This hypothesis was confirmed upon the release of Francis’s viral video for “Que Que,” a 2011 collaboration with Diplo. A performance at this month’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival amplified the sound to its loudest levels yet — even if few in the crowd could actually define it.
With little trace of the reggaeton that inspired Nada’s original vision, Francis’s set electrified the heavily teenage crowd. Once the beat dropped, animated bunnies started somersaulting on towering video screens. Francis screamed at the crowd: “LET’S MAKE HISTORY!” The audience obeyed — exploding in a spastic euphoria of glow sticks, fist pumps and the occasional toy giraffe raised to the heavens.
The Compound is only one block from the Haas Building. A multi-room warren being rented by dubstep producer 12th Planet, it doubles as a studio, office space and crash pad for visiting producers, DJs and miscellaneous musical family.
The new wrinkles
One such guest is the highly respected British DJ Plastician, who is recording his program for London’s Rinse FM. Tonight is the Moombahton Massive episode featuring Nadastrom. A dozen friends, new and old, have gathered to watch the pair deliver a mix for the prestigious electronic station. The mood is celebratory — complete with a feast of honey-nut fried chicken, sausages wrapped in bacon, and craft beer.
“It invites girls back to the dance floor,” Plastician says when asked about his interest in moombahton. “Bass music was getting heavier and darker, but this has a swing to it. There’s no real scene yet in the U.K., but a lot of people there are interested in it.”
That’s not to say that the moombahton global takeover is necessarily imminent. Its honeymoon has already expired as the darling of those obsessed with future sounds. Most of the major players no longer deliver sets solely consisting of moombahton, and everyone seems acutely aware of electronic music’s constant need to evolve.
“It can’t become incestuous, where every producer tries to sound the same,” Nada says of his creation. He’s working on a new Nadastrom album that figures to offer a new wrinkle. There’s also been talk of a regular Moombahton Massive in L.A., provided the proper venue can be found.
“What happens in the next year will probably determine whether moombahton can turn into something flexible enough to be a timeless tradition, or merely remain a local legacy,” acknowledges Tittsworth, who is assembling a compilation of new moombahton tracks. “The most important thing is that its fans are open to new versions of it.”
For the moment, there’s optimism. After all, it was unlikely that an experimental tempo shift done almost four years ago would trigger a series of events that would uproot their lives and transmit their music across the country and the globe.
Before he takes the turntables to deliver his mix, Nada surveys the room as if taking inventory of the past 30 months. He is about to merge club rhythms from Rotterdam to Charm City to the Caribbean on the show of a British DJ temporarily based in L.A. And all he had to do was walk down the street.
“See what I was saying,” he says smiling. “This is a perfect example of why L.A.”
Weiss is a freelance writer.
Moombahton Massive XXV is Wednesday at 9 p.m. at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. $12.; Moombahton Massive Day is June 1 at 10 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $20.