The producers who created footwork’s molten polyrhythms designed them to give dancers the flexibility to switch tactics in the middle of a battle. Yes, there are specific moves (Ghost! Erk n Jerk!), but the ever-changing percussion and bass patterns create a destabilized space where footworkers can “choose their own adventure,” as it were, by adapting […]
I generally avoided the Chicago Riverwalk even before the pandemic, but Footnotes gave me a genuinely great reason to spend a night gazing up at Merch Mart.
Gossip Wolf first took a shine to the synth-pop jams of Meredith Johnston, aka Warm Human, when she dropped her standout debut full-length, Ghastly, in 2019. Over the past few years, Johnston has proved impressively prolific, releasing a string of radio-worthy singles and album-length projects whose tone ping-pongs all over the place—she mixes up misty […]
Experimental footwork producer Jana Rush recorded her breathtaking new album, Painful Enlightenment, while battling depression, but she’s careful not to romanticize that fact. “At that time, I couldn’t be consistent with anything. I could start something and good luck with finishing it,” Rush explains. “The loss of hope, it’s a strange and empty feeling, and […]
Footwork music’s whimsical, tempestuous take on house wouldn’t exist without Chicago producer Kavain Space, better known as RP Boo. In the mid-90s, he drew from his experience DJing for House-O-Matics dancers to devise skittish, hyperactive tracks that proved too puzzling for Dance Mania, a staple label of the scene that provided a home for the […]
Manuel Gaines, who performs as DJ Manny, was ten years old when he first heard footwork music at a party. Before long, the Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based producer met two titans of the genre, DJ Spinn and the late DJ Rashad, with whom he eventually collaborated on a handful of tracks. Manny has multiple releases under his […]
Rock critic Jessica Hopper publishes a hugely expanded edition of her first book, Bryan Away (aka Elliot Korte) drops an album of lush folk-pop, and more.
“I try and make the music for the dancers—like Teklife, Beatdown House, everybody in the footwork community. It’s all for them.”
Chicago electronic producer Vince Kaichan is an omnivorous listener—or at least that’s the impression I get from the hodgepodge of styles in his own music. For roughly a decade now, he’s tussled with chiptune melodies, jazz-influenced lite-funk grooves, and serrated funk carioca rhythms. Recently, Kaichan has taken a shine to footwork, and his years of […]
Jessica Risker combines her two loves with the podcast Music Therapy, footwork crew the Era drop a dreamy rap single, and more.
In a recent video interview with New York City arts and culture site Lumka, Chicago producer Casper McFadden explained that he made his new second album, Stasis (Log), while his landlord renovated his bedroom over the summer. The construction took longer than anticipated, and McFadden spent months stuck on his couch, unable to access the […]
Chicago producer DJ Corey is footwork royalty. His father, DJ Clent, got hooked on ghetto house in the early 90s, and by the end of that decade had established a career in the faster, more aggressive styles of juke and footwork. Clent began nurturing his son’s interest in music long before Corey could make tracks […]
Since Chicago footwork producer and Teklife member DJ Earl dropped his breakthrough 2016 debut, Open Your Eyes, he’s traveled far outside the city and branched out into different sounds. In 2017, Earl dropped a genre-splicing dance full-length called 50 Backwoods with in-demand Brooklyn producer Nick Hook, and this year his collaborations have included the hip-hop […]
In June, the label arm of the Chicago-born Teklife footwork collective released its first flexi disc, “Juke Me Baby” by Reginald Cosper Jr., aka Sirr TMo Sama. Cosper builds the track on an ascending, bone-dry percussive pattern, weaving in a few different vocal samples and several drum loops; he never lets up on the gas, […]
Born in Austria, based in Spain, and inspired by Chicago footwork and UK instrumental grime, Zora Jones has been making music for a decade but only just released her debut album, Ten Billion Angels (Fractal Fantasy). Its music is glossy, sensual, and alluring in its artificiality, and it pairs nicely with the cover art—a digitally […]