A NYer's Thoughts on the 3rd Annual Buma Rotterdam Beats Festival
Back in November I returned to the Netherlands for the 3rd installment of the three day music conference Buma R’dam Beats Festival. This year’s evening program saw a broader offering compared to 2011, featuring both under (Pro Era) and above (2chainz) ground hip-hop acts, along with some of the hottest DJs and beatmakers on the planet (HudMo, Machinedrum, Lunice, A-Trak). This is in addition to some of the most popular acts out of the Netherlands.
Despite getting a heavy dose of many of these artists at home in NYC, I still gravitated towards the North American acts. I had never seen 2chainz before, and thanks to what I witnessed at Club Corso that night, I never need to again. That music is for the car and the club, not so much to be seen live (IMO). All the turnt up fists and singalong from the Dutch in attendance did make me feel a bit uncomfortable. Unfortunately, Pro Era’s show, who we champion heavy here on Okayplayer, also left a lot to be desired. I chalked it up to them being young and still figuring out the whole live show thing (no shots and a heartfelt Rest in Peace, Capital Steez).
photos by Aico Lind
The highlights for me all came during the conference portion. Having owned an MPC (or two) in my life, it was a real treat to be able to listen to Roger Linn speak about technology, music and the future. He was also very candid about his beef with Akai and NuMark, even calling out employees by name. A somber reminder to you artists and innovators out there to retain a lawyer and protect your intellectual property so you don’t get screwed.
This year’s conference saw more of an emphasis on Jamaican music noting that:
“The music scene in Jamaica is the primal source of some of the most interesting musical developments in recent decades, culminating in the worldwide success of the DJ and remix culture, the immense success of hip-hop and vibrant British music genres such as dubstep, grime and UK Bass. At Buma Rotterdam Beats, we’ll be exploring and discussing this powerful musical family in all its aspects.”
I sat in a lecture with Cleveland ‘Clevie’ Browne, (of Steely & Clevie fame) who has worked with Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Shabba Ranks, Mr. Vegas and more, and who has played a crucial part in the transition from analog to digital riddims in Jamaica. Clevie played session recordings off a computer and isolated various stems while giving behind-the-scenes stories from recordings and getting technical with regards to various swing settings and methods. He told a story about influencing Teddy Riley to make “No Diggity” after the two were working in adjacent studios and Teddy popped into where Clevie was working to hear what all the ruckus was about. It all makes sense now.
The Buma Rotterdam Beats Festival is on the rise in the European conference circuit, especially for hip-hop, DJs, and beat makers. Be on the look out for the 4th edition coming mid November, 2013.