Two worlds collide


The mixing and cross-pollination of genres is nothing new, responsible for the birth of many things we now consider established, though with the endless growth of the Internet lines have become blurred and it’s often hard to keep up. The democratisation of information and the infinite streams we can access at our fingertips while we lie in bed or stand on the metro mean that anything we hear could very well be influenced by anything else; whether that be something we are familiar with or which we may never come to know.

Whether because of the nature of where I’m from – with my people being a JK Rowling novel’s mud-bloods of the Mediterranean – or if the past years of my life and their constant cultural exchange have strongly marked my point of view; I can safely say that I believe the best things in life are the result of mixes.

A 2020 release that encapsulates my point of view is BRIME! by Febem, Fleezus and CESRV, which manages to flawlessly fuse together Brazilian flows with Grime and UK-influenced instrumentals. As absurd as this may have sounded to me (on paper) when first hearing about the release some two-and-a-bit years ago, the production is a 10/10 and really does what it says on the tin. A mere 42 seconds in to the 6-track release and you’re already hearing a sample which, if you close your eyes, could easily be coming from Skepta’s That’s Not Me. Moving through Grime-like batidas, UKG, Bassline and even more BBK-like beats – as well as the guest appearance of that forever-favourite Deixa os garotos brincar sample (well done) – BRIME! is a perfect example of how two worlds so unrelated, feijoada and fish and chips, can come together to produce something so good.

Fast-forward to October 2022, more specifically Nia Archive’s Boiler Room London jungle set. And what a set it was – I remember just how much I enjoyed it when hearing it on Youtube for the first time. A joy multiplied when reaching the last track of the set, her very own jungle flip of the marvellous track Bainá, made famous by Barbatuques for being a song whose rhythm and percussion was composed solely through the use of the human body. Nia Archive’s Baianá is a well produced jungle take on the already powerful track that manages to multiply its raw energy by taking it a step further into the 160 realm. I am very lucky to have heard the track live as the closer to her (fantastic) set at Mira festival’s 2022 edition in Barcelona – and without anyone cutting it short, as was sadly the case in London.

As fate would have it, with this topic very much on my mind, I was listening back to Bradley Zero’s Rhythm Section with Reo on NTS (London, 25.01.23) where she shouts-out a mate (@blvlto) from Brasil who’s “really getting with the UK underground scene”. As digital digging goes, one click leads to another and before you know it you’ve made your way from NTS to the Mixcloud channel of an Independent Brazilian station, Radio 086FM, hearing Brazilian Dante @excaldante MCing (in UK fashion) over garage and baseline instrumentals provided by Viana Prod all the way from the state of Piauí, Brasil.

I can’t provide an explanation as to how these two worlds so far apart came to meet somewhere in the middle – or somewhat independently on either side, rather – and my search so far raises more questions than answers, but it’s safe to say that something very interesting is happening in this cross-continental cultural coming together. With Brasil’s percussive-heavy Baile Funk only seeming to be speeding up, having made the transition from 130bpm to 150bpm and beyond, there’s only one way this can go: well.