Arts Desk

Whither Moombahton?

Almost since its birth in late 2009, moombahton has belonged to the blogs (and, sure, the occasional scholarly untangling)—and as a microgenre centered on uncleared remixes mostly posted on Soundcloud, that makes sense. With the very official release this week of Blow Your Head Vol. 2: Dave Nada Presents Moombahton, the sound has met the critics. And their take is decidedly mixed: A positive review on Pitchfork praised moombahton's bombastic side—and concludes that the genre is at its best when it's essentially a gimmick, slowing down faster songs. A Washington Post review avoided offering a universal field theory of moombahton, but singled out some highlights. And my City Paper colleague Ally Schweitzer took a skeptical view of the comp and the sound in general, but praised Blow Your Head's mellower, more thoughtful numbers.

This whole thing started, you'll remember, when Nada slowed down Afrojack's remix of "Moombah" by Silvio Ecomo and Chuckie for a crowd of inebriated teenagers in P.G. County. That was November 2009, and four months later, Nada released his moombahton EP—which almost immediately spread the sound to producers worldwide. The Blow Your Head comp features a few songs from veteran DJs who influenced moombahton, but moombahton's original track—that'd be "Moombahton"—is conspicuously absent.

In an email, Nada says that he wanted to include "Moombahton" on Blow Your Head, but he couldn't get clearance from Afrojack's label, Dirty Dutch. In fact, he has no idea what Afrojack thinks about Moombahton, who appears determined to remain silent on the issue. He didn't respond when I sent his handlers a note last December. There is a silver lining, according to Nada: "DJ Chuckie is a full supporter!"

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  • Duke

    Thank you for the post!

    When moombahton first burst onto the scene, most observers perceived it as a joke or novelty. Nonetheless, the genre continues to defy the naysayers, and its efflorescence and longevity are due, perhaps, to a constellation of factors:

    1. People are burnt out on frenetically-paced music in an out-of-control, frenetic world.

    2. DJs prefer moombahton because it makes their work more creative.

    3. The 108 bpms tempo allows for sensual body contact on the dancefloor.

    4. Moombahton has an absolutely uncanny ability to rejuvenate tired genres.

    5. Moombahton is an antidote to the anodyne swill pumped out as "music" by greedy corporations.

    Moombahton will take its place alongside other genres, in time. Right now, its longer-term developmental prospects lie in the moombahton sub-genres, especially ambient moombahton, doombahton, moombahchill, and moombahcore.


    Duke at moombahtonic