If producers from Avicii to JSTJR have taught EDM anything in the past twelve months, it’s that the future of electronic dance music actually is rather organic. From American folk guitars to West African djembes, the one thing that certainly wasn’t heard arguably at the pinnacle of either mainstream or underground dance in 2013 had anything to do with siren wails or the significant appearance of artificial melodies or basslines. It’s with this as a guiding notion that the 6 Years Deep compilation from New York City-based independent label Dutty Artz doesn’t so much feel like a deep, heavy and funky outlier, but rather a solid sound based in where dance (and music in general) are headed for certain in the future. If aware that the Earth is flat and that digital culture has once again connected Earth as a pangaea-like land mass, this is a fine gestation point at which to study past-present-future music.
Now working with his brand new Que Bajo label, New York-based DJ/producer Uproot Andy kicks off the compilation with “Worldwide Dembow,” a track that feels like what one of global dance’s most powerful riddims should feel like when it expands into the 21st century’s big room house feel. The compilation’s tracks are imbued with a sense of what has made the label successful, as well as where they see themselves potentially fitting into EDM looking to sample their diaspora of sounds. From the familiar dancehall vibes of Gyptian (remixed by Kush Arora) to the likely less known, politicized yet undeniably rap blended with funky North African/Middle Eastern sounds of Amr 7a7a, Alaa Fifty Cent, & Sadat El Alaamy’s “Against Harassment,” this compilation presents these sounds, vibes and styles with incredible attention to both authenticity and respect.
Alongside my own thoughts, the thoughts from DJ/producer and Dutty Artz affiliate Chief Boima deserve the space to inform and deeply resonate:
By referencing post-colonial authors in the roll out of our EP series over the past couple of months, Dutty Artz proclaims the side of history that we sit on, but this does not mean we are stuck in the past. We recognize the legacy that the great freedom fighters have left us, while at the same time we choose to push new ways of thinking about freedom and belonging in the world. Wherever we are located, digital music cultures have allowed many of us to participate in a more democratic global society. This is a society in which social boundaries defined by national borders, language, race, gender, and cultural difference are melting away, revealing a world where we are able to celebrate the diversity of human experience via Hip Hop style, punk attitude, computer hacking, bass frequencies, futuristic dreams, queered up identities, new economies, and DIY aesthetics. While we celebrate the ability for digital communication to facilitate new social possibilities, we by no means want these new possibilities to be contained to the digital realm. We want our revolution in real life too!
However hidden the social mission – of global belonging for historically marginalized peoples – may become in the contemporary world of the Internet, Dutty Artz aims to always recognize its central importance in the production and dissemination of creative products. Our ultimate aim is to make youmore aware of the dynamics at play! That is to say, we hope for this compilation will spark similar thinking thoughts in you. Let them serve as a dedication to six years past, and a preview of many more to come!