Release Date: May 28, 2013
Record label: Planet Mu
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
I’m not going to waste any time here explaining to you what footwork music is. If it were 2011, maybe even last summer, I would probably use this piece to make a case for why you, the ever-adventurous Tiny Mix Tapes reader, seriously needs to check out the post-humanoid shit skittering out of the Chicago underground at 160 BPM. I would probably drop some technical terms like “polyrhythmic” and then a theory word like “pastiche,” and then I would make the assertion that footwork’s schizoid vocal manipulations are the logical next step for the human voice in a post-Burial dance music landscape.
Legacy is an aptly-named effort which aims to cement the position of long-heralded Chicago producer ‘Record Player’ Boo into the foundations of electronic music. Consider it done. Former House-O-Matics dance crew member turned producer RP Boo is credited with spearheading the city’s ‘footwork’ scene, a movement which, despite its twinkling toes, remains firmly-footed in the Midwest.
There’s a school of thought that says the album – the ‘artist album’, that is – is more or less irrelevant to dance music, and that people who consume their chosen club sounds via this medium are point-missing rubes. As with many of these pointedly purist statements, the logic behind it is valid, but in practise it falls down. Not everyone has the time or money to buy endless two-track 12-inches at eight quid or more a pop, compared to a full album on CD for a tenner.
This is another sterling release from Planet Mu, which is leading the way when it comes to juke/footwork projects. This one is from a pioneer of the genre, RP Boo, who released the first acknowledged juke single in 1997, "Baby Come On." Considering Boo's O.G. status in Chicago and the fact that juke/footwork has been blowing up rather dramatically in the last few years (much thanks to the aforementioned Planet Mu), it's surprising that we have only just been graced with a full-length RP Boo album.
Just under 10 years ago, dubstep was all the rage, but since that genre has inched toward the mainstream at the expense of what made it so intriguing in the first place, the space has been filled by a number of artists who have hacked away at the boundaries between genres, styles and approaches. It has also allowed more attention to be directed on genres that have been around for quite some time, and perhaps have been plowing the aforementioned exploratory furrow in ways that point to the future more interestingly than dubstep’s overflow has done so far. Chicago’s Footwork is one such genre, and RP Boo, a.k.a.
It's a slippery business, footwork. First you hear the overload, then you hear what's missing. The pace-making beat is rarely or barely there. The commanding voices don't complete their orders. The bass jabs anchoring the tracks can be as unstable as the antic claps and toms racing around them. You ….
In many music scenes it’s possible to make the distinction between originators and popularisers. The originators have the ideas – in a simplistic reading, they are the authors of the style at hand – but they fall short in other respects: presentation, communication, plain old organisation. This is where the popularisers come in. They don’t invent so much as refine, but in doing so they bridge the gap between that which is already accepted and the tantalising but alien potential of The New Thing.