You’re walking on a busy sidewalk surrounded by massive skyscrapers, while a storm of industrial sounds and exchanged conversations barrage your ears as indiscernible swarms. You see someone wave to you from a window. You wave back. She shouts “hello!” but the sound is only expelled from her lips as a glowing orb. You blink. You now stand in front of a towering piece of machinery. Orbs begin floating into the machine, and it is brought to life . . .
Footwork is a recently conceived genre, birthed in the 1980s Chicago underground and pioneered by producer R.P. Boo as an evolution of the “juke” style. The rhythmically dense sound was initially spawned to compliment the chaotic, rapid-fire feet movement of footwork dancers, but a select few progressives are infusing it with new artistry. Sold Out is the newest release from anonymous artist and Teklife crew member DJ Paypal.
Innovators such as Machinedrum and the late DJ Rashad made huge strides in bringing the genre to wider audiences with startlingly coherent albums, but never before has footwork sounded so progressive and fleshed out. Paypal slices and contorts a myriad of jazz, soul, hip-hop, African, and Latin samples into lengthy, intricate compositions that show off the producer’s creativity, drum-programming skills, and playful tendencies.
As with most Teklife releases, this is a family affair. Global crew members DJ Earl, DJ Taye, Feloneezy, and Jackie Dagger jump aboard to contribute stellar collaborations, but the biggest leap in genre mutation arrives on “Say Goodbye,” an ethereal slow-burner featuring Keiska and Tielsie that embodies the beautiful future of the communal style. If you’re seeking progressive, globally influenced footwork, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)