More than two tribes

More observation that's in line with the previous post today, and perhaps with this.

The label "tribal", that's been used in electronic music for almost twenty years, is seeping back into daily usage in the blogosphere. Rather than refer to vaguely afro-exotic percussive house or (at the extreme end) dark, meth-fueled "pots and pans", this is apparently the word de jour to use to describe the end of global ghettotech that's arrived from European electronic music. Examples include Douster being described as "tribal electro-house" here, double whammy "tribal and tropical" here, DJs adding "a tropical fruit basket of electronic flourishes that elevate the track into a genuine electro-tribal banger" here and, inevitably, Secousse described as a "tribal riot" here.

I seem to remember having had discussions about the appropriateness of the term a few times in long-lost commentary threads, but again it's not hard to see why someone would vaguely object. The association to exotica, ruralism, "world music", new age cluelessness is very strong.

Which is why it comes as a fun surprise to hear of the genre that's known in Mexico as "tribal", which Soundgoods has put up a mixtape of. Apparently, this hard, slightly cumbia-inflicted music has been paraded around under a series of different banners in the music blogs, but the local casette merchants only knew it as "tribal". And it totally is! It's full of the same kind of chanting-tribesman clichés as tikitech and tribal house. Urban kids with computers latching onto rurality and (fake) tradition, while deeply immersed in their modernity - at some level it has to be slightly culture-awesome.

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