KABLAM, aka Kajsa Blom, is the opposite of a vinyl purist. Instead, she chooses to manipulate digital tracks with all of the advanced possibilities CDJs offer, which allows her to maniacally mashes up genres like Jersey club and kuduro with gabber, using stylistic left turns to get people onto the floor and stay there. Here she takes us through five tracks of a recent set—how they fit together (or don’t) and what kind of larger arc they provide.
PLACE: SLAKTHUSET, STOCKHOLM / TIME: 2:30 A.M. / PEAK TIME
1. Jhené Aiko – “Comfort Inn” (DJ Rell Remix)
A lot of Jhené Aiko remixes have come out since the release of her amazing debut EP, Sail Out, in 2013. This is hands down the best one. It’s one of those really fast Jersey club tracks with a BPM around 140. The booming bass and cut-up vocals that came out of early Baltimore club tracks from the 80s are jacked and hyped up in these modern New Jersey counterparts. It has a high intensity that comes and goes, which is why I find it fits both peak time and warm-up sets—not that I really adjust to what time it is. I think I adapt more to the space than to the time. At Chesters, where we used to have the Janus parties, I tried anything I liked at any time, and that is really a main element of DJing for me: trial and error. And not being afraid of error.
Let the previous track play out because this intro needs to be heard from the beginning, undistracted. That insane booming bass creates a weird balance with Aiko’s silky voice.
2. Rotterdam Termination Source – “POING!”
This is a gabber track. I love gabber because it’s so merciless. It’s a style that came out of the Netherlands, full of distorted kick drums and manic energy. It’s much faster than any other tracks I play, which means I have to pitch it down to around 140 BPM. I like mixing these two together; when contrasted with the DJ Rell track, “POING!” has a much higher intensity. The minimalism and super heavy bass sit oddly with the harmony of Jhené Aiko’s voice, but to me it makes perfect sense. It’s not about smoothness when I mix, it’s more about finding something in one track that is absent in the other and making them work together. The bouncing ball sound also makes it kind of comical, and I like a bit of humor in my set. I’m never ironic, but I can definitely be humorous.
Since the Marfox track up next starts with a hardcore-esque drum, it can get slammed in.
3. DJ Marfox – “Noise”
This is my favorite kuduro track at the moment. It’s so raw. Kuduro has its roots in Angolan carnival music, and there’s been some great interpretations coming out of Lisbon in recent times. During the first 10 seconds it almost sounds like a gabber or hardcore track. Mixing this out of the Rotterdam Termination Source track takes us from a rhythmically one-dimensional genre to a genre that is all about dynamic rhythms. Both make you want to move but
in very different ways. I think mixing these together creates a flow. And by flow, I mean that there can be flow in the anti-flow, continuity in discontinuity. There are ways of playing three tracks from three very different genres one after another and making it work. It’s easy to have flow if you play shit that all sounds the same.
I’ve found that bubbling tracks like the next one <3 kuduro no matter which way you combine them.
4. DJ NDN – “Jumpstyle Meets Bubbling”
TCF (aka Lars Holdhus) played this amazing bubbling set once at a Janus party at Chesters. It was before I was a part of Janus, and I was blown away by it. I’d never heard of this genre before. It was created by Caribbean immigrants in the Netherlands who played dancehall at higher speeds. Lars shared a .zip of his bubbling set, and that’s where I found this track. I don’t know who DJ NDN is or if he even exists, but regardless, it’s insane. It has a hard-hitting jumpstyle energy but with a bubbling rhythm on top. It fits the DJ Marfox track because of the similar rhythms.
The head-scratching during my set peaks during this track, until they hear this:
5. Total Freedom / Rihanna – “HUNTER’S TALE OR RIHANNA STALKING RIHANNA WITH A JOEY JORDISON (TM) TORCH”
All faces melt.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2014/2015 edition of Electronic Beats Magazine. To read more from this issue, click here.