Jlin Free Fall [EP]

[Planet Mu; 2015]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: footwork, juke
Others: DJ Roc, RP Boo, BOTC, DJ Diamond

Jlin comes out of nowhere and really gets you thinking about how we haven’t even gotten to the surface of what footwork suggests today. It morphs left and right, in real life in little underground clubs and weeknight DJ sets at bars, and virtually on SoundCloud, where artists pop out of the pixelated smog, groups assemble, The FADER fades in, Pitchfork pitchforks, and as the underground uncovers itself, we move along, inside the genre, outside the genre, outside looking in, inside looking out, in at this spectacular take on dance music that challenges how to experience it while also guiding you along — instructing you, step by step — on how you should experience it. Jlin’s music knows how to kill two birds with one stone like that. Free Fall establishes its own foundation in the landscape — its own roof and chimney — while also going out there: mutating, trekking unknowingly like a Lewis & Clark with the feet and the beat, and ultimately transforming our relationship with space.

Armed perhaps with drum machines and synthesizers, Jlin goes in, arranges the signifiers and lets us do the detection. We meet at the borders and enter the depths, puzzled by the vernacular. The strange “there-but-not-there” feeling of hearing the same hi-hat played out a million, perhaps a billion times: as many times as there are atoms inside that hi-hat. We get used to that. We arrived here because of it. To hear these sounds, to settle down in the slight discomfort caused by the anxiety and the warlike patterns, to say, finally, at last, with a big breath, that this completes my personality and this symbolizes my psyche. This music, footwork, like fixed points in space, grips me, gets me caught in its algebra and mathematics and allows moments of culture to zoom in, like on “BuZilla,” when I hear a sample of Godzilla and the infamous “GET OVER HERE” command from Scorpion in Mortal Kombat; a sound, mind you, that I’ve known since a toddler. After all these years, the geometry remains, suspended in nudity, with all the world closing in, pulsing darkly.

This EP finishes strong with “Nandi,” a slow juke featuring dismembered, disjunctive voices floating in a gel punctuated by toms. Like how Coltrane flirted with atonality, Jlin does the same with arhythmic structures. But she never quite crosses over, choosing to let her song just slightly get wonky before landing on the moment sure of itself, sure of where it goes, sure of how it speaks, how it says what it does, how it moves, how it escapes the gel, only to become gelled again, glued, quantized, unquantized, unglued, sticky but moving, free, danceable, attached to signifiers but trying to signify something alternative, a.k.a. Gary, Indiana instead of Chicago, near but still far, a state away, technically, with all the compositional intricacies still there, but also not there.

Links: Jlin - Planet Mu

Most Read