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RP Boo
I’ll Tell You What! Eden Tizard , July 16th, 2018 07:59

Keeping footwork sparse, course and weird

RP Boo lingers around the foundations of footwork. Producers like DJ Earl, DJ Taye and Traxman have opted for a denser, more musical sound; Jlin has pushed the genre so far that ‘footwork’ is no longer an apt descriptor, something she happily admits. Boo meanwhile likes to keep things sparse, coarse, unedified - but his commitment to footwork’s core genetics should not be confused with resistance to change. With these foundations, he has continually remoulded the genre.

I’ll Tell You What, Boo’s third album, is noticeable for its sharp left turns. It’s his first full-length of entirely new material, and eschews some of the elements we’ve come to expect. On ‘Bounty’, Boo raps over beats of fidgety restlessness, with lyrics that playfully drop references to Blondie and James Brown; ‘Wicked Blu’ takes the frenetic production and oppressive bass synonymous with footwork, but strips away the tempo and adds almost portentous levels of drama. Synth-boff arpeggios and flurries of flute are pared dynamically against one another. ‘U Don’t Know’ is all lush sentimentality; ‘Back From The Future’ is a surefire banger.

There’s real ingenuity to this lack of clutter, the bizarre assortment of samples given enough room to beguile. Hermann-eque strings, regal horns and ectoplasmic vocals build up the strange tapestry, always with precision and purpose.

Given that dance music is always in search of a new rhythmic language, sub-genres do risk the slide into stasis. Footwork, however, appears to have no shortage of peculiar, adaptable, and idiosyncratic producers that resist any such outcome. I’ll Tell You What is slippery, contrary, devious - to listen is to be seduced and mangled.