The Best Footwork Releases in 2016
2016 will be remembered for Brexit, Donald Trump, and an abnormal number of high profile celebrity deaths. But 2016 was not all bad. Teklife launched as a label in 2016 with three essential releases, further cementing their place at the top of the footwork tree. The Era dance crew branched out into rapping over tracks. Other labels around the world, such as Foot Juice and Good Street, began to establish themselves. Here is a look back at some of my favourite releases in 2016, another great year for music and footwork.
It was a quiet January this year, but you can always rely on Traxman to come up with the goods, kicking off the year by giving the 80s and 90s the Traxman treatment.
LA-based label TAR presented their Class of 2016, including this typically slick number from DBK.
Belgian label Foot Juice came to the fore, starting with their worldwide edition of The Guide.
An excellent series of Adult Swim Singles began with this track from Paypal, Earl and Taye, a whirlwind journey of thick, acidic melodies sandwiched by a lush
2016 was a banner year for Good Street Records, with a series of standout releases, including this 5-track EP from EQ Why
Launching Teklife as a label, Afterlife presented a behemoth of tracks by DJ Rashad, each in collaboration with another Teklife member. Highlights: Come Close, Ratchey City and bonus track High on Hope
I talked earlier about Foot Juice coming to the fore this year, and this release was a big part of that. Two of my favourite tracks this year, U Get Burned is a classic, minimal track, while We Bout That Turn Up is futuristic and feverish.
An excellent first EP from TOG dancer and friend of Teklife Jalen, with Manny making two of a number of features this year.
Moveltraxx continued their excellent Street Bangers Factory series with tracks from Earl + Manny, and Gunjack.
Another of the deadly Good Street releases this year from the prolific Traxman:
DJ Clent followed last year’s footwork album of the year ‘Last Bus To Lake Park’ with six tracks of classic Clent. Stand out: Enchanted
Following ‘Dose’ on Adult Swim Singles, Jlin’s ‘Downtown’ breaks down samples into new shapes.
Is it Hank or Big Hank? I don’t know. But there is no question of the quality of ‘Go City’, which includes Gant-Man and Jana Rush-featuring Adderall anthem ‘Need a Rall’.
The second official Teklife release, DJ Earl’s ‘Open Your Eyes’ pushed his sound into new territory, merging cinematic and classic footwork sounds.
September was all about Traxman v Japan with 9 Traxman originals given the remix treatment by some of the best Japanese footwork producers.
The Era pulled out all the stops this year, taking on the challenge of recording a rap mixtape, with the help of the Teklife crew on production duty. One of the standout tracks is Queen Crystal’s ‘Thoughts (Interlude)’, shouting out female footworkers.
After a 5-year long wait, DJ Diamond is back with more of his off-kilter, twisted sound, testing the best of dancers.
Teklife young gun DJ Taye followed last year’s excellent ‘Break It Down’ with another Hyperdub classic, featuring glistening standout Burnin Ya Boa.
We were also graced with another dose of BUUUUU with ‘The Ultimate’, six brand new but typically BUUUUU tracks.
The final Teklife release of the year featured two of the tracks of the year featuring Rashad and Spinn: New Start and AM Track, with one to watch Salva providing an excellent remix of the latter.
A mention must go to Elijah Jackson, a respected and loved footwork dancer whose death hit the Chicago footwork community hard. Check out this track by DJ Clent, written before Eli’s death, which pays tribute to the man.
With 2017 just round the corner, my wishes for the new year are: that Hyperdub LP from DJ Spinn, Teklife releases from DJ Manny and Tripletrain, and more great releases from Beatdown, Foot Juice, Good Street and many more labels all over the world. Oh, and for 2017 to see us win back some of the people who voted for Brexit + Trump and hopefully will not vote for Le Pen.