Canadian New Wave Tropical
Since Cumbia started to get picked up and played by DJs world-wide many years ago, Tropical music has never been so popular. Now there are countless genres that fall under the umbrella of Tropical Bass, including Digi-Cumbia, 3Ball, Baile Funk, Moombahton, Tuki Bass, etc. etc. And there are plenty of DJs and producers on the scene who are helping spread these sounds.
But could it be possible that we’re entering a post-Tropical bass era? It would make sense, that some producers would want to stop thinking only about the dance floor and start thinking about the headphones.
And who better to help forge new ground into this New Wave Tropical sound than a couple of Canadian guys. Because, as Mos Def once said to me in a parking lot in Hawaii, “Canadians are weird because y’all spend a lot of time in your own heads. Must be the winters” (Paraphrasing – but totally a true story).
Gameboy, Self Evident and Will Eede are the Wepa! crew – an audio/visual collective that holds down the Cumbia movement in Vancouver, British Columbia. They have been DJing, producing and pushing the boundaries of cumbia and 3ball for years and have made names for themselves by mixing Tropical sounds with elements of Dub, Step and Bass. Their debut, self-titled album, released in August takes the listener on a heady, downtempo, psychedelic Cumbia journey – perfect for a long trek through the snow or a late night date with your headphones. Made up of some earlier released material, including some great Lido Pimienta remixes, but mostly new original tracks – the Wepa! Crew make Cumbia cool again with their refined, layered productions. Released on the East Van Digital imprint, ‘Wepa!” is available now on Beatport and iTunes.
From Vancouver we jump to Toronto and to the weird and dark world of Uladat. Last year, Uladat introduced himself to the Tropical world with his debut, self-titled release that worked heavily in the Cumbia rebajada (slowed down Cumbia) sound and expanded that slowed down concept to other Tropical Bass sounds. Now, Uladat released his second EP ‘Portal‘ which takes the Cumbia Rebajada concept and mixes it with more dark, minimal influences to create a lush and textured soundscapes that border on the side of creepy. Uladat’s “Portal” EP pushes the envelope and redefines “Tropical” into an intoxicatingly haunting world of music. Released on his own label Black Tropical, “Portal” is available now in a limited 200 copy release directly from Uladat.
This new wave of Tropical music is an exciting time, because it means the genre is starting to branch out. Artists like the Wepa! Crew, Uladat and Lido Pimienta are helping redefine Tropical music and taking it out of the context of the dance floor and opening up the term to create music for heads. All these artists are unafraid to experiment and go against the grain – and in a world where so many producers and DJs tend to follow trends, it feels good to hear something weird come out of Canada!