Kode9, Xingfu Lu / Kan

[Hyperdub]


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Hyperdub boss Steve Goodman’s first production outing since 2011 is as lone-standing as ever. Having followed Planet Mu’s lead recently in his DJ and label excursions into the world of footwork, this 12″ incorporates the blunt, technical syncopation of RP Boo, DJ Spinn, and of course DJ Rashad, the latter of whom rules the tracklist of Goodman’s recent contribution to Rinse’s mix series. The unnerving discordance in “Xingfu Lu”‘s 8-bit synth lead may be fed by an interest in Chinese musical scales, as suggested by the reference to a Shangai street in the title, but this could be a bit of a red herring, given how much it relates to the lo-fi scratch and buzz of past Hyperdub artist Quarta 330. The switch-ups and resets of footwork — developing later into a kind of scratched-CD hypnosis — correspond with the layered rhythms and varied timbres that Kode9’s beats have long utilized, not to mention the perfectly weighted sub-frequency propulsion below. As the producer’s work often does, “Xingfu Lu” wins you over on an almost-conceptual level, in that you become so enthralled by its implausibility and originality that you can’t resist going deep inside.

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After you’ve finished forcing yourself to enjoy the nerdy and impractical A-side; “Kan” winds up and releases a scarily taut drum and sub attack that is far more true to footwork’s ideals. Kode9’s dubstep was often faster than almost anything else at the time, and here you realize his production really works at these exhilarating speeds. Heart-flutteringly tense strings co-ordinate with kicks that always seem to be outrunning your ears, and a medley of sound effects and percussive ingredients from inexplicable sources are equally worrying. In contrast to the first track, this is streamlined and effortlessly effective. Such a broad wrenching of various previously unconnected components shouldn’t — and obviously doesn’t — blend in the way we normally expect a mix of musical influences to, but Goodman has never tried to make his music sit still. In the feinting, velocity, and double-bluffing footfalls of the Chicago sound, he’s found yet another interesting chemical to introduce into his fizzingly exciting laboratory of genre-mashing, polyrhythmic weirdness.

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