With his jazzy, funk-inflected beats, Deejay Earl, who celebrates his birthday today, stands as one of the biggest up-and-comers in the Chicago footwork scene. What makes Earl stand out is his keen ear for off-kilter samples, as well as his flexible sound, one that comfortably and effortlessly switches between downtempo dub and upbeat breakbeats. Last summer’s Audio Fixx LP got a lot of us talking, in part because it took the best elements from a variety of current dance scenes (juketronic, house, chopped and screwed) and blended them together in an intoxicating sonic slurry — sort of like one of those juice drinks you make with the Magic Blender, but better. Deejay Earl’s take on Rihanna’s 2011 hit “You’re the One” is a continuation of his pluralistic musical paradigm. He emphasizes the track’s latent reggae and dancehall elements, marrying them to skittering, disorienting drum loops. A strange marriage, but it works, especially with the synth flourishes that add that subtle jazzy touch without being too over the top.
• Deejay Earl: https://soundcloud.com/djearlteckz