With venues like U Street Music Hall and the 9:30 Club getting love from just about every “top ten venues in America” list being put out in the last year, to big room EDM spot Echostage slowly gaining in renown, Washington, DC is once again becoming a hub for national and international dance music. As well, depending on who you ask, DC area native Dave Nada‘s moombahton sound may quietly be the either the most beloved (or most reviled) sound in the world. Plus, as always, there’s Jesse Tittsworth filling his mouth with strange food and his skin with even stranger tattoos, putting out top-shelf bass cuts and giving advice on strange travel knick-knacks on A-Trak‘s Ultimate Legroom travel blog. However, in the midst of all of this, DC’s own hyper-local story has not been reflected in the city’s EDM rise. However, with the entry of Jon Kwest and his “digi go-go” sound, the world gets to meet “the pocket,” and your body will appreciate the introduction.
Kwest’s three-track Digi Go-Go EP is the result of Kwest attempting to take his sound in yet another different direction. Known for making everything from Baltimore club, juke, and more, moombahton is where Kwest found his most significant global renown. However, as with most things moombahton, it hit a brick wall and is evolving. Moombahton’s influences are numerous, and many are foreign to American (as well as global) ears. The dembow riddim, Dutch house kicks, and the sound’s ability to expansively sample anything and make it fit into its sway would on the surface seem amazing, but in execution involves too many words and too much time to explain. Also, on a hyper local level, its a sound that was embraced by DC and created by a DC native, but not intrinsically of DC itself. Go-go is “of DC,” in the sense that it has a longer and more intrinsic historical tie to the area, artists like Chuck Brown, Rare Essence, Little Benny and the Masters, and more rising to become well-respected global legends or, just as notable, being locally renowned underground kings.
All you need to know when listening to “digi go-go” is that it’s all about “the pocket.” The best drummers in the go-go sound are adept and finding a way to create a break enormous enough in which to keep all of the melodies, vocals, samples and general ridiculousness that go-go music tends to involve. Regarding the aspect of recreating go-go’s manic live energy on a “brand new” record, moombahton inventor (and early “digi go-go” cosigner) Nada says, “producing dope go-go that isn’t ‘live’ is not easy! I feel like Jon is doin it right.” Insofar as nailing the vibe, none other than Craze is saying exactly what local DC partiers have been saying of late – “this that future shit!“
Kwest’s tracks – Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers’ “Run Joe”-sampling “Big Score,” Rare Essence’s “Go Go Mickey”-sampling “Tie Dye Mickey” and DJ Kool’s “20 Minute Workout”-sampling “Hold Up” – take the wild, funk-driven go-go experience, and with the aid of some big room atmospherics, deliver it for the 21st century. “The pocket” is still there, and if your uncertainly about moombahton’s magic is keeping you from giving the Nation’s Capital a chance – digi go go simplifies the percussive aspect of native-to-DC EDM sounds even further, succeeding at dropping booties to the floor so far.