Until the late noughties, only a select few outside the walls of Chicago City in Illinois had heard of Footwork, the frenetic, militant dance music that eschews almost all dance music conventions by, paradoxically, revolving almost entirely around the dancing element of its culture. Outside of extremely isolated pockets, non-American (and probably a lot of American as well) audiences have Planet Mu head honcho Mike Paradinas and the Hyperdub-Kode9 dyad to thank for broadening its listener base and re-framing it as a music that stands beyond the dance context that it had, until that point, been inextricably linked to.

The shadow of the late DJ Rashad still looms large over Chicago Footwork. Alongside Jlin, he still stands as the titan of the genre and, for many, the start-and-stop of their experience with the genre. This is a position that has started to become increasingly untenable over the last couple of years. Teklife – a collective of incredibly talented producers – finally stepped out on their own last year and formed the eponymous label on which the Greenlight LP is released.

Most who have a transient knowledge of the genre will know Manny through his collaboration with Rashad on the now-classic Double Cup LP on Hyperdub, but he’s been a core player within the Juke network since 2013 – and we imagine his roots to the genre go far deeper than that.

It’s evident on Greenlight. Manny – like many of his Teklife contemporaries – is a footwork purist through-and-through, choosing to riff off of the chopped-n-screwed, sample-based sound of his seniors instead of attempting to re-invent the wheel. This allows him to explore the creative limits of his sound palette with a self-assuredness that begets his lack of back-catalogue to reference.

Manny presents us with a cross-section of cuts that span the funk-laden soul grooves that the earliest roots of the genre spawned from (“Way You Move”, “You Looking Good”), crossed with updated junglist-crossover cuts (“Like That”) and some of the most spartan production you’ll ever hear (“Ghost Out”) – never once losing his stride and maintaining a relentless forward momentum across the LP that mirror’s footwork’s own internal musical structure.

It’s great to see another talented producer step into the limelight and contribute to the ever-broadening horizon of artists carving a niche for themselves in a post-Rashad landscape. Huge stuff!

Tracklist

1.”Way You Move” (feat DJ Chap)
2.”You Looking Good” (feat Sucia)
3.”Like That”
4.”Zancrash” (feat DJ Taye)
5.”Boop Me Down” (feat DJ Lucky)
6.”Ghost Out”
7.”I’ll Hurt Ya Baby” (feat DJ Taye & DJ Lucky)
8.”Life In This Bitch” (feat DJ Taye)
9.”If U Want It” (feat DJ Taye)
10.”Greenlight (Wanna Go)” (feat DJ Taye)