Phoenix, Arizona's DJ Melo first hit the radar of many EDM fanatics with his work alongside Pickster One as Kingman Fire. However, as a solo artist, Melo's strongest suit may be in his ability to find collaborative ties with a plethora of producers. One of the few moombahton producers in 2013 who still consistently puts out material that blends a certain level of organic Latin style with a high insistence on preserving a warm, deep, inviting and dance-floor friendly vibe above all else. On his latest, the Think 2wice Records released Collaborations EP, Melo joins with some top-shelf moombahtonistas from around the world Lithuania's Boyfriend, the UK's Disgraceland, and fellow Phoenix resident Riot Earp) for a truly pleasing release.
There's something about moombahton's extraordinary expansion that almost demanded that this intrinsic vibe get lost in the fun many seemed to be having. When a style literally attaches itself to anything and it immediately becomes different, it's easy to forget everything about the genre that made it amazing in the first place. From cumbia to reggaeton, moombahton arguably best finds its depth and scope in these styles having the space and freedom for a track to discover your feet, then enlighten your mind. When tracks become filled with Dutch house's car alarms, dubstep's sonic depth charges and rap's insistence on funky breaks, something in the space gets corrupted. While tracks in those style are great, they in many ways interrupt the flow of a sound that in being at a slower tempo, may ultimately be best when it takes a party at a (comparatively) leisurely pace long and deep into the night.
Melo's collaboration with Riot Earp on EP opener "Pressure Drop" builds like a Baltimore club track that's been drowned at sea. There's a charm to the submerged quality of the bassline, but then it drops, and much like the title of the track, the pressure drops, too. A vocal sample announces "edit," and instead of dropping even further, the track muscles through the depths not as a show of power, but rather in order to reach a point of a comfortable glide. Boyfriend collaboration "Prostitute" kicks off with a sizzling hi-hat, and feels like the aural equivalent of a sexy, tech-driven sci-fi thriller film. "Gossip" closes the EP, and course any close follower of moombahton will happily tell you that the UK's Disgraceland is the long distance pacesetter for any moombahton event. Blending Melo's tropical expertise with Disgracreland's decidedly tech-house urges shows that in moombahton possibly being better as a marathon instead of a sprint, that the race is best when it's about time and chance instead of waiting for the bass to drop.