian peoples of that region (the colonized), the Spanish (invading colonists) and African slaves bought to Colombia by those colonists to work.

A tragic history for Africans and Colombians yes…which brought about the awesome sounds of Cumbia that have since spread throughout the world and morphed into its many different forms.

 Cumbia Colombia

Here you can sample some older (but still ‘new’) school Colombian cumbia songs.  They’re the oldest I have in my collection anyway – cumbia goes way back a long, long time before this…

La Cumbia Colombiana - CD 2

La Cumbia Colombiana

‘La Zenaida’ – Armando Hernández – La Cumbia Colombiana

 

‘Yo Me Llamo Cumbia’ – La Integracion – La Cumbia Colombiana

 

New School Cumbia

Cumbia has come a long way since its origins.

Throughout history countless artists from around the world have taken cumbia and mixed it with their own regional music styles and/or modern ones like hip-hop, electro and jazz to create new and unique forms of music.

Here you can feast on the sounds of the newer school of cumbia music. Check out these sample (mp3 only) tracks by 10 current artists whose music I know and love from the USAFrance, England and of course Colombia.

Toto La Momposina (Colombia)

To my ears Toto La Momposina is the Queen of Contemporary Cumbia. She’s also on my ‘Live Music Experience Bucket List’.

Hailing from Talaigua Nuevo, a town in Northern Colombia, Toto La Momposina’s music draws heavily on traditional cumbia music and dance (amongst other Latin music styles like Cuban son, bullerengue, chalupa, rumba and guaracha).

Her music is celebrated in Colombia, the rest of Latin America and the wider world through which she has toured extensively in her long career.

Check out some sample tracks from some of Toto La Momposina’s albums, including her version of one of the older school sample tracks above…

Toto la Momposina - La Bodega (2009)

La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina

‘Yo Me Llamo Cumbia’ – La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina

 

‘Manita Uribe’ – La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina

 

Carmelina (1995) - Toto la Momposina

 Carmelina (1995) – Toto La Momposina

‘La Sombra Negra’ – Carmelina (1995) – Toto La Momposina

 

La Candela Viva (1993) - Toto la Momposina

La Candela Viva (1993) – Toto La Momposina

‘El Pescador’ – La Candela Viva (1993) – Toto La Momposina

 

Ondatrópica (Colombia/England/Chile/ Peru+)

Ondatrópica - Ondatrópica (2012)

Ondatrópica (2012) – Ondatrópica

‘Cumbia Espacial’ – Ondatrópica (2012) – Ondatrópica

 

Read more about Ondatrópica and hear more Ondatrópica sample tracks here.

Ondatrópica

 

Bomba Estereo (Colombia)

Bomba Estereo - Elegancia Tropical (2012)

Elegancia Tropical (2012) – Bomba Estereo

‘Bailar Conmigo’ – Elegancia Tropical (2012) – Bomba Estereo

 

Kartel Pacifico (Colombia)

Coctel (2012) - Kartel Pacifico

Coctel (2012) – Kartel Pacifico

‘Care Cumbia’ – Coctel (2012) – Kartel Pacifico

 

Puerto Candelaria (Colombia)

Cumbia Rebelde (2011) - Puerto Candelaria

Cumbia Rebelde (2011) – Puerto Candelaria

‘Cumbia Veracruz’ – Cumbia Rebelde (2011) – Puerto Candelaria

 

Here you can check out more sample Puerto Candelaria tracks and a video of a live Puerto Candelaria show in Medellin last year.

 

Papaya Republik (Colombia)

Vol. 1 - Papaya Republik

Vol. 1 (2010) – Papaya Republik

´Cumbia Del Pescaito´ – Vol 1 (2010) – Papaya Republik

 

Read more about Papaya Republik & listen to other Papaya Republik tracks here.

Papaya Republik live

Papaya Republik

 

Monareta (Colombia)

Monareta - Fried Speakers (2010)

Fried Speakers (2010) – Monareta

‘Cumbia de la Sierra’ – Fried Speakers (2010) – Monareta

 

The Quantic Soul Orchestra

(aka Will Holland – England – + his global music collaborators)

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

Tropidelico (2007) – The Quantic Soul Orchestra

‘Los Olvidados’ – Tropidelico (2007) – The Quantic Soul Orchestra

 

Check out more sample tracks from The Quantic Soul Orchestra + other Will Holland albums here.

You can also find these Quantic cumbia fusion albums

 

Here you can also check out a video of a DJ set by Will Holland (aka Quantic) at WOMADelaide Festival 2014

Sergent Garcia (France)

Mascaras (2006) - Sergent Garcia

Mascaras (2006) – Sergent Garcia

‘Yo Me Yoy Pa’ La Cumbia’ – Mascaras (2006) – Sergent Garcia

 

Hear more sample tracks from Mascaras + Sergent Garcia’s other albums here.

 

 

Ozomatli (USA)

Ozomatli (1998) - Ozomatli

Ozomatli (1998) – Ozomatli

‘Cumbia De Los Muertos’ – Ozomatli (1998) – Ozomatli

 

Cumbia certainly has made an incredibly profound musical mark all through Latin America and the rest of our big wide world.

I love cumbia in all its many diverse forms, old school and new.  Don’t you?

I Love Cumbia

 

‘C’ is for Chutney & More

Along with Cumbia, ‘C’ is for so many other music genres from around the world, fusion Beaver style.  Here are a few of the ones I like the sound of…

Candombe – fusion of African and Uruguayan styles developed by African-Uruguayan slaves in the 19th century.

Chicken scratch – fusion of Native American, White American, Mexican, and European styles, performed by the Native American Tohono O’odham people.

Chutney – Caribbean pop music that fuses calypso and cadence with several Indian styles.

Conjunto – fusion of Mexican and German styles developed by Mexican-Americans who had bought German instruments in Texas; it also introduced elements of Caribbean and Cuban music.

Crunk – fusion of hip hop and EDM, known for its heavy basslines and shouted, call-and-response vocals; often used incorrectly as an umbrella term for Southern hip hop.

Crunk&B – fusion of crunk and contemporary R&B.

Crunkcore – fusion of crunk and scream.

Anyone got some Chutney or Candombe music to share?  

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B Is For Breakbeat

‘B’ (like A and C-Z) has its weird and its wonderful sounding fusion music genres.

Some I want to hear, some not. Some I know and love…

B is for Baggy – a British style that combined alternative rock and acid house, often creating a psychedelic and funky sound.

B is for Baião – a Brazilian rhythmic formula based around the zabumba drum that later combined itself with elements of mestizo, European, and African styles.

B is for Bangsawan – a style of Malay opera based on Indian styles introduced by immigrants.

B is for Bhangragga – a fusion of Bhangra and reggae and dancehall.

Bhangra is a fusion of South Asian and British popular styles, initially developed by Punjabi Indian-English as a combination of their respective cultural styles, but later used to refer to any South Asian/European fusion.

B is for Blackened Death Metal – a fusion between death and black metal.

B is for Brostep – an aggressive and metal-influenced style of Dubstep popular in the USA.

B is for Breakbeat

B is for one I know and love, Breakbeat.

“What the heck is a Breakbeat? It isn’t in my Music Dictionary.”

beardedone

“Clearly this definition is bullshit.”

leisuremuffin

Lots of differing, confused and amusing opinions expressed all over the place on the meaning of Breakbeat.

At your most simplistic Breakbeat (or breaks) is said to refer to two distinct but related things:

1. an electronic music genre; 2. the distinct percussive rhythm from which the genre takes its name, usually characterised by the use of a non-straightened 4/4 drum pattern.

is For Breakestra

Happily in my life, Breakbeat is represented by eight-piece Los Angeles based group Breakestra.

Their Bio talks of Breakbeat too…

…that ten second slice of percussive magic in the middle of a funk song that, when looped together by progressive South Bronx DJs in the 1970s, became the basis of the hip-hop movement.

breakestra

Breakestra made the evolution of Breakbeat ever so sweet.

They did so by being a group of musicians simulating the sounds of breaks usually mixed on turntables, with their live instruments.  Live hip hop breaks – drenched in funk and soul.

breakestra

Check out these 2 sample tracks from Breakestra’s first album Hit The Floor

MP3 warning, like always.

Hit The Floor (2005) - Breakestra

Hit The Floor (2005)

‘Gotta Let Me Know’ – Breakestra – Hit The Floor (2005)

 

‘Hiding’ – Breakestra – Hit The Floor (2005)

 

I love that B is for Breakbeat – and for Breakestra.

Don’t you?  

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‘A’ is for Afrobeat Hip Hop

I was talking music with a Texan musician recently.  He told me about a few fusion music genres from the U.S. I’d never heard of and sounded great.

When I later checked them out I remembered again that the very long and ever-growing list of music genres in our world, is pretty damn cool.

Don’t you think so?

If you do then you might be into this here series my new Texan friend has inspired me to start. It’s an A – Z of Worldwide (Mostly) Fusion Music Genres…with sample tracks where possible.

Here goes…

A

Afrobeat

is a combination of traditional Yoruba music, highlife, jazz and funk with chanted vocals styles and conscious lyrics.

Afrobeat made it into my A list cause it’s one of my all-time favorites.

Afrobeat’s main pioneer was the legendary Nigerian artist Fela Kuti  (you knew that already).

Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti was of course succeeded by Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti (amongst others).

Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti

Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti

Many Things (2008)

Many Things (2008)

African Problems (Many Things-2008) – Seun Kuti

Remember please people…it’s just an mp3. Kuti (Fela, Femi & Seun) albums are easy to buy and touch, and amazing to hear.

Afrobeat Hip Hop

I haven’t found this one in any official-type music genre lists. It’s on my A list cause in Melbourne recently I heard The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra playing a combination of Afrobeat and hip hop at their AWME gig.

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

Do Anything  Go Anywhere (2010)

Do Anything Go Anywhere (2010)

How Long It Go Take (Do Anything Go Anywhere – 2010) – The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra 

 

Afro-Cuban Jazz

is the earliest form of Latin jazz. It mixes Afro-Cuban clave-based rhythms with jazz harmonies and improvisation techniques.

Another one of my favourite music genres.  Sadly for the world and for Cuban artists, people don’t get to hear most Afro Cuban jazz or other incredible Cuban music without physically going to its soils and looking.

Here are a couple of sample tracks from the Afro-Cuban Jazz Project album Descarga Uno

Afro Cuban Jazz Project - Descarga Uno

Afro Cuban Jazz Project – Descarga Uno

Campina (Descarga Uno) – Afro Cuban Jazz Project

La Fiesta Esta Comenzando (Descarga Uno) – Afro Cuban Jazz Project

Aleatoric

Music the composition of which is partially left to chance and/or some primary element of a composed work’s realisation is left to the determination of its performer.

Aleatoric could be fusion, or not, but it sounds interesting anyways.

Anyone have some Aleatoric music to share?

Or some other weird and wonderful  ‘A’ genre?

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