In a recent interview with FACT, Planet Mu boss Mike Paradinas expressed relief that Hyperdub are, with DJ Rashad’s Rollin EP, taking up the footwork baton. In fact, the appearance of the scene figurehead on Kode9’s imprint has a whiff of inevitability to it. Kode9’s sets have been laced with footwork for some time, and his forthcoming single, “Xingfu Lu,” draws heavily on the style. Still, it’s gratifying to see the sound forge further onto UK soil, and Rashad seems the best man for the job. The producer’s recent output has become crisper, the hooks bolder and the structures more involved—a refinement that displays an awareness of his growing global audience.
The Rollin EP’s title track is a case in point, an expertly fractured R&B ballad underpinned with a halftime lope drawn from hip-hop. “Broken Hearted,” produced with frequent collaborator Spinn, follows a similar blueprint but is even more brilliantly soppy. Elsewhere, the producer tips a nod to London’s rich musical heritage in the jungle stylings of “Let It Go.” Masterful breakbeat editing at the opening, coupled with diva samples and aqueous string pads, would almost make it a pastiche exercise were it not for a clipped, agitated quality that’s inimitably footwork. Finally, “Drums Please” with DJ Manny uses breakbeats to more deranged ends, though really it’s just a canvas on which to paint an excellently garish synth melody. Rarely has footwork sounded so assured.