The evolution of trap music has been an interesting one. When I was first introduced, I would have never been able to guess where it would lead several years later. Back then, the only trap songs that I knew used screeching, overt, shameless synth patterns with an intent to demolish any main stage they came across. There was a sense of humor to this kind of music, an awareness of its own lunacy that translated into an environment that differed from the ones you’d find at house or dubstep sets. Trap didn’t claim to be beautiful or as sonically complex as other genres. What made it pop was the unmatched feeling of grimy, sexy swagger that emanated into the crowd. The beat was slow, it hit hard, but the short melodies and distinct vocal samples along with the rolling hi hats put a satisfied frown on everyone’s face. When the drop came, the crowd erupted into ridiculous and incredible motion, turning to face one another as they brushed dirt off their shoulders, cranked their elbows, and got low. After seeing my first trap set at Hard Summer, I remember thinking just how badass it had been, and how different the experience was from other shows I’d seen. It felt somewhat like a guilty pleasure, though, as I realized its over-the-top and simplistic qualities might grow tiresome not too far down the line. Little did I know that this kind of festival trap was only the beginning of a movement that’s kept me listening to this day.
The kind of trap I hear now takes a much different approach. Making your track an absolute banger is no longer the main objective. Trap and beat artists, many of them emerging from the rising collectives, are beginning to draw heavy influence from other genres like hip hop, rap, R&B, jazz, and everything in between. There’s a noticeable element of soul and real musicianship that resides in these new tracks, while the innate swagger (thankfully) stays its course. Producers are infusing rhythms that are far more complex than the old hits, and have dialed the overall energy down in order to direct attention entirely back to the music instead of splitting it with the sheer party atmosphere that arises alongside. The shows I see now feel more like hip hop sets, with dangerously slow and sensual breaks between the bigger tracks. The experience as a whole feels more real, more personal, without sacrificing any of the “badassery” that drew us to trap in the first place.
Dabow, alias of well-known Argentine dubstep producer Wobad, expertly embodies this new wave of beat artists. His most recent release, a three song EP titled “Triple Shadow,” is a captivating, heavy, and beautiful contribution to the scene. It’s currently free to download if you’re subscribed to Mad Decent‘s early access “Drip” service, and will be available for all on SoundCloud on the 29th of this month. Lucky for us, he’s released a short preview of the EP on his account to tide us over until then.
The first track, previewed above from :00 to :30, is aptly called “1, 2, 3“. It begins with a short, melancholy ballad of plucks until a bold riser stings its way into the space. The drop features wonderfully relentless bell clicks and shivers, with a repeated vocal loop that gives the track its name. The ballad returns midway through with newfound energy, and ends much in the same way it began.
The next one, “Be Decent,” is previewed from :30 to :54. An honest hip hop drum pattern starts the song off, but quickly evolves into organized chaos as the abrupt kicks and snares are loosely held together by a pitch-bent sound that you certainly have never heard before. In place of a second drop comes a soft and smooth hip hop beat, complete with funky riffs and hushed organs.
“Triple Shadow” is the last track, featuring vocals from Kstylis, and runs from :54 until the end. The ominous cheers and rustles at the start instantly make you aware of the carnage that’s about to strike. After a few words by Kstylis, the song immediately breaks into elephantine horn stabs and a snare that throws you back onto the floor. The chords used during the respite have Dabow written all over them, and serve to nicely offset the energy of the breaks.
Save the date for its May 29th public release, or head over to Mad Decent’s Drip now to grab your copy if you’ve subscribed!