The rise of footwork as a formidable sub-genre of electronic music over the last few years has raised an interesting question: how do you listen to the stuff? On one level, the Chicago-borne sound is purely functional; its high-BPM tempos, disorienting bass lines, and hypnotically repetitive approach to sampling form the perfect soundtrack for the juke-derived footwork style of dancing, which favors fast feet and athletic skill. Near the top of this decade, footwork caught the collective ear of the always-hungry-for-something-new UK dance scene: Forward-thinking label Planet Mu delivered a smattering of footwork-associated releases near the end of 2010, including the first volume of the scene-surveying Bangs & Works compilation. Much of the footwork music created around that time was fascinating, inspiring—and, as home-listening material, maddening.
Double Cup closes out a particularly fruitful year for Rashad, a two-decade-plus veteran of the scene who started dancing juke at 12 and began honing his DJ and production skills just a few years later in the early 90s. In March, he made his debut on Hyperdub with the Rollin’ EP, an expressive collection that featured the astounding “Let It Go”, a game-changer of a tune with rolling, hyperspeed drums and an evocative vocal sample; in July, he dropped another solid EP, I Don’t Give a Fuck, the title track of which appears on Double Cup, too. (“Let It Go”, a superior cut and arguably Rashad’s strongest track to date, is conspicuously absent here, but the record’s overall high level of consistency makes its exclusion a negligible gripe.)