Nine years after DJ Nate's Da Trak Genious helped introduce Chicago's frenetic footwork sound to the world in 2010, the producer returned with his much-anticipated follow-up. During this time, the regional style had expanded into a global movement, and its influence has been felt throughout numerous styles of electronic music and hip-hop. Nate, however, had basically abandoned the style by the time the album was released, instead pursuing a career in hip-hop and R&B, and eventually scoring a local hit with 2012's "Gucci Goggles," an anthem of Chicago's bopping scene. Nate took some extended time away from the spotlight due to health problems, but he periodically teased new footwork material, and after feeling an increasing urge to revisit the style, he finally released a second album through Planet Mu in 2019. Featuring tracks dating back to 2010, the album finds Nate's style practically untouched since his debut, with perhaps slightly more spiffed-up production. But it's still just as strange, manic, and inventive as it was in the beginning. Like Genious, Take Off Mode is another mixture of righteous aggression ("You Ain't Ready to Battle"), melancholy yearning ("Come Back"), and brain-scrambling sample choppage ("Get Off Me [Betta Get Back]"), and it still sounds beamed from another planet. On "Planet Mu," Nate even gives a shout-out to the label which gave him worldwide exposure, while declaring his return to footwork. Far removed from the developments of the Teklife collective and other figures of the scene, DJ Nate stands out just as much as he did at the beginning of the decade.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson