During the last 10 years we have seen the genre known as footwork being unconfined from its Chicagoan roots to the rest of United States, London and even Berlin. The grandfathers RP Boo and DJ Rashad originally showed the way but since then, influences from UK Bass, Wonky and Future Garage shaped a new stream of footwork albums; the loss of Rashad in 2014 also probably contributed to distance the roots of the genere from its contemporary iterations.
Jerrilynn Patton aka Jlin came out of nowhere in 2015 with her critically acclaimed debut LP Dark Energy, where she choose an unpredictable array of sounds and assembled them into a mind-blowing bunch of samples that definitely caught our attention. Her latest work Black Origami is a manifest of the cultural melting pot of our generation: Jlin collaborated with Willam Basinski and Holly Herndon, she shaped her sounds from Afro and Indian music, while the Brit collaborators of Planet Mu label Fabian Harb and Joe Shakespeare curated the overall design of the album. This combination gives a personal and intimate feeling to the work, that ends up being even darker than its predecessor.
Variety has never been a problem for footwork, but no one has ever mastered all the different influences as Jerrilynn has done here before, managing to create a cohesive, but still chaotic imaginary. The Amazonian beats of the opening track “Black Origami” catapult the listener inside a jungle, “Enigma” and “Kyanite” maintain the pulsating intensity high until Basinski’s loop that opens “Holy Child” shifts the atmosphere towards the celestial. The use of vocal sampling is very neat all along the record but “Nyakinyua Rise” (probably the best track) showcases the incredible ability of Jlin in surgically cutting and pasting voices and noises. The interlude “Calcination” introduces the mystical feeling developed in “Carbon 7 (161)” in which the tribal beats leave some space to electronic, post-industrial trails. Amazingly, even the glitchy “1%” (feat. Holly Herndon) and the powerful “Challenge ( To Be Continued)” are entangled faultlessly inside the progression of Black Origami, an album that spoils its personality very slowly listening after listening while tailoring a shining new dress over tom drums, handclaps and drum fills.
Jlin’s new effort can already be considered a footwork’s milestone, furthermore the producer based in Gary proved that she wasn’t a one hit wonder and it’s fair to say that the future of the genre lays in her hands.