August 15, 2011

Sach O needs a vacation from his vacation

It’s August and Jeff knows what that means: it’s the time of year where I fuck off to some semi-exotic location to indulge in loud beats and loose women, leaving him to handle site biz on his own – not that you’d notice this time thanks to the all-star lineup The What brain-trust has evolved into. The fact remains however that there hasn’t been a second between last week’s Shambhala Music Festival and next week’s Sunseeker’s Ball on the opposite coast where I’ve been able to sit down and write about a record I like. Drake was right, the jet-setting life of the Canadian musician is not for the faint of heart – I think I got a hang-nail flicking a fader last night.

I’d be remiss not to shout out the soundtrack to this month’s debauchery however because Machinedrum’s Room(S) might just be one of the best EDM albums of the year. Dropping the producer’s previous grab-bag of styles for an airy yet focused take on the high-energy Chicago Footwork sound that knocked London out of its half-step doldrums, it’s the kind of album that demands words like “reinvention” and “revelation,” standing out from Machinedrum’s previous work both in style and quality. At Room(S)’s core is a simple but brilliant idea: take all the madness of Ghetto-House and merge it to achingly pretty ambient chords and atmospheres. It’s a trick last seen in the early, heady days of Jungle: jackhammer fast beats driven to such an extreme that they cease to drive the tracks so much as float over them while the bass and chords take over. In Footworking contexts, DJ Nate probably got here first but Machinedrum’s carefully crafted production and attention to compositional detail feels like a necessary step for Footwork as listening music and proves that the style can exist both as high-octane fuel for dance crews and meditative missives for long car rides and smoking on city roofs.

Not that you’d want Footwork to abandon the high-octane part of the equation and on that front, Planet Mu Founder Mike Paradinas has got you covered with today’s Fact Magazine mix. Cramming 38 beats in 60 minutes of madness, it’s rough and tumble stuff fit only for the ‘Ardkore and headstrong and forms a remarkable counterpoint to Room(S)’s etheral lightness. Ignore at your own peril: a year into Footwork’s emergence from the localized underground, this stuff’s still going strong and any style that can simultaneously evolve in two completely opposite directions is a picture of musical health. Plus it’s much, much, much better than the Moombahton malarkey they’re going to try to push on you this year.

MP3: Mike Paradinas – FACT Mix (left Click)

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