This impressive collection is cause to celebrate.
Chris Power 2009
Launched in 2005 by DJ/producer Daniel Haaksman, Berlin label Man Recordings specialises in the heavily percussive, bass-driven Brazilian baile funk sound made popular with the release of M.I.A.’s debut album, Arular. In November 2006, Haaksman began releasing the Funk Mundial EP series, which united European producers with Brazilian MCs to create a hybrid style. This excellent collection presents the highlights so far, and represents a useful primer to this fascinating sound.
Commonly known in Brazil as Rio funk, the term baile (pronounced BYE-lee) funk refers to the parties at which it’s played. The music began life in the late-1980s as a Brazilian variant of Miami bass. While the records featured on Funk Mundial are grounded in this music, they incorporate influences from European and US house and techno styles.
One of the most natural of these marriages comes in the form of Tamborzuda, on which London-based producers Count of Monte Cristal (a.k.a. Herve) and Sinden meld a bouncy speed garage bassline with vintage rave stabs and the frenetic declamatory style of MC Thiaguinho.
Other highlights include the heavy electro bass and chopped-up vocals of Haaksman’s own Who’s Afraid of Rio? (featuring MC Jennifer on mic duties); the ferocious staccato assault of Seiji and MC Dolores’s Todo Mundo, and Austria’s Makossa and Megablast, whose Late Que Eu Tô Passando builds a coolly throbbing minimal techno groove around the sexual innuendo of the all-female Gaiola Das Popozudas crew.
That track proves that baile funk can remain impactful in a less frenetic register than it is commonly pitched at, as does Jesse Rose’s extraordinary Toca Pra Mim. Featuring the scene’s most prominent female MC, Deize Tigrona, this is a brooding mid-tempo tribal house number that lacks none of the capacity to thrill of its more straightforwardly attention-grabbing neighbours. That it represents just one of the many stand-out moments on this impressive collection is cause to celebrate.