Review: Teklife Vol 1 represents the first release for footwork trailblazer DJ Rashad's new Lit City Trax imprint, created in collaboration with DJ Spinn and associate J-Cush, and a label which promises to be the definitive label for Chicago's well established footwork scene. At a massive 20 tracks this album is a meaty proposition, and it's testament to Rashad's talent that the album is entirely free of filler. Showing the producer's talent for swelling low end and threadbare percussion, album highlights include his excellent DJ Spinn collaboration "We Trippy Mane" with nods to Juicy J, the analogue mayhem of "She Gonna Go", the manic 303 and 808 assault of "Da Life" and the juxtaposition of smooth Rhodes chords, horn samples and furious percussive rattle on "Kush Ain't Loud".
Review: Following on from the first installment of his razor-edged footwork opus, Spinn is back with more of the futuristic, rhythmically dextrous flex. It's noticeable how much less dictated by the dance battles the music is now, letting melody and texture take precedent. Of course the beats still come in strange and alien configurations, but applied to a more thoughtful backdrop. "Horn Chemist" drops some devilish Eastern sample trickery over soothing Rhodes-esque notes, but that's not to say it's all sweetness and light. "Do My Dance" and "Dance Floor Packed" keep the energy up high while the ghetto house roots are in full effect.
Review: Shangaan Shake is the complete document of the remixes Honest Jon's commissioned to pit leftfield Western artists against the Shangaan electro of South Africa. It's an all-star cast, from house heroes to dubstep tinkerers. Mark Ernestus turns out an elegant slice of dub techno, while DJ Rashad and RP Boo throw down a sweaty slice of footwork action, and Peverelist plies a typically complex rhythm at a slower, seductive tempo. Out of all the remixers, Theo Parrish is the one unafraid to maintain the original BPM, which leaves his remix stark against the multitude of other tracks. Essential.