Amid a generation of producers scrambling to pioneer the next post-bass electronic music style, Dutch producer Wiwek took it upon himself to formulate a contender. He calls it “jungle terror,” and as trap goes the way of dubstep, he seemingly intends for his The Free And Rebellious EP to serve as a blueprint for artists looking to emulate something to take its place.
So what is jungle terror, exactly? It’s the galloping drum beat of Jamaican dancehall coupled with dissonant production elements and grimy verses from a geographically diverse pool of emcees and vocalists. Basically, it’s sped-up, pissed-off moombahton.
Despite Wiwek’s best efforts to forge a legacy as an innovator, however, The Free And Rebellious EP unfortunately presents jungle terror as a one-dimensional sound that only really works in small doses. Electronic music has already thoroughly fragmented into overly specific genres that could each have sufficed at one track or album, and yet another that can be summed up as simply as tempo A + drum pattern B + synth plugin C will need more than some OWSLA backing to be the next big thing.
“Rebels” starts the EP off on a sinister note with a spooky synth lead rolling out the red carpet for rhymes by Audiobullys – which themselves are actually engaging for their subversive topic matter and swagger-filled delivery. Wiwek’s collaboration with Skrillex and Elliphant makes for the most lighthearted track on the effort despite being titled “Killa,” but after that it returns to progressions that might as well have been pulled from the dungeon levels of classic video games.
After “Pop It,” “Stop Me” and “Cavalry,” The Free And Rebellious EP draws to an anticlimactic close. Unless you’re particularly fond of Lil Debbie, Sirah or Big Freedia – whom contributed the top lines of each respective song – it’s hard to even think back on standout moments from one track to the next.
Alas, while anything is possible, it’s hard to imagine The Free And Rebellious EP establishing jungle terror as the genre du jour for a new generation of bass music fans. In electronic music, the artists who attempt to deliberately sway the masses with a conveniently packaged product are seldom the ones who succeed in doing so. Flume didn’t set out to invent future bass; he simply made music for the sake of music and a revolution followed.
With the support Wiwek has received from electronic music tastemakers, however, nobody’s suggesting that he won’t have opportunities to do that himself. Time will tell if he carries on his jungle terror experiment or creates something completely different in its wake.
Wiwek gave starting a new electronic music trend the old college try, but a genre based entirely on Aqua's "Barbie Girl" would almost be preferable to much more of what he calls "jungle terror." With any luck, his post-The Free And Rebellious EP releases will prove more poignant.