The new leaders of Brazilian electronic music are taking over dance floors everywhere — and reshaping national identity — with the help of baile funk in Brazil. Written by Felipe Maia. Edited by Siber. Featuring original music from VHOOR, LARINHX, EVEHIVE, & Cesrv. Collection curated by Xhjyl.
For decades, many Brazilians have proudly embodied "the country of samba and football." No longer. 20 years have past since the Seleção last won the World Cup. And while samba still reflects and affects a quintessential dimension of the national soul, from old-timer bossa nova songs to enormous carnival parades, there's another local sound now gobbling up ear space: baile funk. Rio's 80s melding of club music and hip-hop has leapt from favela-shaking 10-feet-high sound systems to CDJs in faraway places. Even as chart toppers now carry the mutating genre across continents, it always returns home for border-bashing upgrades.
Today, baile funk is the main thread connecting an ascendent generation of music-makers in Brazil and several countries around the world, from France's Koba LaD to the soulful joints of Seattle's Sango. It takes myriad forms, but typically brings percussive beats, mutilated sounds and distinct MC vocals — which clock in at every register imaginable — to the musical table. Beyond the sonics, baile funk reflects and supplies a generational aesthetic and discursive toolbox for rising talents to continually reinterpret. From Rio's favela parties to São Paulo’s underground clubs, the baile funk rhythmic cell is fueling artists from different backgrounds to invent new soundtracks for their day-to-day. This isn’t trap type beats meets tropical vibes. Producers like CESRV, VHOOR, LARINHX and EVEHIVE are defining a new type of electronic music, CluBR (pronounced club-bee-erhe, or cluh-bee-ay).
The artists who deserve more in web2 are winning in web3.
Since opening up artist submissions at Catalog, our core team has listened to thousands of music makers from all over the world. We made it policy to ignore vanity metrics and focus on what we heard when we pressed play. Now, over a year later, we continue to see no correlation between an artist's monthly listeners, social following, and their success on Catalog. What’s powering this trend?
We value curation as a tool all of us can use to guide each other’s ears to the good stuff: music that offers a unique perspective, pushes sonic boundaries, does something familiar incredibly well, or has a meaningful cultural impact. We also recognize how important it is to share more about how we think about curation at Catalog.
This post was originally published when Catalog launched on March 9, 2021.
We’ve moved it to Mirror to live with our other entries.
Come to Catalog to press, trade and listen to one-of-one digital records — artist certified, provably authentic works. Artists instantly receive 100% of sales, plus a self-selected share of every resale, without relinquishing their copyrights. Fans can trust what they’re buying is genuine because we verify every artist. Catalog records remain available and intact on the blockchain, even if our platform goes away.
Catalog launched just over five months ago. Since then over 100 independent artists have earned almost $215K selling records... and we're just getting started. We're checking in with an update on where we've been and what's next.
107 independent artists have joined Catalog and pressed one-of-one digital records, releasing and earning from their music completely independent of distributors and DSPs. Artists on Catalog have collectively earned 100% of the $213,234 (ETH & DAI) spent on their music so far.
Beyond simple record sales, Catalog has helped some of web3's strongest creators build their own ecosystems. Whether it's SONGCAMP exploding the edges of web3 x music, Leaving Records experimenting with new models for independent labels, or Devonwho pressing and selling five separate records at an average price of $1,400, Catalog is proving to be a valuable minting and curation layer for music on Ethereum. We're eager to continue supporting artists, DAOs, labels, and collectives as they use Catalog to explore this space.
Hosted auctions are live on Catalog, allowing labels, DAOs, artists, and fans to champion musicians they love and share in the upside through on-chain revenue splits. Although we expect most hosted auctions to be pre-coordinated in the early days, any artist or record owner can send a host request to any Catalog account or Ethereum wallet address. We're using Zora's open and permissionless Auction House, which means hosted auctions on Catalog may also exist outside our platform, such as a label website or DAO NFT gallery. We hope this tool helps establish a better pathway between talented artists and curators with the platform and passion to spotlight them.
Last month, a group of artists met for the first time on a chaotic but joyful Catalog orientation call. They had the option of dropping their debut Catalog records in tandem or whenever they wanted. The group overwhelmingly voted to move forward together. Enter the inaugural Catalog Community Week, just the latest foghorn-blaring signal that there’s a new golden era brewing in the ether.
This time around, that signal carried the transmissions of megiapa, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Starkey, Adder, Bozo Nightmare, GREGNWMN, 30exp, Death Hags, Gavin Gamboa, 0x-Jitzu, Christopher Stracey, trey willis, Xcelencia, Lafayette Stokely, and Vitalii Dominichenko. In other words, lots of globetrotting, jaw-dropping, playlist-puzzling sounds, from soloist piano pieces that reinforce links to ancestral homelands to fuzzy 808s underpinning ingenious punchlines (“I’mma jump from the rooftop, land right on top of the forecast”), all shared between June 21 and June 27, 2021.
Just days before the Catalog Community Week kicked off, we were voted through Mirror's pearly gates. We decided to hold off on publishing until now, using our first post to unify the special songs that came out and spotlight the people behind them, in their own words. It features lots of context direct from the source(s), an easy means of supporting everyone involved via direct patronage, and a bit of backstory. Let’s start with how we got here then get to the good stuff (the play button).