How four-on-the-floor can R&B get?

Apparently all of Sweden's R&B bloggers are joining together in a couple of week's time, leaving Sweden without any current R&B blogs and the new blog without any competition. Since I've spent the last couple of weeks mostly listening to R&B (via the brilliant iM1) I thought I'd attempt providing both. At least for one post.

As you all probably know hip-hop has recently taken up a lot of influence from electronic dance music of various kinds to the point of sampling it directly. Well, R&B if anything permits itself to go even more trancey. There's plenty of effervesynths going around, and more and more beat and sound ideas from house, trance and techno are burrowing into the music. Hard to get more chillout room than this new Polow Da Don production, for instance:

Crishan - U

All well and good so far, because the harmonic and song-building qualities of R&B are still perfectly intact. (And it's a great track.) But what's considerably more shocking to me is just how much the beat has gone full-on four-on-the-floor. Sure, even in a song like the above those first beats are emphasised, but compare it to this:

Adonis - Senses

No, it's not the 80s house producer Adonis, but you'd be forgiven for thinking so. The first fifteen seconds has no percussion but four-on-the-floor kick drum, and then adds a hand clap as well until a slightly more rhythmically complex chorus a minute in, but nothing vaguely resembling syncopation. I realise the producer has done similar things before, but this is damn extreme, both in single-mindedness and volume.

This trend has got to have reached the end of the line soon, right? Pity. I kinda like it.

PS. Listen to it making its way into dancehall as well. How four-on-the-floor can dancehall get and still be dancehall?

Jah Cure and Wayne Marshall - So High


Dj Baccha said...

nice post, i wish i was as analytic about music like you. For me is just feelings, i have a hard time explaining in words was good about a tune.

Good question that last one, when does dancahall or soca stop being dancehall and soca. Some soca artist has realsed tunes that are more rnb or hiphop, but i think the tunes are still regarded as soca, just because who is the artist...

Birdseed said...

Yup. And that's probably the only criterion as to what something is. You'd never hear the term "trinidadian dancehall" even though some soca tracks go so far as to borrow riddims straight from the jamaicans.

Actually, Soca has been very adaptable to house influences for a lot longer than the other genres. (And vice versa, of course, look at the British "funky house" scene.) I mean, can you imagine this track with its thudding four-on-the-floor kick drum in any of the other genres in 2001?