[ Orange Milk, 2017 ]
On his second full-length for Orange Milk Records, Darren Keen achieves the escape velocity that plunge him beyond the clichés of footwork, setting him free of endlessly repeating spoken-word samples that, let’s face it, can get quite annoying after a longer while. The drum patterns are as tight, fast and complex as ever. But here, Keen manages to slow down sometimes, providing a much-needed rest from the sensory overload of the genre, while proving that he’s able to break the mold and look further without locking himself into the safe zone. The album is full of politeness, which is also a welcome thing in the world of ubiquitous trolling and constant middle fingers toward everybody. Keep being polite, Mr. Keen. It works very well. Highly recommended!
[ Self-released / MAGIA, 2017 ]
What a crazy guy, that Lemiszewski dude. What will 2017 be like in 2071?, he asks on his Bandcamp page. The cover of 2017 (nielegal) doesn’t help answering this question at all – a broken laptop screen, an old man in CCCP t-shirt, a wallet filled with vegetables instead of money and, like a cherry on top of cake – some bro reading Karl Marx’ Capital in a swimming pool while wearing inflatable arm rings. Does Jakub poke fun at our generation, who tries to be “woke” and aware of the fact that late capitalism is in fact a dead end, but hey, “at least we’ve got memes”? Dunno, maybe it’s just a collage of funny pictures. The truth keeps eluding us. But Lemiszewski keeps on bombarding our senses with his own brand of wacky, stroboscopic footwork which is a wonderful distraction from the struggle of everyday life. Keep on doing your nielegal stuff, Jakub. You’re the best. Recommended, in case you haven’t noticed yet.
[ Pawlacz Perski, 2017 ]
A distorted, slowed-down sample of Daft Punk’s “Revolution 909” emerges from the opening piece “Cor 2 Cor” on Baboonism, a new album by the Gdansk based freak footwork producer Rhythm Baboon. And it only goes better from there – the core material is indeed the Windy City’s trademark genre, but here it’s slowed down and deconstructed, sometimes to the point of becoming skeletal rhythms falling into the deep well of ambient sounds, echoing and reverbing to an ominous effect. The spoken word samples, so abundand in footwork, are also present here, but smeared and blurred to sound like creepy industrial machines peering from beyond the edge of consciousness. Basically: if footwork is like a good psychedelic trip, then Baboonism looms on the verge of a bad trip. A good bad trip. Does it even make sense? Find out for yourself.
[ Polish Juke, 2016 ]
Daaamn indeed! Polish electronic wizard Jakub Lemiszewski has done some evolution since HERMES and Diana and decided to go ballistic, strapping his music to a rocket and firing it all the way to Chicago to return with a hyperactive take on footwork, turning the juke level all the way up to 11. Man, this goes hard! The album is total slave to the rhythm, be it the irregular, jagged juke pinball machine insanity or the hard-to-penetrate techno full of meticulously cut-up and arranged samples and microsounds, making an incredibly energetic, busy and detailed music, while never falling into any footwork cliches (oversimplificiation, too many annoying sample repetitions). DAAAMN maanges to stay over the top and perfectly controlled at the same time in a genre where there’s a very thin line between sounding fresh and being a mere copy. This hits hard!! Highly recommended!!
[ Orange Milk Records, 2015 ]
Is Darren Keen real? He probably isn’t. Sure, we might see some long-haired, big-framed dude when we type “Darren Keen” into Google search, but that guy is just a simulacrum. The real Darren Keen is a musical algorithm, designed to collect cool samples and put them into tight patchworks of the footwork genre so well it almost puts the genre’s Chicago godfathers to shame. Incredibly melodic and precise at the same time, it feels like Brooklyn’s laser guided answer to the Teklife crew, although with a bit of that Orange Milk flair left intact. Darren Keen might not be real, but this album definitely is real.
This came from completely nowhere and took me by surprise like few things before. It started with an email. With a cover that made me think of some medieval/vaguely psychedelic folk revival thing, the sounds emanating from the speakers collided with medieval imagery. Dank beats, swooping synth lines, angelic samples thrown here and there, footwork madness unwinding gave a new meaning of the Polish prododucer Comoc‘s imagination of Florence. Told with beats, it shows that influence can span above many areas, even many centuries, inspiring radically different approach to “high” literature or culture. And come to think of that, those dudes on the cover sport some serious swag. Like medieval Hood by Air and shit.
If you’re one of the more “traditional” heads who prefers mellow, proggy sound over improvisational guitar carnage, France’s (JUKE), based in Tours, might be just the answer to your needs. Going for the soft and warm lovely early 70’s Pink Floydian sound they craft a rich Technicolor tapestry of instrumental prowess, filled with organs, pianos, epic multi-part suites and slow-tempo soundscapes that could just go on forever. Atom Experiment is a chameleon that jumps through basically every human feeling and emotion during it’s nearly 50 minute run. A great exercise in vintage psychedelia. Recommended!