Music Review: J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science – El Ritmo/No Freedom single (2012, Om Records)

Another fiery release in the global bass region: multicultural, rhythmic and utterly danceable with prolific musicianship and mixing skills

Genre: Nu Funk / Afrobeat / Cumbia / Tropical / Global Bass

Region: San Francisco, USA

Artists Website:

Label: Om Records

J Boogie is a well-repected DJ and producer already more than 20 years involved in music. He has received awards for his DJ activity and radio shows, he has performed in countless festivals (e.g. Burning Man, Sundance Film Festival) and he has created music for various TV spots.

More importantly, a decade ago J Boogie formed his ‘Dubtronic Science’ band, which became one of the earliest attempts to combine DJ mixing with a live band. His Dubtronic experiment is already 4 albums strong and ‘El Ritmo’ is J Boogie’s new and last single straight out of the band’s latest album ‘Undercover’, which came out last October.

It is maybe impossible to listen to Dubtronic’s sound and stay still; their music is a full-on meltdown with all elements in place mad romping. ‘El Ritmo’ comes with a thick and trembling funky bass, tasteful vintage electro sounds, loud and clear towering horn riffing, bilingual rapping courtesy of MC Deuce Eclipse and the mighty cumbia rhythm delivered by the latin crossover act Bang Data. The galloping horns bring also a Balkan flare.

DJ Sabo’s remix completes the song, dropping a speedier version of the song with a dancehall/reggaeton club-oriented rhythm. The horns are masterfully mixed and there are also lots of bleeps making the remix rather playful and pleasant.

Characteristic of J Boogie’s versatility, ‘No Freedom’ is a very different number with the funky vibes as the common denominator. No Freedom is an afrocentric tune in the Kuti family tradition albeit in a more modern outfit. With an explicitly fast rhythm and a comprehensive groove laid down by Afrolicious as well as the loud political rant of MC Zulu No Freedom can be only described as afrobeat massive. There is even space for blazing djembes and some more horn section verses.

J Boogie by Robyn Twomey

Kush Arora is known for his heavy beats of bhangra-infused d’n’b/dubstep/breakcore and his remix of No Freedom is not an exception: it is bassy with a hard kick. With clever breaks and a crashing bassline he managed not to suppress the distinctive elements of the song (horns, voice etc.) but rather complement them without missing a note.

Altogether this single packed 22 minutes of enjoyment, putting together two of the most impressive tunes out of J Boogie’s latest album accompanied with their respective remix versions. Whether a DJ or a music enthusiast, this tunes will merit your time.   It is music both for the dancefloor and the streets (the villas miseria).

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