Zouk Bass Is An Actual Thing Now…

Buraka Som Sistema's "Zouk Flute"

Yerp. Iswayski here once again. Today I want to talk about this new internet flare up, Zouk Bass. Apparently this is a thing now. Buraka Som Sistema went on Boiler Room – the best place online to watch people dance awkwardly to good music – and spawned the whole mania. They say it’s a slower, more electronic version of zouk they “created.” Really, it just kinda sounds like moombahton.

Of course we could just ignore the whole thing and let it blow over next month when the kids get distracted by Bollystep. But it raises a lot of meaty issues we like to talk about over here.

It’s definitely helpful to expose some more styles from Lusophone Africa beyond Kuduro, and Buraka are certainly in the right place to do just that. Creating a context for stuff like Tarraxo or Funana in the Western world to be discussed does a great service. Some artists have already benefited – like DJ Kuimba, who’s part of a noteworthy collective called Di Zona Crew (DZC DJs) from Portugal who make a lot of fun, hard-to-define music.

But the majority of people using this new tag hail from Soundclandia. There’s already lots of wikkid, local music on that dirty site that you can’t find searching “Zouk Bass.” (The prolific individual accounts of the DZC boys are actually a good place to start.)

Also, the claims of creation sound a bit shrill to my tired ears. Everyone is asking “What’s Next” all the time: What’s the next stop after this dubstep/trap/moombah continuum? And people are doing their best to be there to exploit whatever fool’s gold is freshly discovered. Mad Decent is even planning a new EP to expose the world to the explosive new genre, Molly Grit. smh…


What personally excites me is what’s NOT next. That maybe there is no next thing. Where we get to witness the further deterioration of the traditional genre altogether. Sure, there’ll always be breakout trends that catch on and make a lot of bread for a bunch of lucky fuckers. But the real news will be the ability to stay relevant without having to stick to some prescribed notion of genre.

And there lays another issue exposed. Since this is already so similar to moombahton, does it really require a new genre title? A style that myopic – where any deviation from a severely strict format requires a whole name – seems like a claustrophobic place to live and create.

I’ll probably avoid this wave, but do you. I don’t judge. See you next week, when we discus RnBass lol. I kid, I kid.


  1. just instrumental zouk innit, which itself always had bass. anyhow better than cheap moombahshit, which is just a dumb loud-mouthed bastard brat of various Afro and Afro-Caribbean rhythm traditions.

    saying “Zouk sounds like Moombahton” is like saying “Seven Samurai is Tarantino-esque”.

  2. word! quality review of ‘zouk bass’ iswayski! “new” genres always emerge as a mashup/fusion, dig into the history of so-called “traditional” genres and it’s always how it happens…though these days its just a bit dubious that a cool idea or a hit song suddenly is announced as a “new genre”, usually with commercial intent…it first has to stand the test of not just the cyber-dancefloor and proliferate beyond soundcloud…

  3. Hmmmmmmmm

    I understand where you are coming from when you say ” people are doing their best to be there to exploit whatever fool’s gold is freshly discovered.” However, if you look at it from another perspective, its about changing the scene for the better. This is why the Molly Grit EP is a free download along with a lot of Mad Decent stuff under the ‘Jeffrees’ sub label.

    To the majority its about progression and moving music forward, uncovering hidden sounds to bring it to the forefront of the public. NOT making money by searching for new sounds and making some form of fad just to get fame and money! Thats why people keep on exploring.

    Unfortunatley these days it seems like whatevers next & staying relevant go hand in hand. Do they not?

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