Hyperdub X TEKLIFE Show Dance Fans What It's All About
Footwork/Juke occupies a really exciting corner of dance music. Around since the late 90's it only broke into the UK's shores in about 2009, and in the process it had a huge effect on many scenes. Producers Om Unit, Stray and Fracture have all utilized it's itchy rhythms, breathing new life into DnB. While post dubsteppers like Addison Groove and Scratcha DVA found their bass ethos fitted excitingly with its pace and sample rich culture. On Saturday London’s Hyperdub, Kode9’s innovative bass label meets the Chicago stable TEKLIFE at LWE's E1 Studio Spaces.
Minutes after arriving in Shadwell we approached the kind of building you’d associate with Charlie and the Chocolate factory. A grand red brick wall and a single green light glowing through the Victorian window atop filled me with intrigue. Then we turned right, cued up outside a dull concrete slab of a building, just behind a BP garage. That’s when I got really excited.
Upon entry, one simple projection was cast across the darkness, while Funktion1’s defended each corner. Bass enveloped the room and the staccato 808 sounds ticked and popped. By mixing tunes that have many rhythmic changes the crowd are never stuck in a monotonous groove.
Addison Groove x Plastician was a great way to break into the night jumping between frantic rhythmic assaults to the rawness of old grime. Frequencies and keys can clash as each tune bleeds into the next. But where in other settings it would sound out of place, it adds a menace to Bass music that works. Ikonika x Scratcha DVA piled on the classics like ‘Pulse X’ and ‘Ripgroove 99’ mashing them up with both the Hyperdub and TEKLIFE catalogs.
Kode9 stepped up to the mic... “The next 3 hours is pure Chicago!”
This was the first time I’d seen Footwork/Juke played by its creators. They have a much more up-front, Hip-Hop style of presentation. The MC is turned up louder and clearer than I’ve heard in the UK, DJ’s cue and stop records with less care and more attitude while encouraging more interaction from the crowd. A huge part of the night was in tribute to DJ Rashad. Regarded as the creator and driving force of the genre, his death earlier in the year was a shock for the whole dance music community and many heartfelt dedications were heard through the night.
The drums used are harsh and vocal samples are often used as rhythmic weapons to the point that they loose all meaning. Party time. Party time. Party time. Party time. Prime time.
DJ Rashad’s – "Drop Juke Out"... murdered the room!
The hypnotic nature of the beats means that listeners are torn between moving fast, on top of the beat or slowly, on the halftime. It’s a real headfuck and is like nothing I’ve experienced before. This is often juxtaposed against soulful sampling on the breakdown. The tension never quite goes away though as underneath there is the constant threat of an unrelenting pulse; this is the part you need a big stack of speakers to truly understand, this is the part that changed my life 5 years ago.
In other matters; drinks weren’t cheap, everyone was safe, some jaws were rotating but most weren’t, soundsystem was right on point and everyone should listen to footwork at least 7 times... Very Loud.
Rounding off the night Kode9 & Oneman played a more eclectic set, still keeping the tempo up but bringing in some more fluid tracks, a bit of jungle and then my legs gave up.
Written by Josh Gray