A Bmore Chronicle
Heads involved in the Baltimore club music scene respond to charges it’s dead.
They launched this Kickstarter last month, which didn’t succeed in its goal – that probably says something in and of itself but who knows the local politics involved. So, that video while appearing exciting proved a bit of a dead end. But it does look like there’s a real attempt to chronicle the scene at a grassroots level. Firstly, there’s a guy called Al Shipley piecing together a book about the whole thang. He says:
“Until just a few years ago, Baltimore club music was almost completely off the radar of the music industry and the mainstream press, winning fans up and down the east coast and gradually across the globe before gaining notice in publications like Spin Magazine and the New York Times. But after years of virtually undocumented existence, in local clubs and on white label 12”s, the bigger picture of Baltimore club’s rich history and social and musical context has remained largely an untold story, only hinted at by the media coverage to date.”
Himself and DJ Equalizer pop up in this podcast here, discussing the effects of Serato, segregation and the origins of the term “baltimore club.”
These might make up for the previous going no where video.
This documentary project looks really promising.
Through the voices of a community overshawdowed by hate, drugs, and violence music and dance have become symbols of hope and a way “out of the streets.” Due to the lack of recreation, safe places, and resources for Baltimore city artists to explore their creativity, vacant parking lots, basketball courts, closets, and bedrooms have become the breeding grounds for rising talent. For Murder Mark , a young aspiring producer, Baltimore club music is a reflection of the state of mind of the city “Rough, Dirty, Hard-Hitting…The Struggle.”
It does look a little like the internet has moved beyond bmore, one of those sounds that served as a curiosity influence, incorporated and then fixations moved off to other niches. When it first bubbled up to global attention, back in the middle of the noughties, one of those that bridged its cross over was Diplo. He told Stylus:
“When I’m DJing the Baltimore Club stuff is just the best. People love the breakbeats, it’s like house music and the breakbeats come in and it’s hot. When we come up with remixes of the hip-hop shit, like an 8ball and MJG Baltimore Club version, if they’re familiar with the lyrics, or like a “Tipsy” Baltimore remix, or just mad Missy remixes, people will kind of get into it. The “Tear Up the Club” kind of Baltimore Club songs just drive people crazy. The raunchy shit too, that’s the best part as far as DJ-wise—that gets the best response. Whenever we go somewhere I can really show that off because nobody else has those records or those CDs, so I feel good I can push that. I’m the only DJ doing that for like white kids and downtown kids and scene kids…”
He’s been the target of some scathing criticism, for dipping into such scenes and moving on quickly. As one writer puts it here:
“Often considered a modern-day, musical Columbus, though his reputation for “discovering” new musical worlds would be one that would soon bite him where the sun doesn’t shine, Diplo made a name for himself by appropriating a variety of music and presenting it all with chameleon-like efficiency.”
Nice to see some people rejogging the old memory of just how damn exciting bmore sounds.