Archive for Planet Mu

In The Trax

Posted in On Notice with tags , , on April 24, 2012 by jazner

I Need Some Money

Itz Crack

CORNELIUS FERGUSON IS no stranger to the Chicago footwork tradition. A veteran who’s been through footwork’s various incarnations, from juke and ghetto house to its current frenetic and frazzled state, Ferguson has been making ankle breaking beats as Traxman for a good 15+ years.

It’s no wonder then that Planet Mu would want to get inside his head and see life from his perspective, leading to Traxman’s latest LP, Da Mind Of Traxman, which dropped earlier this month. From weird and schizo to smooth funk, soul and jazz aethetics, Da Mind Of Traxman illuminates footwork in all its various shades and colors.

Two tracks to peep are “I Need Some Money” and “Itz Crack”, streaming above. “I Need Some Money” keeps you locked with 70s harmonious vibes, while “Itz Crack” sprinkles a lil jazz horns and upright bass on footwork rhythms.

Traxman also contributed to this week’s FACT mix, stream / download it below. Hop over to the Planet Mu site to hear some hearty chunks of Da Mind Of Traxman.

FACT Mix 326


The Science of Footwork

Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , , , on February 21, 2012 by jazner

Exclusive Track: Boylan – “Run The Streets

WHILE FOOTWORK CONTINUES to find its place within the electronic music consciousness, many listeners and critics are still unclear on how to accurately absorb it for interpretation and translate it to discussion. One of the most common mistakes, and one jazner has been guilty of on occasion, is using the terms ‘footwork’ and ‘juke’ interchangeably, as if the two were inseparable as a kick and a snare.

Here to set the record straight is Chicago’s very own Nate Boylan, a high school science teacher by day, footwork producer by night, and Ghettoteknitian for life. You may remember Boylan from his contribution to Planet Mu’s Bangs & Works Vol. 2, the impeccable, sped up Sade sampled “Bullet Proof Soul” sticking out as one of the comps many highlights, a track that was also used in an Addison Groove mix earlier this year

Boylan was kind enough to break down the basic elements of footwork, how it differs from juke, and what the ghettotekz life is all about, clearing the air for all of us outside of Chicago.

Take your seats, students, Footwork 101 is about to begin.

jazner: What are the differences between juke and footwork?  
Boylan: Both ‘types’ of music can be considered ‘tracks’.  That’s what we call them.

Juke really isn’t a type of music, but a style of dancing to ghetto house.  Juke is commonly used as a verb, as in “that girl was jukin me on the floor” (basically like having sex with clothes on) or “damn that party was jukin.”  Juke tracks bear a much closer (to the ear of most people outside of the south and west sides) resemblance to ghetto house (DJ Deeon, DJ Milton, DJ PJ, DJ Funk, etc).

Footwork is another form of tracks (the general word that means house music) specifically used in footwork battles by various dance crews around the city (Wolf Pack, T.S., LOTNS, Taliban, etc).  Many footwork tracks are specifically made for different crews (TS Hoe by DJ Rashad).  Footwork is much less commercial than most juke tracks and really is best understood in the context of events such as Battlegrounds (on 87th and stony island), T.U.F.F. (on 87th and hermitage), war zone (Wala’s event), the Bud Billiken parade and after-parties. In Chicago currently tracks mainly come in the footwork flavor, also known as juketronik, gutta etc.

j: Break it down in the following contexts: Musically (beats, rhythms, pulse, samples, techniques, technology, etc)
B: There is a distinct four pattern embedded in tracks, which seems to be mostly not understood by producers outside of Chicago.  It sounds random, but the drums match the sample/synth.  Theres almost always a clap or snare holding down the four count.  In my production crew (Ghetto teknitianz aka ghettotekz) we mostly produce using MPC’s of some variety (2000 XLs, 2500s, 1000s)  and emu, Roland and Akai synths.  Some people use software to produce, but the real juice seems to flow best from the MPC.

j: Socially
B: Juke really came from DJ Puncho and Gantman and Jammin Gerald and Traxman in the late 90s early 2000s.

DJ Rashad and Spinn and RP boo basically took it to the footwork level in the late late ninties and have been making hot tracks for over 12 years. Interesting side note:  I teach high school science at the same school that Rashad and Spinn met at in homeroom as students. Its part of the Southside/South Central suburbs/Westside tradition that we hold down the footwork at Thornwood.  Many many many Thornwood students are also dancers and/or producers.

j: Culturally (gatherings, battles, crews, swagger, etc)
B: Footwork battles: the real shit. Kids get together and battle, winner by audience reaction. Sometimes there’s money involved.  In many ways the battles provide a constructive method of helping teenage kids stay out of trouble, because in Chicago there’s plenty of trouble that kids can get into.

As far as who runs it, I’d have to say that the Tekz run the South. If you go to any battles you are almost 100% sure to hear at least one track by one of the guys.

We also do Northside events like JukeFest every summer where we get to bring tracks to groups of people who otherwise wouldn’t come down to the Southside/Westside events.

Boylan & DJ Rashad Crafting Trax

j: Can you describe what a juke / footwork battle is like for people that have never been to one? What are the vibes, the energy, the sounds, smells and feelings overall?
B: It starts out quiet and sparse and as people fill in the warm-ups begin.  Often a side room will have mirrors for practicing.  By 10, the dj will start dropping tracks that are ice cold and usually will drop a few new tracks that he produced maybe specifically for the event in progress.  The vibe is usually competitive but positive.  The feelings depend on your mood, lol that’s an interesting question. The vibes are bass out of subs and hot new tracks.

More Ghettotekz Footwork Battles

j: Where does jit fit in this conversation?
B: Jit is a Detroit based style of dancing and tracks that are even faster than our tracks. I’m not even sure if jit still is a thing nowadays.  But if it is, it really doesn’t relate on more than a superficial level to footwork.  Footwork = the grandbaby of house music. Jit = weird ghettotech (Detroit tracks DJ Godfather, DJ Nasty, DJ Assault) = techno.

j: What is the Teklife mantra, what narrative or story is being told?
B: Haha. Teklife is how we do shit.  It has to be experienced, so it’s really hard to define in words.  Drop down to the Southside and see what’s up.  You’ll be on teklife for a minute.

j: Who is part of Teklife, and how did it start?
B: Teklife is also people associated around the world with the tekz. You could be teklife but not a ghetto tek.  Puttin in work and grinding are the way that I got the invitation to become a tek a couple years ago.  I’ve been knowing Rashad since 2005 and the crew about as long. Ghetto teknitianz live that TEKLIFE, so that’s where that comes from. The ghettoteknitianz crew consists of Rashad, Spinn, Traxman, Gantman, Clent, Tre, me, Manny, Phil, Earl, Jana, Frost, Roland, Curtis, TMO, Donja, Lucky, AG, Taye, RP Boo, Pilsbury, Remi, Louie Cue and I know I’m forgetting someone…

Ghettoteknitianz Boylan & DJ Rashad

j: Where is juke / footwork going? What are its goals? Is it meant as a strictly Chicago sound or does it want to explode into the general electronic discourse?
B: Hey, to quote “My House” by Chuck Roberts

“In the beginning there was Jack … and Jack had a groove
And from this groove came the grooves of all grooves.
And while one day viciously throwing down on his box,
Jack boldly declared ‘Let There Be House’ and House music was born.
“I am you see, I am the creator and this is my house
And in my house there is only House Music.
But I am not so selfish because once you enter my house
it then becomes our house and our House Music.
And, you see, no one man owns house”

So where is it going? We can’t tell, but the world has begun to appreciate, modify and appropriate (so far in a fairly positive way) tracks.  My only complaint is that Youtube has misinformed many people/bloggers/internet guys/record label bosses about who’s the true talent and who made and defines tracks.

j: Has juke / footwork’s growing exposure (internationally, through magazines and blogs) changed the central elements of the styles’ sounds and its culture? Has it enhanced them or hurt them?
B: No. We do what we want for the most part, how ever good DJs and producers play to their crowds, so if Rashad/Spinn are in Europe, they change up the tracks to make the crowds go wild. If you were able to change the Southside, you could change our culture. But that’s not happening so we will keep doing what we’re doing.

My only complaint is that Youtube has misinformed many people/bloggers/internet guys/record label bosses about who’s the true talent and who made and defines tracks.  The thing about it is that footwork is really hard to interpret outside of its context.  I suggest that anyone who has not had first hand experience with the music in its element not consider themselves well versed in tracks.

I was djing at a party in San Fransisco over winter break and a guy at the party came up to me and started suggesting that if I loved spinning ‘juke’ that I should check out this person or that one (not a one from Chicago).  On the inside I was cracking up because I am good friends with and produce tracks with the inventors of this type of house music and probably don’t need a ‘juke primer’.

Extracurricular Studies:

RP Boo Interview via Dave Quam

Boylan on NPR

Mr. Boylan and his students

Doesn’t Matter

Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by jazner

PLANET MU DEBUT queued up by 100% Silk centerpiece Ital, whose Hive Mind drops February 13th.

Andrew Ryce recently caught up with Daniel Martin-McCormick for a Pitchfork Rising piece, bringing up the issue he faces from certain spheres of the electronic music community of a reluctance to accept his work as Ital into the general discourse of dance music.

Martin-McCormick’s response was twofold – “It’s not important. It’s important to make sick music, and fuck everything else”, backing that with a premiere of the first track off Hive Mind, “Doesn’t Matter (If You Love Him)”.

Sampling heavily from Lady Gaga, “Doesn’t Matter (If You Love Him)” balances space age synth beams and a thumping bass line over Gaga’s splattering vocals, a space occupying somewhere between dance-floor and tripped out headphone zone. Definitely a premiere track on the album, rivaling the super addictive “First Wave”.

Hop over to the Planet Mu site to grab your copy of Hive Mind.


Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , on January 6, 2012 by jazner

Floridian Void

(via Mixmag)

THIS TIME LAST year, Daniel Martin-McCormick first slunk into his Ital guise and led Amanda and Britt Brown’s 100% Silk label out of the gates with its first ever release, the illusory 12″ Ital’s Theme.

Fast-forward to 2012, and we find Ital prepping his most extensive work to date, Hive Mind, set to drop on Planet Mu mid-February.

“Floridian Void” is the first full cut available to our ears, although you can sample the whole album at Planet Mu’s website.

True to form, Ital remains formless – “Floridian Void” is hardly house, maybe minimally techno, but completely heady, intoxicating, and stupefyingly stuporous, aka what we’ve grown to love from Mr. Martin-McCormick.

If that ain’t enough for ya, check out this video of Ital raging at Sarah Lawrence to “Only For Tonight”, and for all the LA Silkies out there in the internets, come out and see Ital, Pharaohs, and the rest of the gang @ the SILK party January 13th. c u therrr @___@

Sleeper Cells

Posted in DJ Jazner with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by jazner

'Sleepy Head' by Sophie Blackall

ALTHOUGH HEAVY ON rotation, a few releases fell through the cracks over the course of the year and missed getting the attention they deserved from this site.

As 2011 comes to an end, jazner attempts to make amends, offering his year end lists of albums, comps and EPs overlooked or underrated.

Here, in no particular order, is the Best Of 2011: Dark Horse Edition –

Braille – Braille EP (Hotflush)


Praveen Sharma, the Percussion Lab founder representing Machinedrum’s foil as one-half of Sepalcure, produced incredible house anthems under his solo guise of Braille in 2011. “Riverbed” is a favorite, but other heaters include “Breakup“, featured on Scuba’s DJ-Kicks, as well as “The Year 3000”, released as a single back in May.

Julio Bashmore – Everyone Needs A Theme Tune EP (PMR Records)

“Ask Yourself”

No one can deny the ferocity of “Battle For Middle You“, the leading track on Julio Bashmore’s Everyone Needs A Theme Tune EP and one of 2011’s hardest jams. Don’t overlook “Ask Yourself“, though, a sexy heater that can hold its own on the dance-floor. Stay tuned for more Bashmore, his upcoming release, Riff Wrath, scheduled to drop later this month on Future Boogie.

Pearson Sound / Ramadanman – Fabriclive 56 (Fabric)

Joy Orbison – GR Etiquette (NTS Radio Rip)

Addison Groove – Fuk Tha 101

One of the best compilations / mixes of 2011, Pearson Sound / Ramadanman’s contribution to Fabric’s long running series is packed with gems. Above, you can hear two of the best, Joy Orbison’s “GR Etiquette”, which features a prominent sample from a certain star from the movie Ray that has prevented it from getting a proper release, as well as Addison Groove’s creepy juke fueled “Fuk Tha 101”. The mix showcases everything from Shangaan (Tiyiselani Vomaseve’s “Vanghoma”), to Night Slugs off-kilter wailers (Jam City’s “Night Mode” & Girl Unit’s “IRL”) to raucous bass bangers (D1’s “Subzero” & SX vs Ramadanman “Woo Glut”). A real rager record to let play out.

Suzanne Kraft – Green Flash EP (Running Back)

“Morning Come”

Suzanne Kraft first popped up on the radar with the track “Turning“, available on the Green Flash EP, which starts off the Young Adults mix featured a few months ago. A dublab labrat and contributor to Pharaoh’s live sets, Suzanne Kraft churns out some of the foofiest, funnest house / disco tracks on this EP for the much celebrated Running Back imprint. Rumors swirl about SK in 2012, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime, let Green Flash power your late-night adventures.

Rustie – Glass Swords (Warp)


Like most albums that eventually become a favorite and absolute must have, Rustie’s Glass Swords was a complete turn-off, and jazner wanted nothing to do with it. But after a few more listens, the LP blossomed into an intricate, unusual, stunning, and progressive piece that proved to be a game changer in the electronic music discourse. Glass Swords is the perfect title for this album, which features a glassy, crystalline, kaleidoscope framework. Bombastic synths, wild bass lines and ADD melodies reign supreme. “Surph” is aurally amazing, the finale synth phrase does it for jazner every time. Other keepers include “Ultra Thizz”, “All Nite”, and “City Star”. GET THIS ALBUM.

DJ Diamond – Flight Muzik (Planet Mu)

“Pop The Trunk”


A super sleeper, DJ Diamond’s Flight Muzik got way lost in the shuffle, but nonetheless was busted out in the numerous footwork battles jazner found himself in… 2011 was  major year for footwork and juke, and no one got more behind it than Planet Mu. DJ Diamond, who found himself on Bangs & Works Vol. 1, busts out his solo arsenal and drops mad heat with tracks like “Snare Fanfare”, “Rep Yo Clique” and “Go Hard”. Worth coppin if you’re a fan of the footwork.

Bonus Track

Osunlade – “Envision” (Âme Remix)

Just cuz…

Kevin Saunderson dropped it when jazner saw him live in late 2011, and Sepalcure rocks it in their mix for Self-Titled. It’s so good.

Hive Buzz

Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , on November 18, 2011 by jazner

THE MAN WHO set 100% Silk in motion with his Ital’s Theme 12″, the label’s first ever release early this year, is taking his talents to Planet Mu and prepping a 5-track EP to be released February 2012.

Daniel Martin-McCormick, the producer better known under his off-kilter house alias Ital, is on deck to drop Hive Mind, pictured above, and so far it sounds packed with plenty of left-field singles. 

Preview Hive Mind at Planet Mu’s site.

From the thick intergalactic space house of “Doesn’t Matter (If You Love Him)”, to the rattling tribal disco rhythms of “First Wave”, Hive Mind sounds primed to take dance-floors off the beaten path and into the weirdo wonderland that has become a staple of Ital’s sound.

Really looking forward to this one once it’s available.  Check back for a full review later this winter.

Git Buck

Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by jazner

Young Smoke – Wouldn’t Get Far

DJ Earl – Hit Da Bootz

Tha Pope – When You

THE WORLD MAY not be ready to fully embrace footwork, but that ain’t stopping it from storming in and staking out its role in the discourse of electronic music.

After the success of its first compilation, footwork’s biggest proponent Planet Mu decided to make jazner‘s dreams come true and follow up with Bangs & Works Vol. 2.

Maintaining the abrasive, ghetto, raw and buck wild vibe of Vol. 1, Vol. 2 dips into the softer side of gangsta.

The comp’s standout track comes from Boylan, whose “Bullet Proof Soul” ratchets Sade’s classic to footwork’s standard 160 BPM realm while keeping the soul and romance of the original.  Young Smoke’s “Wouldn’t Get Far” continues this melodic thread, balancing juke grit with pillowy R&B swoons that provide a comfortable introduction to those still weary of footwork’s freakiness.

Don’t get it twisted, though, Vol. 2 isn’t soft by any means – just dip into DJ Metro’s “Hit Da Bootz”, which scoffs at foreplay and romance altogether and cuts to the chase of what every brute wants to do.

Other tracks, like OG DJ Spinn’s “Crazy ‘n’ Deranged”, DJ Metro’s “Burn Dat Boi”, DJ T-Why’s “Orbits”, and Jlin’s “Asylum” have plenty of dark, creepy, Freddy Krueger-esque nightmarish vibes, keeping juke traditionalists from feeling gypped or abandoned.

A firm believer in the footwork movement, Vol. 2 builds on Vol. 1‘s firm foundation and will be rattling jazner‘s rear-view mirror and bedroom walls until it all can’t take the bass anymore.  Don’t be scurred, preview the record at Planet Mu’s site and join the crew.  You’re already late..