Available on: Planet Mu 12″
Ever feel a bit numbed by Web 2.0? Musically I mean – I’m not talking about pornography or anything. You can spend all day listening to pretty much whatever you like; being exposed to esoteric styles and subgenres from all over the world you probably never knew existed. Kuduro, gamelan, hauntological, hypnagogic – it even expands your vocabulary. I feel glutted.
In no way would I argue this is a bad thing, it makes albums like Flylo’s sprawling Cosmogramma possible. It makes comprehending such transmissions possible. It just makes you kind of jaded. When was the last time you heard something and genuinely thought, “What the fuck is that?”
Planet Mu, rarely ones to shy away from more extreme electronic music, have been pretty quick off the mark to sign and distribute the rising stars of Chicago’s footwork scene in the UK, here releasing six of scene legend DJ Rashad’s productions. A sort of bastard offspring of hip-hop, house and booty, footwork is sample-based electronica at its rawest. Taking advantage of the hypnotic potential of short, frequently repeated samples and fizzing 808 percussion, these tracks skip between a reasonably sedate half-step and a kick drum pummel familiar to fans of Slayer.
There’s not much to choose between the individual tracks – these are primarily DJ tools; short, dense stabs of rhythm and texture built solely for the dance – but the throbbing bass of ‘Teknitian’, the thundering tuned toms of ‘Who Da Coldest’ and ‘Itz Not Rite’s’ vocal sample are especially thrilling.
Considerably darker and less wilfully bone-headed than ghettohouse or booty this music is elemental and exhilarating in its simplicity. If Black Flag had made club music this is how it would sound. In some ways footwork is so distinctive it’s hard to see where producers can take it before it becomes something else entirely although that’s hardly a problem – it’ll probably just mean learning a new word.