Pneumatic and persistent enough to trigger moves from armchair critics.
Louis Pattison 2009-12-03
Portugal’s Buraka Som Sistema are an obvious choice for one of London superclub Fabric’s Fabriclive compilations, their energetic blend of breakbeat, house and kuduro – a rowdy, soca-tinged dance music born in 80s Angola – tailor-made for the club mix. Obvious, too, because Fabric, through its international release and packed release schedule, have done much for the idea of a pan-global dance music more concerned with shaking up a crowd than any strictly controlled genre boundaries.
Things commence with a Buraka remix of Gone Too Far from Brooklyn’s Dre Skull, a melancholic club stomp with filtered synths, rowdy bass wobble and a vocal from dancehall legend Sizzla that’s run through echo and looped back on itself. This leads seamlessly into two remixes of General, a track from Buraka’s 2008 studio debut Black Diamond – but London producers Stenchman and L-Vis 1990 have put their own stamps on it, the former recasting it as beefy dubstep, the latter impressing insistent melodies and layers of percussion to the mix.
From there, it’s a hectic rattle through familiar names – this album was never realistically going to exist without inclusions from Diplo and his dancehall link-up with Switch, Major Lazer – and more offbeat fare. Crime Mob’s Rock Your Hips, featuring vocals from female MC Lil Scrappy, is sluggish crunk-rap on a particularly lewd tip, while Dynamite Sandwich, an unreleased track from elusive post-dubstep producer Zomby, brings a burst of psychedelic colour.
The predominant flavour here, though, is rhythm – upbeat, thrusting even, and shot through this mix like a backbone. New material and remixes from Buraka course along in a whirlwind of whistles, thudding techno beats and drums that sound like a upturned tin bath played with a spanner. It’s a globe-trotting sound that’s far more forward – some might argue crass – than more cerebral attempts at border-crossing fusion, as practised by DJ/Rupture, DJ Spooky, et al. But you can’t fault its infectious energy, pneumatic and persistent enough to trigger some moves from even the sternest armchair critic.