- Of all the sounds and subgenres to grow out of American dance music in the past decade, moombahton is one of the most unusual. A hybrid of Dutch house and reggaeton, its undulating whine was inescapable for a while, pioneered by Dave Nada and favoured by big-name DJs like Skrillex and Diplo. As Nadastrom, Nada and Matt Nordstrom became de facto poster boys for the sound, but the label doesn't completely fit. Their earliest records are more informed by house and electro, and at Decibel last year they played a set of refined, melodic house, which is just what they deliver on this surprising debut album.
The duo apparently see Nadastrom as more of an evolution than a reinvention. "Moombahton itself was an experimentation, so moombahton is alive in this album because we're experimenting," Nada recently said. "Falling Down" has lumbering kick drums that are more like anchors than anything propulsive, recalling the slow sway of moombahton (as does moody highlight "Hide The Advisement"). Nadastrom doesn't feel like a straight dance floor record, but rather one that absorbs tropes from dance genres, something that suits Friends Of Friends, their new home. Nadastrom is most easily comparable to Tomas Barfod's Salton Sea, an underrated record that approached dance music with a similarly kaleidoscopic palette and an ear for great hooks. They go straight-up pop with Nina K on "House Shoes," fortified by roiling drum & bass low-end, and then veer towards psychedelic free-association on "Phantom Eyes," which features a typically scorching vocal from RYAT.
Nadastrom have a keen sense of musicality that goes beyond the mindless blare of moombahton, which makes their driving dance floor moments feel a bit reserved. "Somebody" has a vocal sample that borders on screamo but unfurls in gorgeous slow motion, while their requisite 303 track, "Kids," finds a middle-ground between clichéd revival and sad acid sounds.
Nadastrom's approachability is both a strength and a weakness. It's civilized enough to move on from moombahton, but at times its crossover aspects seem too calculated. That feeling is exacerbated by "Medium Redeye," a slice of sunny-day Dilla that bursts with colour in a way that makes the rest of the album sound straight-laced. Nadastrom is a solid step in a different direction, and immaculately produced by two talented musicians. But considering Dave Nada is an artist credited for creating a whole new genre, it feels a little safe. So far, Nadastrom's transition is toward cozy familiarity rather than something truly new.
02. Fallen Down
03. Go Back
04. House Shoes feat. Nina K
05. Hide The Advisement
06. Headed Home
08. Phantom Eyes ft. RYAT
10. In The Air Pt I feat. Jesse Boykins III
11. Medium Redeye