Music

DJ Taye Pushes the Boundaries of Footwork on 'Still Trippin''

Photo: Andy Scott

DJ Taye has created an album built from the wonderfully chaotic footwork genre that celebrates the interstitial moments even in its most conventional tracks.

Still Trippin'
DJ Taye

Hyperdub

2 March 2018

A few months ago, the artist Dylan Brady, whose best works had been melancholic trap ballads like "Little Bando", quietly released the ambient piece "ily all the time". It was more Sigur Rós than Soundcloud, open space and a lack of audial intrusion its governing code, and a new dimension to a sound we thought we had pretty much figured out. This song, in particular, I thought of following the opening song on DJ Taye's debut album Still Trippin', an album – built from the wonderfully chaotic footwork genre – that celebrates the interstitial moments even in its most conventional tracks.

That opener, "2094", is built around a synth line that hits no more than ten different notes in its stepping around the scale before breaking into more elongated, evaporating edits from the same synth. The footwork hallmarks – most importantly a frenetic hi-hat – are all there, but they cede the center to the just-left-of-center-for-elevator-music ambiance of the synth. It's at once gorgeous and a feign for the rest of the album which, despite similar philosophical approaches to how the sounds should be spaced, is rap-heavy and works more with an ominous brightness.

On 2016's New Start, Taso shared a track with Taye, "In the Green Room", that was the EP's highlight and one of the year's more addictive songs. It was conventional to the genre in its splicing of raps and allowing them to sink into the bass, but it still serves as a landmark on Taye's journey to the sound permeating Still Trippin'. The addition of lengthier rap verses and the voice of a footwork producer being literally represented by vocals as much as the subtle differences in samples or drum patterns is itself important in what Taye discussed in multiple interviews surrounding Still Trippin''s release: being a generation younger than Teklife's founders, he is called upon both internally and externally to push footwork forward from something beautifully self-contained, but self-contained all the same.

His role as catalyst is, thankfully, not limited to himself on this album. After the Vinyl Factory listed some of the twists Taye put by changing artists' established roles, he told them, "I was just trying to do new stuff, period." While shifting Chuck Inglish from the alternative minimalism of the early Cool Kids days to juke with its ideal of pure movement is a fascinating pairing, the crown jewel of this synthesizing mode comes two tracks later on "Gimme Some Mo", his collaboration with the Jersey club artist UNIIQU3. The two genres mesh together beautifully, neither sacrificing their special percussive trademarks while the ambient synths from "2094" return to add weight to the space of the track.

The collaborations with fellow Teklife members round out the other half of the pairings on the album, most of these centering around the idea of conventional footwork's comfort. The three DJ Manny collabs, for instance, still have little warpings of the formula all the same – AutoTune on "Anotha4", non-starting hi-hats on "Need It". DJ Paypal's trio recall the buoyant energy they brought to a shared track on Paypal's standout 2015 album Sold Out and work just as well as pure instrumentals as they do when altered vocal samples are added to the mix.

In the ever-evolving sound that is footwork, each of the core players has trademarks that signify their unique take on its core. For DJ Taye, that is rooted in being a student of the genre and understanding where its limits need to be pushed. Still Trippin' is, in turn, a satisfying listen for classicists and interested experimenters alike. And the progress isn't stopping with the album's release – Taye spoke of wanting to do a whole footwork show with live instruments. It's that mindset of always seeing where one can go next that makes footwork such a joy to listen to.

7
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation

Emma Donoghue's Room and E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.

Books

Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump Whitehouse -- and then drags it all to Hell.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

OK Go's Emotional New Ballad, "All Together Now", Inspired by Singer's Bout with COVID-19

Damian Kulash, lead singer for OK Go discusses his recent bout with COVID-19, how it impacted his family, and the band's latest pop delight, "All Together Now", as part of our Love in the Time of Coronavirus series.

Books

The Rules Don't Apply to These Nonconformist Novelists

Ian Haydn Smith's succinct biographies in Cult Writers: 50 Nonconformist Novelists You Need to Know entice even seasoned bibliophiles.

Music

Siren Songs' Merideth Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels Debut As a Folk Duo (album stream + interview)

Best friends and longtime musical collaborators Merideth Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels team up as Siren Songs for the uplifting folk of their eponymous LP.

Music

Buzzcocks' 1993 Comeback 'Trade Test Transmissions' Showed Punk's Great Survivors' Consistency

PopMatters' appraisal of Buzzcocks continues with the band's proper comeback LP, Trade Test Transmissions, now reissued on Cherry Red Records' new box-set, Sell You Everything.

Music

Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu the Fudgemunk Enlighten and Enliven with 'Ocean Bridges'

Ocean Bridges is proof that genre crossovers can sound organic, and that the term "crossover" doesn't have to come loaded with gimmicky connotations. Maybe we're headed for a world in which genres are so fluid that the term is dropped altogether from the cultural lexicon.

Books

Claude McKay's 'Romance in Marseille' Is Ahead of Its Time

Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille -- only recently published -- pushes boundaries on sexuality, disability, identity -- all in gorgeous poetic prose.

Music

Christine Ott Brings the Ondes Martenot to New Heights with the Mesmerizing 'Chimères'

France's Christine Ott, known for her work as an orchestral musician and film composer, has created a unique new solo album, Chimères, that spotlights an obscure instrument.

Music

Man Alive! Is a Continued Display of the Grimy-Yet-Refined Magnetism of King Krule

Following The OOZ and its accolades, King Krule crafts a similarly hazy gem with Man Alive! that digs into his distinct aesthetic rather than forges new ground.

Books

The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.

Music

ONO Confronts American Racial Oppression with the Incendiary 'Red Summer'

Decades after their initial formation, legendary experimentalists ONO have made an album that's topical, vital, uncomfortable, and cathartic. Red Summer is an essential documentation of the ugliness and oppression of the United States.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.