Best Compilations of 2016

By 06 January, 2017

2016 may well be over but we’re not ready to forget about it just yet. There were many great releases out last year and January is a great time to catch up on them, especially some of the compilations which introduced us to so many new artists last year. These are just a few of the finest compilations of Latin American music to find their way to us in 2016.

Calentura: Global Bassment

This compilation was the most loved by our writers. Calentura: Global Bassment sees some of the biggest names in tropical bass take on the classic salsa sounds of Fania Records with some incredible club-ready results. Among the highlights are Tropkillaz’s bass-pounding take on Willie Colon & Hector Lavoe’s “Barrunto”, the skittling double-time percussion of Dengue Dengue Dengue!’s Justo Betancourt cover and the pure sabor of Uproot Andy’s version of another Willie Colon & Hector Lavoe classic, “Eso Se Baile Asi”. With additional contributions by Major Lazer’s Zillionaire, Captain Planet and Happy Colors, and versions of tracks originally recorded by Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco and Lebron Brothers, it’s easy to see why so many got excited about this one.

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Real Rio

This one snuck out during the Olympics and probably didn’t get the attention it deserves. Which is a shame as it’s got some great tracks, featuring some of the most interesting underground musicians working in Rio de Janeiro at the moment. Opener “Lingua Loka” was made by Ava Rocha for 2016’s carnival and is one of our favourite tracks yet from one of the most exciting artists in Brazil right now. It’s followed by the no-wave aggro-pop of her partner Negro Leo, before we then get “Maria Da Vila Matilde”, the tale of domestic violence at the heart of Elza Soares’ recent return to form The Woman At The End of the World. For those three tracks alone this is an album worth getting. Considering there’s another 27 tracks on the compilation, there’s plenty to be explored here, and a chance to really get to know the Rio de Janeiro music scene.

Basy Tropikalne #1 (Latin America)

The Poland-based Basy Tropikalne radio show began in 2015 and has since turned into one of the go-to sources for new electronic and bass music from Africa and Latin America. To celebrate their 1st anniversary they released a compilation of mostly-unreleased music from Latin America which shows just how on the pulse their show is. Featuring producers from Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, as well as even a couple of Latin-influenced tracks from Poland and Switzerland, this is a great selection of forward-thinking Latin American music, featuring artists like Lascivio Bohemia, SidiRum, Jin Yerei and Lagartijeando, all proponents of what’s great about the current electronic music scene in South America.

Discos Pegaos Cinco

We have long been champions of Chilean label Discos Pegaos, a bastion of underground electronica in Santiago. The best thing about Discos Pegaos has been the fact that their artists are never confined to just one genre, operating somewhere between the mediums of IDM, hip-hop, r&b and global bass. We spoke to label head DJ Dementira just after the release of this compilation, which acts as a fine primer for all the goods the label has released over the years, with contributions from Alpha S, Valesuchi, AyeAye and DeMentira himself.

Voodoohop: Entropia Coletiva I

The award for most-beguiling compilation of the year goes to this one from the Brazilian collective voodoohop. It’s an album that ties together threads of the Brazilian avant-garde yet does so with some of the most seductive grooves around. It’s a hypnotic release that will surely appeal to fans of Dengue Dengue Dengue! and the other psych cumbia acts out there. Starting off with a dark roots raga courtesy of Urubu and J. Abramovay, we head through the desolate trippy landscapes of Ninze and Projeto Mujique, the ethno-step rhythms of Carrot Green, the characterful (as always) jumpy beats of Psilosamples before towards the end we find A Macaca & Peter Power’s glorious stoner folk “Alma da Terra”, which for me is the #1 track of 2016.

¡VAMOS! Sonidos Vol.1 “Hybrid Dimensions”

Continuing the theme of interesting electronic music is this gem compiled by Uruguayan producer Selectorchico™, who put this one together for the ¡VAMOS! Festival which happens every year in Newcastle, in the north of the UK. Mixing dub and electronic flavours, this was a great introduction to Uruguayan artists like Atlántico Negro, OJO and Franco Digregorius, as well as other choice producers from Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Argentina and Brazil. Once more, the health of Latin America’s electronic music scene was on full show.

Kafundó Vol. 4; Carimbó, Baião and Beyond

We finish off with the latest compilation from Kafundó Records, a label dedicated to releasing the finest underground bass sounds of Brazil. On their fourth instalment they explore sounds from the north and north-east of Brazil with the fast-paced Caribbean-esque rhythms of carimbó, baião, lambada, merengue and forró featuring heavily. As always, this is confrontational, bass-heavy and addictive music from the Kafundó crew.

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