Chrissy Murderbot - Women's Studies
Reviewed by Andrew Ryce Source: (Resident advisor)
Sick of footwork yet? It's not fair to dismiss an entire scene based around the endless gimmickry and outside appropriation it has inspired, but either way, reservations about the pseudo-genre shouldn't get in the way of Chrissy Murderbot's fantastic debut album for Planet Mu. No, Murderbot isn't a footwork producer—this is the man who was making ragga jungle only a few years ago, mind—and Women's Studies isn't quite a footwork album. It's an all-purpose party album, the kind of I-can-do-everything affair you might expect from the man who made a mixtape every week for an entire year, celebrating a different genre each time.
Footwork isn't the only thing going on here, but let's talk about it first. The album kicks off with "Break U Off," which turns footwork's tom-tom napalm into agreeable flickering as disembodied heads gasp and pant around it, sexualizing the near psychedelic effects of footwork's usual slurred repetition. It's easy to hurl accusations of dilution of a primal, visceral sound at this kind of prim-and-proper internalization of scene-local tropes, but when the results are this pleasing who cares? The album dives into the coked-up bassline whomp of "New Juke Swing" right after anyway. You can hear Murderbot's junglist urges rearing their head in the razor-sharp breaks that hide in the cracks of "Swing," and they emerge elsewhere, providing some refreshingly loose elbow grease to irrepressible album highlight "The Vibe Is So Right" and underlining the piano jangle of "Pelvic Floor."
Murderbot provides enough hackneyed and overused sample choices ("Bump Uglies," "U Got Me Burnin' Up," "Under Dress") to make any party alternate between confused looks and smiley bliss. Rarely is this kind of music so lowest-common-denominator appealing and blisteringly experimental at once. And that's really what Women's Studies is about: it takes a music almost rudimentarily fast and obnoxious, classes up the production values and then brings it right back down and dirty again with songs called "Heavy Butt" and lyrics like "hey girl, when you gonna let a pimp break you off?"
Sometimes the album's vigorous spirit gets sidetracked, with the second half dogged by the awkward midrange creak of Mungo's Hi Fi on "Nice Lookin' Bwoy" and the out-of-place "Sweet Thang," but for the rest of its duration it flies by pleasantly and quickly. It's the highest compliment that you can pay to Women's Studies. It's an album that melts together a number of rather extreme and often unfamiliar dance musics into a wonderfully populist and exuberant whole with very few missteps or valleys. As Coool Dundee intimates on the closer, just be cool, sit back and watch as he breaks the rules.
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