Boomkat Product Review:
'Autobiography' is Jlin's soundtrack to the staged life story of eminent dancer and choreographer Wayne McGregor, which opened in October 2017 and is still running at Sadler’s Wells, London.
For an artist whose début album opened with a track called ‘Black Ballet’ - in reference to the art of Chicago footwork - the synchronicity between Jlin’s music and McGregor’s choreography is patently obvious, and this album is perhaps one of the smartest unions between those disciplines that we could hope for.
Jlin’s music has always driven us nuts in the best way - calling to mind a statement by Steve Goodman some years back, in which he effectively stated that the most exciting music to him is one that physically demands the body to move in unfamiliar ways, as he first experienced with the radical, muscle-memory reprogramming rhythms of hardcore and jungle in the early ‘90s, and especially in relative context to what preceded it.
In that sense, Jlin’s releases have persistently provided some of the most sensational music we’ve heard this decade, sparking our minds and bodies into action in the rarest, maddest, most inexorable ways by essentially, physically breaking and disrupting the mould of the same old, same old line-dancing music that too often passes for club music.
For Wayne’s ‘Autobiography’, Jlin renders his life story in a compellingly intricate musical language of syncopated pointillism, percolating her drums and symphonic orchestrations in weightless formations that mirror bodies in flight, touching the ‘floor as little as possible. But that’s only 2/3rd’s of the story, as Jlin vacillates these elegantly hardcore rhythms with gorgeous, beat-less moments of pastoral lushness, classical keys and glyding ambient pauses which, by contrast, better highlight the cyclonic torsion of her expressive rhythm programming, while simultaneously demonstrating the distance travelled between Footwork’s roots in the streets of Chicago, and its unique similarity with the so called “high art” of western culture.
Don’t get it twisted tho, we’re highlighting an obvious distinction, it’s not about prizing one over the other, but celebrating and acknowledging the brilliant results of this unusual but evidently, completely natural-fitting union of styles and patterns.