Music

Jlin: Free Fall EP

The rising star of footwork follows a earth-shaking debut album with a collection of tracks brimming with ideas and a dizzying array of sounds.


Jlin

Free Fall EP

Label: Planet Mu
US Release Date: 2015-11-27
UK Release Date: 2015-11-27
Amazon
iTunes

It might be a bit presumptuous to call Jlin intense, as she seems like a fairly easygoing person in interviews. Her music, though, is utterly relentless, a mash of harrying rhythms and samples melded into one frenetic whole. It all falls nicely under the label of “footwork” for some, but make no mistake; Jlin is not some hack producer out to ape DJ Rashad’s moves to get ahead. Dark Energy was a startlingly original piece of work, an album of big ideas and deeply personal motives. On Free Fall, we don’t get so much of a continuation as we do a peek behind the curtains. These four tracks have the feel of works in progress or peeks at Jlin’s process more than they do as actual, completed pieces.

One thing to note about Free Fall is the lack of cohesion among the four tracks; this isn’t the sort of unified statement that Dark Energy was. Rather, Free Fall works as more of a mixtape than a proper EP or LP, a collection of quick bursts of creativity that have some thematic bent but stand more as individual pieces. The tracks all skew closer to the standard footwork sound than some of her previous work, but everything is filtered through a pop-culture-skewering perspective that Jlin embraces with gleeful abandon. There is a shared aesthetic throughout, though, as Jlin combines horror-kitsch and junk culture samples in a way that delivers sly nods to the listener. Not everything on Free Fall is doom and gloom; if something seems like a bit of a joke, it’s delivered with a nod and a wink to assure you that it was meant to be good fun, as with the Carrie sample on “Eu4ria".

That isn’t to say that Free Fall is a disposable record in any way. For any moments of fun and wry humor, there are surreal, paranoid moments to balance them out. “I Am the Queen” wields its sampled statement like an oncoming threat as it stomps forward, the head of an oncoming army. On “BuZilla", the distant roar of Godzilla and the repeated pronouncements of “live and let die” bring a sense of dread to the chaos that had, only two tracks earlier, seemed almost euphoric. It gives the impression of walking out of a killer dance party only to find that the apocalypse has started. As the EP winds to a close with “Nandi", its most conventional track, it’s almost disappointing that the exhilarating chaos has to wind down.

Obviously, Free Fall isn’t the sort of watershed release that Dark Energy was, but Jlin’s talent clearly hasn’t diminished. As a collection of disparate ideas, the EP remains thrilling despite its disjointed nature. Think of it as a workout piece, an example of an artist showing off a bit coming off of a real triumph. Very rarely, though, do victory laps like this act as an indicator of even more promise. It would therefore be a little inappropriate to call Free Fall a victory lap; think of it as more of a mic drop.

7

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

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.