Ghost in the 404: January’s Best Dance Music

The dance music wrap returns (under a new name) with words on DJ Taye, Slimburn, and more.
By    February 8, 2018

Sam Ribakoff rides the 88 mags.


DJ Taye– “Get It Jukin’ (Feat. Chuck Inglish)”


Since the passing of DJ Rashad in 2014, Teklife, the collective of originally Chicago based footwork dancers, DJs, and producers, did a lot to sustain the momentum of the music and culture that Rashad was such a pivotal part of. Teklife continued to tour around the world, incorporating new members from eastern Europe and Japan, spreading the gospel of 160 PM bass far and wide. As older members of the group like DJ Spinn continued to put out solid tracks that chopped and sped up soul samples, younger members like DJ Manny and DJ Taye began putting out more and more experimental tracks, snatching odd time signature jazz loops, messing with ambient synth washes, and incorporating drum and bass breaks every now and then.

With “Trippin’” and “Get it Jukin’” featuring Chuck Inglish—two tracks off of DJ Taye’s upcoming album, Still Trippin’, coming out in March on Hyperdub—Taye continues to expand the possibilities of footwork music. Besides Chance the Rapper flirting with footwork style beats on two tracks on his first two mixtapes, and Teklife affiliate rapper Mic Terror’s seriously underrated mixtape Live at Your Mama’s House, there have been very few rappers willing or able to rap over footwork beats. On “Trippin’,” DJ Taye himself steps up to spit and does a decent job; but Chuck Inglish’s verse on “Get it Jukin’” is where the two styles meet on an equal level and really congeal.


Slimburn– “Basement”


Oakland based producer Slimburn used to tag a bunch of their tracks on Soundcloud and their longer EPs and albums on Bandcamp as “texture music,” a style that I think Slimburn themself can lay claim to where beats, ambient loops, and vocals are slowed down to an almost chopped and screwed like durge. The result amplifies every piece of digital distortion until the tracks begin to feel like ominous blocks of phantom waveforms. This recently released track though is tagged as “carioca,” Brazilian slang for Rio de Janeiro and people from the city. This alludes to the baile funk rhythm laid over a Slimburn trademarked texture remix of a Sybyr track.


LSDXOXOBody Mods


On Soundcloud, LSDXOXO’s mixtape (album?) Body Mods is labelled as “#RAGE,” but while the anger and intensity is definitely felt, especially with tracks like “CODENAME COTTONMOUTH” that repeats a sampled voice saying “I’ll collect your fucking head,” it’s all really fucking fun. “FALSE IDOLS” starts out with a breakneck sped up drum and bass beat, teasing the “reach out and touch faith” chorus of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” until LSDXOXO drops the chorus, then switches back and forth from a drum and bass break to a Dutch gabber fish pumper. Throughout the seven tracks on the collection, LSDXOXO runs through a number of underappreciated dance music styles, from playing with ballroom music’s “Ha Dance” break, to fast UK garage, ragga, drum and bass, and gabber—a strong jab at the omnipresence of techno and house in club music.


bastiengoatGRIS


bastiengoat made one of my favorite albums last year, Culp, a collection of really fun and straightforward footwork remixes of pop, hip hop, and soul tracks. On this new record, bastiengoat sticks to remixing pop, hip hop, and soul tracks with a greater mastery of the art of sampling, especially on the Stevie Wonder remix “I Don’t Wanna Bore,” where bastiengoat stretches and plays with the pre-chorus of Stevie’s “Knock Me Off My Feet” and is somehow able to fold that perfect pop song into footwork’s frantic rhythm. But “bathtub,” the closing track on the album, and one of bastiengoat’s originals, might be the best song on the record. It starts out with some simple bass-y synth chords, and builds a really light, almost pop-footwork track out of a chopped up synth melody, and it’s lovely.


Vision Songs Vol. 1


Kept separate from its more serious, less spiritual and hippy sister—ambient music—new age music for years was considered kitsch schlock made by weirdo hippies, until some hipster somewhere found a Laraaji tape somewhere and decided it was cool. Laraaji has been working for decades, making one off private tapes of himself playing autoharp rigged out with reverb and echo guitar pedals–and later a live looping pedal—making spaced out, smothering warm and comforting new age jams for yoga studios.

In the past couple of years, Numero Group, and a number of other record labels, have been furiously re-releaseing old Laraaji tapes, almost all of them completely instrumental. Vision Songs 1, apparently culled from a short lived New York public access show that Laraaji hosted in the mid 1980s, is one of the first Laraaji re-releases to really highlight his voice and his songwriting ability. Accompanied by his celestial autoharp and a simple drum machine that sounds like he borrowed it from the punk band Suicide’s first album, Laraaji builds soft, puffy clouds out of the processed autoharp, and grounded by the drum machines, Laarji constructs songs out of inspirational mantras like “tomorrow’s much to far away/ Yesterday, was it ever here?/ Today has that magic quality/Today is here.” Another song mentions the importance of brushing your teeth, and another song promises that we’ll “be lifted,” “be reborn again,” “be as little children,” “be as light.” It’s relentlessly positive and sincere, kind of like a really enthusiastic third grade teacher, but sometimes, that’s just what the soul needs.