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DJ Taye Still Trippin' Hyperdub

At its best, footwork breaks free from the genre’s strictures, and it soars. The common starting point – rapid drums, and lots of them – becomes a background concern as other elements spin into focus within the centrifuge. DJ Taye’s creative, rich debut album Still Trippin’ is footwork at its best.

The 23-year-old Chicago artist admits to a burden of responsibility in keeping the spirit of departed footwork hero DJ Rashad moving. This has resulted in one of the more varied albums in the field for a minute: Taye goes for broke with upfront drum assault here (as on three collaborations with eccentric footwork artist DJ Paypal), but brushes them with a feather touch there (as on the comparatively gentle Same Sound). Vocal cuts featuring Chicago rapper Chuck Inglish and Jersey club Queen Uniiqu3 sit alongside tracks where the main thing singing are the sour synths. There’s a surprisingly strong chiptune influence coursing through the album, as on the Pac-Man mania of Matrix, or Trippin’ – a chalk-and-cheese combination of 16-bit trills and Taye’s pitch-shifted raps which probably shouldn’t come off as well as it does.

Truly sealing the deal are the tender moments bookending the record. Just as the warm bass runs and melancholic clang of 2094 instil a sense of gravitas and great hope to fire it up, so too does the plaintive and graceful I Don’t Know guide the ship down with purpose after a second half of head-spinners. If there are more footwork LPs to come in 2018 at the level of Still Trippin’, consider it a banner year for the sound.