Subgenres of music are often as fractured and singular as they are meaningless in their application, dance music in particular seems to be inventing new sonic tribes as fast as it can release new tracks. But play Get Down Low by London’s RGRT and the term Tropical House seems wonderfully apt. House music has come a long way since its birth on the tough streets of Chicago and Detroit, since then evolving and fusing with other forms, forging new musical alliances and here we find it mellowing out, absorbing summer vibes and generally chilling out but never losing the confidence to groove and groove hard. In fact shut your eyes and you can almost hear the crashing of the waves on white, sandy shores and experience the taste of the next Cuba Libra dancing across the taste buds.
Tropical House has been described as “what EDM did next,” a response to the endless break downs and dance floors filled with bare-chested bros on a mission, a more accessible pop-house hybrid aimed possibly at the less testosterone driven thrill seekers, at those who want a more soulful experience and certainly something more in tune with the musical tastes of the fairer sex too. And Get Down Low ticks all of those boxes.
Obviously any creative, music or otherwise, doesn’t want to tie themselves down by conforming to such generic restraints and whilst Get Down Low is certainly full of smoother sounds which evoke the island life and good times that seem to have evolved out of chilled Balearic sounds, elsewhere RGRT shows that he is happy to explore other territory so maybe a wider umbrella label of Melodic House is all we need, if indeed we need to call it anything at all.
Falling is a vibrant, synth blast groove of a song, all rising dynamics and supple and subtle breakdowns and Phoenix pushes more into slick pop and futuristic R&B territory. Fine With Me tips its hat to the tropical vibes that often run through his work and the fact that is built from electronic takes on marimbas and tribal drums amongst its more urban grooves certainly sits it alongside Get Down Low. But it also seems to embrace some eastern exotica to become a real orient meets occident musical mash up.
It is easy to see why RGRT has been a fixture not only on the London scene for the last decade but also playing all the right festivals and even hosting top level celebrity events. These tracks show just how open to working across the board he is, from gene-splicing neighbouring genres to fusing together music which hardly has a place being in the same room. And it is this evolution of styles, which in turn becomes his own unique signature, which has kept him ahead of the game all this time. A wise man once said “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” and I feel that is probably on a plaque hanging up in RGRT’s studio.