Bangs & Works vol.1 Review
Reviewed by Unknown Source: (indiebandwagon)
With the closest brush with mainstream only being Chicago duo Dude N Nem’s single ‘Watch My Feet’ hitting the charts and Missy Elliot featuring the Full Effect troupe in her ‘Lose Control’ video and bringing footworkers onstage during the 2005 BET Awards, footwork (or interchangeable with its ‘predecessor’ juke) has largely been a danceform that has been confined to the borders of Chicago. A cat that is slowly being let out of the bag, footwork, performed with the music that has the same name and has its roots in ghetto house (a kinky rapidfire offshoot of Chicago house), involves complex, multi-structured and vigorous feet movements that can put most x-outing (drum and bass dance) performers to shame and could be best described as river dance when the dancer is struck by a lightning bolt. Keeping the kids away from the streets and gun violence and involving them with some healthy activity at the dance venues, that can be anywhere from gymnasiums to empty warehouses, footwork always attracts buzzing crowds that love its flaky, improvisational and spontaneous nature - the atmosphere becomes electrifying with groups battling it out turn by turn and enthralling the audience with their moves. Unlike the LA bred Krumping, to match the intensity of the moves, the music is fast paced here, around 160 bpm and is very involved and a composite of various influences. The music earlier being untapped and limited to youtube and local labels has crept out of hiding and its apparitions can now be sighted in places like UK (in acts like Ramadanman, Girl Unit and Addison Groove aka Headhunter) and France (Leatherface and Coma to name a few acts). Now with UK label Planet Mu signing scene attention harbingers Dj Rashad, Dj Nate and Dj Roc, juke/footwork is showing signs that it may blow up into an irresistible phenomenon.
In the wake of the releases by Dj Rashad (Itz Not Rite EP), Dj Nate (Da Trak Genious) and DJ Roc (Crack Capone) comes this commoving and jumpy compilation from the Planet Mu label – Bangs & Works Vol.1. Featuring material from the progenitor of footwork RP Boo, label signees and others, this is the best footwork compilation out there right now that is worth every minute of your attention. Footwork is music that is sonic tempestuous machine gun warfare; an off-kilter mix of continuously looped chopped up vocals striking your ear like bullets and volleys of syncopated drum patterns and rolling sub-bass leading the counter-attack. While this pretty much defines the template of the tracks available here that also have similar tempos, the singular styles of each of these artists (in turn related to their influences that could be anywhere from hip-hop to dancehall) stands out and keeps the music from sounding quotidian after a point of time – there is a very calculated and flexible use of influences here at each point in time with respect to the tracks, without disturbing the zooming tempo.
Starting this high octane, ankle twisting and finding the needle in the haystack work up with a bang, Dj Elmoe in ‘Whea Yo Ghost At, Whea Yo Dead Man’, samples a cutesy pitch-shifted chipmunk female r&b vocal and a male rapper hurriedly blurting out the title in loops amongst blasting gunshots, freaky MPC workouts of twitching hi-hats and laidback handclaps and scattered wheeling sub-bass and continuously but tenderly pounding rolls. Dj Elmoe’s other track ‘Yo Shit Fucked Up’ is another orgy but is sparser in its percussion and stuttering samples as it cohorts with an ambient piano soundscape. The hotly tipped Dj Rashad contributes two sure-fire dance floor scorchers ‘Teknitian’ (referencing his crew) and the album highlight ‘Itz Not Rite’. The former sounding like some kind of a spacious outerspace paced out Kwaito House/tribal dance features angular drum rhythms, fluttering hi-hats, chipmunk vocals and squeaky whirling noises that interplay between hollow and fuller rhythms of build up while the later dexterously intermixes and mimics trippy glitch-hop laced with snipped syllables of a r&b vocalist eating up ‘It’s Not Right” and dubstep with great affect; the featured breaks and the sudden shift in the styles is the draw here, capturing the listener with surprise. Tha Pope continues in the same vein as Rashad in ‘Jungle Juke’ but offers an otherworldly mash-up of pitch-mangled vocal samples of Beyonce in ‘All The Things’ with an unparalleled unpredictability. Dj Roc’s ‘Fuc Dat’ brings in some tension with the snipped spitting verses and a pensive arpeggio rumbling along with a deeply buried sub-bass. His other tune ‘One Blood’ unfurls and surges unfettered in the juxtaposition and layering of vocals into a mind squishing whirlpool – as if on a bad acid trip. R.P. Boo’s ‘Total Darkness’ has the same loud and hazy effect as ‘One Blood’ and is anthemic in its munificent use of the vocals; ‘Eraser’ on the other hand is a stifled interlude of sorts; Boo mixes windy drones and broken samples (including Guns & Roses’ ‘Live And Let Die’). Dj Spinn’s 2020 submerges in phantasmagorical goodness in its use of flowering arpeggios while it’s fractured samba like rhythms propel the track drudgingly. Dj Killa E’s lone track ‘Star Wars’ samples the soundtrack of the movie and converts into a scathing and explosive proportion, the diabolical slaying providing enough twists and turns.
Adding some glow to this magnanimous collection is Dj Trouble’s careening dancehall potpourri ‘Bangs & Works’ whose ethereal and shimmering soundscape pleases the worked out mind and body. ‘Fuck Em Up Jus Basics’ is another tapping percussion filled tune but, made amiable in its application of childish vocals and sighing falsettos that ironically speak expletives. His third tune ‘Mosh Pit’ – an ear splitting hard rock riff sampling tune is a total noise slugfest. Dj Yung Tellem and DJ Lil Rome bring in some nightmarish tunes, footwork offsprings of the witch-house genre if you may. The sampled music from horror movies in ‘Freddy Vs Jason’ to create creepy and cavernous beats sends a chill through the spine. Traxman’s style matches that of Rashad’s and his tune ‘The Comeback’ stands as tall as the album highlight. His ‘Compute Funk’ is another delectable track. Dj Clent in ‘I Love You’ conjures a simple tune with swishy hi-hats and cymbals, gentle sub-bass rolls, bright handclaps bringing out the hip-hop swagger albeit with chipmunked treatment of the looped r&b sample that intermittently with the sighs sweetly utters “I love you, I love you”. Dj Diamond contributes two tracks ‘Ready Mother Fucka’ and ‘Freakazoid’. The former charging like an enraged accelerated dancehall bull, intimidates you with the expletive, garbled samples of whispering voices, scratched voices and gunshots and an indecipherable stampede of sub-bass and the later a chip of the earlier block, is punctured by a pulsating siren sample, an unintelligible vocal sample of a male rapper and freaky percussion. Dj Nate the last footwork hustler brings the house down with two crunk in fused tracks sounding listening to Joker’s tracks on the wrong bpm.
From the aforementioned description it is clear that Planet Mu does a great job of huddling the fresh and the older talent to create this heady 25 track compilation of unfiltered ghetto madness. It may sound weird and tawdry in the first listen, but, once you get into the groove and do some shaking and turning, you are bound to enjoy this. Shaking and turning because, footwork is not everybody’s cup of tea, but, this is great music to loosen up. Don’t be surprised the next time they play this music at your nearest club because this stuff is smoking hot.
- Eskmo - Let Them Sing
- Ikonika - Smuck
- Geiom & Shortstuff - No Hand Signals
- Starkey - OK Luv
- Raffertie - 7th Dimension
- Ceephax Acid Crew - United Acid Emirates
- Kuedo - Dream Sequence E.P.
- Starkey - Ephemeral Exhibits
- Neil Landstrumm - Lord For £39
- Distance - Repercussions
- Last Step - 1961
- Mrs Jynx - The Standoffish Cat
- Venetian Snares - My Downfall (Original Soundtrack)
- Meat Beat Manifesto - Autoimmune
- iTAL tEK - Cyclical
- Mary Anne Hobbs - Evangeline
- Venetian Snares - Miss Balaton
- Various Production & Virus Syndicate - Apollo/Neva Argue
- Sunken Foal - Fermented Condiments
- Sunken Foal - Fallen Arches
- Venetian Snares - Detrimentalist
- The Gasman - Superlife
- Eero Johannes - Eero Johannes
- Virus Syndicate - Sick Pay