I re-subscribed to Spotify, which has a much more effective workflow for discovering great footwork / juke tracks from past and present. The key: Spotify notifies that you’re adding duplicates into a playlist, and will allow to you skip them. So I add any and all footwork-related tracks into one playlist, hit shuffle, add the tracks I like into a filtered playlist. Even better: on each track that I like, I go to “go to album” and add the whole album to the megaplaylist.

Lo and behold, I skip the duplicates again and continue shuffling. I’m approaching 600 tracks so far – I don’t want to just blindly add everything until I’m comfortable enough having discovered some good stuff from the start. By the time my filtered playlist hits 100-150, I’ll reshuffle that playlist and make an even more filtered one. Then maybe I can start cataloguing these sounds into more specific genres — most likely names proprietary to my tastes.

Anyway, what releases have come to Bandcamp and Soundcloud the past couple weeks that are either big names or great sounds? Let’s get into it:

DJ Manny – 8th In A Wood

Released May 4th, 2018.

Manny released one of my top footwork albums last year, Greenlight. Where I first thought that its dance — a.k.a not footwork — orientation was cold but inspired, I may have just been taken aback by its self-sampling and un-jukey sound. It grew on me so much that it was a repeat listen — over and over and over and over — and became the centerpiece of my running playlist.

BackWood is most reminiscent to the previous album, with those ambling synth sounds that repeat with the vocals. But Manny does best when he mixes in the frenetic mid-bass beats of footwork with atmospheric synths — Maze Runner is the best example of this type of sound.

EQ Why & Traxman – WhyTrax

Released April 10th, 2018.

EQ Why has only been on my radar the past few months, while Traxman has been on my mind since the beginning of discovering the genre. I’ve always associated Traxman on the “warm” side of footwork, with classic 70s funk sampling and that mid-bass lightness that may be opposed to something like DJ Tre. Last year, the producer released TEKVISION, which had a hugely diverse range of sounds but all with an energy that only Traxman can provide — listen to Drop It Down for what I think is a quintessential Traxman sound — a pattern I could think of is the juke-heavy clap and bass drum which has been hugely reduced in the past couple years since the new Teklife stars have grown.

EQ Why is not juke, but wholly within the footwork camp. Heavy on long pitched-sample patterns and analogy synth sounds, there are more atmospherics than dance on many tracks. Some comparisons could be made with DJ Nate sounds and the alienation inherent in those kinds of pitching dynamics.

Together, I hear mostly Why’s influences, with a few of Traxman signature sounds — especially some atonal sampling like in Jack Jack Jack, or incessant sample-mashing like in Pump Dat Jam — which leads to comparisons with Da Mind of Traxman.

LOS – Who Am I

Released May 18th, 2018.
Released May 18th, 2018.

I had been limited to Teklife characters for a couple years while being ignorantly unaware of just about everyone part of Juke Bounce Werk (JBW). LOS was the first of the collective for me to hear, and I was pretty impressed with his work, but I was more quickly enamored with the likes of Kush Jones or Swisha. But LOS has a solidity to his work that best seem suited for a larger album — an extended atmosphere rather than one enrapturing work. Who Am I adds to this oeuvre of album-enhancing theatrics, low-key and ready to pass the torch onto the next track (you can see that from the end, where it cuts off — most likely for something else).

I’ll limit it to three items so far – don’t want to create an extensive essay or anything. I’ll start more actively looking for stuff that I like so I can share even more!