Footwork lost its best-known proponent when DJ Rashad died last April. He did more than anyone to push and promote the juttering, rapidfire Chicagoan form of dance music, and along with the likes of DJ Manny, RP Boo and DJ Earl, brought soul to the sound. Jlin continues that lineage with a debut album that moves the genre beyond the dancefloor. Unlike artists such as DJ Nate, who chopped up Lil Wayne samples in order to make staccato statements of intent, Jlin uses her own instrumentation. There are some samples here (quotes from the traumatic Joan Crawford biopic Mommie Dearest are spliced in on Abnormal Restriction), but they’re not the main thrust of a track; on Black Ballets, Black Diamond and Mansa Musa its Jlin’s own compositions that stand out. This is no sanitised version of footwork, though: the sound palette is still unremittingly brutal, with bpms whirling around the 190 mark. As Burial is to dubstep, Jlin is an artist who belongs to her genre, but has an eye on where it could go next.
Jlin: Dark Energy review – footwork star pushing the genre forward
Lanre Bakare is a special correspondent for the Guardian