Nearly five years have passed since Dave Nada stumbled upon the evolution of America's contribution to EDM in a basement in the suburbs of Washington, DC. With the release of the free-to-download Original Moombahton Volume 1 compilation, curators Maxx (of Maxx and EJ fame) and Steve Oh now showcase a sound that on its most organic and communal level has regenerated and sounds poised to invade the rapidly expanding and commercializing EDM environment.
As a globalized sound, moombahton was the first that truly proved the explosive power of dance music's sharing community and the impact of the blogosphere. The superstar potential of acts like Alvin Risk, Bro Safari and Dillon Francis arguably grew from moombahton, while producers like Munchi and DJ Sabo literally became living legends, their tracks the stuff of instant underground renown. With "Numero Uno," Maxx and EJ don't just kick off the comp, they also boldly take the reigns of being responsible leaders of moombahton's vast underground community. Keeping the vibe hard, heavy and rooted in traditional Latin style, it's powerful and smooth, a hurricane of a sound that drenches everyone in sweat but doesn't entirely devastate. There's a level of maturity in doing so that is impressive and shows them having evolved in their production style.
Happy Colors is finally old enough to drink, but with "Miya," the track's seductive, throbbing groove shows he has mastered the art of getting bodies crunk long before reaching legal age. Drink and dance-friendly "borracho"-style grooves are still in play for DC's Locomotive, who with hot, synth-laden "Get Down" add in some pop-friendly twerk style as well. The fifteen-track compilation proves itself to be less friendly to the tech house and deeper styles of moombahton, but if looking for sonic depth charges and melody-filled ragers that add a unique dash of color to a festival set, there's enough here to build, peak and let a party ride off into a sizzling summertime sunset.
If anything can be learned from Major Lazer's back-to-back success with "Bumaye" and "Come On To Me," moombahton may be pop's most friendly of summertime grooves. Ultimately, this compilation proves that moombahton certainly never died, but with these big, burly bears-as-grooves represented here, it definitely hibernates in the winter, and emerges restless and ready for rave domination.