On her 2015 debut LP, Dark Energy, Jerrilynn Patton (aka Jlin) laid down 11 tracks that managed to take the dense and percussive sounds of Chicago footwork into territories never before explored. On Black Origami, her followup, Jlin focuses more on her own craft than the genre as a whole.
Although percussion is still Jlin's main songwriting tool, as melodies, rhythms and samples are all cut apart to serve the beat, the Gary, IN musician broadens the scope of these 12 tracks to create an album beaming with ambition and one-of-a-kind vision.
The unexpected but wholly deserved shower of acclaim over Dark Energy, the debut full-length by Gary, Indiana-based producer Jlin, resulted in one of electronic music's most inspiring success stories of the mid-2010s. Jerrilynn Patton created the album over the course of several years in between working shifts at a steel mill, taking the tense, aggressive Chicago footwork sound pioneered by producers like RP Boo, DJ Rashad, and Traxman into darker, more personal territory, motivated by fear, anger, and depression. After Dark Energy appeared on numerous year-end album lists, Patton quit her day job in order to focus on writing and performing music, feeling that there were far more opportunities waiting for her outside of the steel mill.
Jlin's relationship with genre has always been complicated. For as long as she has been recording, the Gary, Ind. producer has been associated with footwork, the hyperactive post-house music spawned alongside the equally chaotic competitive dance style popular in neighboring Chicago. Superficially, the affiliation makes sense.
At the time of their release, Jlin's EP Free Fall and full-length Dark Energy (both out in 2015 via UK imprint Planet Mu) were whip strikes to the temple: stinging, dizzying collections that bore undeniable weight and intensity. But the perception surrounding them might shift dramatically now that her new album, Black Origami, is here. After spending a lot of time with the new LP, the early work seems almost naive, the product of someone still trying to find her voice amid the movie dialogue samples and tracks that felt like an attempt to keep pace with her Chicago peers.
"You start off as this blank sheet of paper, this innocent thing. And then life starts bending and folding, bending and folding... I'm still being bended and folded. We all are." When explaining the title of her new album to Pitchfork, Jlin suggested this process eventually makes us into a "beautiful" piece of origami.
In its relentless assault on the senses, it’s easy to mistake the sound of Black Origami as chaos. While Jlin’s sophomore album can indeed be overwhelming, however, it is in fact quite the opposite. Gary, Indiana producer Jerrilynn Patton creates highly ordered, even regimented rhythmic movements that jab at the listener from all angles, its parts always shifting while retaining a fundamental synchronicity with one another.
If you were to make a film inspired by Black Origami, you'd have to shoot with a handheld camera. The second album from Gary, Indiana producer Jlin (née Jerrilyn Patton) is a volatile, intense listen. Even the moments that aren't saturated with activity keep you on edge, as there's no telling when a track could take a turn and several more after that.
Black Origami by Jlin The art of origami — should you have lived under a bridge in Nunavut for the last century or so — involves the multiple folding of paper to create a new shape or form, such as the chrome elephant that adorns the cover of Black Origami, Indiana producer Jlin's second album. The reference goes beyond the artwork, however, as Black Origami is an intricate album on which each sound Jlin deploys reveals a new facet to the track currently playing. In fact, it's not so much a work of origami as a twisted and opaque labyrinth to get lost in.
Jlin is more than footwork. During a recent set last week at Chicago's Smart Bar, the Gary, Indiana-based producer drew a crowd from disparate music scenes in the city; local progressive club kids were joined by older house heads and techno DJs. It's rare to find a musician whose work can connect with such a broad array of listeners, but the producer (born Jerrilyn Patton) has quietly gained an international following by defying the sometimes rigid expectations and parameters of the footwork genre in which she's most often associated.
Radio 4 listeners tuning into Desert Island Discs on the morning of Sunday January 15 2017 probably weren't expecting to be hit with the nuclear-force rhythmical intensity of Jlin, a producer from Gary, Indiana, whose 2015 debut album Dark Energy flipped the footwork template into daring new forms that were both mind-bendingly frenzied in their pace and incredibly elegant in their execution. And yet, there on the British institution of light music and chat, alongside work from George Michael, Franz Schubert and Jim Reeves, was Jlin's 'Unknown Tongues', a Dark Energy track that combines fidgety drum machines with the incessant jab of a pitched up vocal and a throbbing bass drum, the selection courtesy of that week's Desert Island castaway, choreographer Wayne McGregor. For all the incongruous setting, it made perfect sense that a choreographer like McGregor would find a kindred spirit in Jlin, a producer whose music is based around incredibly detailed rhythmical invention, where sounds seem to be employed for their metrical, rather than melodic, qualities and rhythms pile on top of rhythms in great shifting eddies of sound, creating beats within beats within beats.
A weekly look at must-hear music from The Times' pop staff. This week's picks include the exquisite, adventurous pop of Perfume Genius, the fiery Americana of Pokey LaFarge and more. Perfume Genius, "No Shape" (Matador). On his breathtaking fourth studio album, "No Shape," Mike Hadreas, who performs as Perfume Genius, conveys such a wide breadth of emotion that it's hard to know whether to shower him with rose petals, fetch him a cocktail or load him onto a gurney.