Various Artists

Bangs & Works, Vol. 1: A Chicago Footwork Compilation

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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries

For a Chicago-born style that’s spearheaded by young clubgoers and spread by the Internet, footwork is surprisingly abstract, combining the minimalism and fast beats per minute of ghetto-tech with the traditional boom of bass music. Top this off with tightly cut samples that feature either strange vocal lines or off-kilter melodies and you’ve got footwork, a genre that both DJ Assault and Throbbing Gristle can agree on. In other words, it’s not for everyone, but the Planet Mu label’s Bangs & Works, Vol. 1: A Chicago Footwork Compilation is a good taste test. Featuring the genre’s biggest names like DJ Roc and DJ Nate (both who have released albums on Planet Mu) plus RP Boo (the commonly accepted father of footwork), the set earns cred right off the bat, and with decent liner notes plus a running order that flows very well, it becomes a necessary primer. As far as highlights, check the trunk-rumbling “Jungle Juke” from Tha Pope, which comes with a “Lion Sleeps Tonight” sample, or DJ Roc’s unforgiving juggernaut dubbed “Fuck Dat,” which pummels the listener with its title and some neighbor-waking bass. Roc’s Junior Reid-sampling “One Blood” is another little monster, and if you want examples of footwork’s love of early synth pioneers, check DJ Spinn doing the Tangerine Dream thing on “2020” or RP Boo sounding like John Carpenter was his hero on “Eraser,” which also comes with the most unmusical “Live and Let Die” sample you can imagine. These short blasts of bass and fury are best experienced in the club and/or in a wicked mix, so the set isn’t necessarily the common footwork experience. Still, if you want an unmixed history lesson that covers the major players, Bangs & Works, Vol. 1 is the computer funk mosh pit you desire.

blue highlight denotes track pick