If footwork had a heartbeat, it would be a troubling arrhythmia. Refusing to rest at 70 beats per minute, it would gallop at a panic-inducing frequency, surging a stampede on your chest, threatening to burst out at any moment. Just as techno and house nestle their identities within the grid-like structure of a reliable kick drum, falling on every beat (or so), footwork bends and twists, manipulating any sense of regularity in placing its percussive core on a lurching axis. Innovators of the genre like DJ Rashad and his Teklife crew work a sonic identity into the stuttering hi-hats and compressed snares that bounce over their off-beat kick drums, but it is Jlin who continues to push the boundaries of footwork today.
Jerilynn Patton, aka Jlin, grew up in Gary, Indiana, 25 miles outside of footwork’s epicentre, Chicago. It is perhaps for this reason that Jlin’s interpretation of her genre sounds so unique; she was able to take an outsider’s view on the music, being within reach of the Chicago clubs and artists playing there, yet choosing instead to educate herself through YouTube videos of footwork dancers and bootleg recordings. Her debut LP, Dark Energy, released in 2015 on Planet Mu, was acclaimed for its intensity and latent emotionality, imbuing a music centred on the immediacy of the communal dance floor with the potential for solipsism and a complexity that could only be unravelled on multiple listens. Continuing in the same vein, Jlin releases her second album, Black Origami, this month.
Read the rest of the review in Clash Magazine.
[This piece was published on 17/05/17]