Adam Wray is in Berlin. As S. Combs once said: you can hate him now.
It’s a wonderful time to be an avid footwork fan. As the 15-year plus genre matures and its popularity grows globally, its core artists are pushing the sound upwards and outwards while settling deeper into their own unique styles. DJ Rashad and the Teklife crew are pacing the vanguard, touring extensively while working with newcomers and the old guard alike. I Don’t Give a Fuck is Rashad’s second outing for Hyperdub, and it finds him sharp and lively.
Further exploring the spaced-out sound Rashad that debuted on 2011’s Itz Not Rite EP, he collaborations with stalwarts Spinn and Manny as well as Freshmoon, a duo based in San Antonio with Chicago roots. All of Rashad’s favorite tools are on display here – crisp snare clusters, deep 808 kicks, and snips of vocals so thoroughly twisted they only nominally recall human voices. He’s added to his arsenal, too. “Brighter Days” and “Everybody” feature Todd Edwards-style vocal cut-ups. Both lean heavily on the technique. It’s another way of doing something footwork’s always done well: repurposing vocals as percussion.
Rashad deploys breakbeats on “Everyday,” as well. For a footwork tune, it’s unorthodox, but not unwelcome. It takes the tune outside of footwork’s traditional palette and connects it to other styles of bass music. Both are solid cuts, but “Brighter Days” is the standout, girded by a steady bass pulse and snares that snares that clap like mousetraps snapping at the bottom of a well. The vocal is a diced up samples of Chicago legend Cajmere’s tune of the same name – perhaps little nod to the city’s past.
The most conventional tune here is “Way I Feel.” Built around a Mary J. Blige sample, it goes down smoothly, but loses its shape once the novelty of the sample wears off. Kode9 slipped it into the last leg of his recent RinseFM mix, and it really works best as a DJ tool – footwork’s serrated edges are easily blunted by a well-flipped, soulful vocal sample. That Kode9’s begun digging into footwork is excellent news. The Hyperdub don began dabbling with the genre in his DJ sets, upped the ante by releasing Rashad’s Rollin’ EP, and has now put out two 12″s of his own that find him exploring the style. The label’s commitment to sonic exploration bodes well – both of Rashad’s Hyperdub releases have found him taking his work into new territory. These slim four-trackers were the perfect venue to experiment. Expect his next full-length, also on Hyperdub, to be a major statement.