Boomkat Product Review:
Teklife catalyst DJ Manny returns with a typically sinuous, minimalist volley of his footwork soul in motion, starring guest chops by DJ Rashad (†), DJ Phil, and SUCIA!
Highly active since 2010, when footwork really put a vital toe in dance music’s behind, DJ Manny can be hailed a pioneer and bastion of its 2nd wave, keenly regarded for his deftest style of feet-off-the-ground aerosoul. ‘Hypnotised’ is the perfect summation of his sound in 2023, where the ghosts of classic chicago club music - from soul to house - surface in a brand of ephemeral, whipsmart dancefloor pressure that also ideally lends itself well to floating around in headphones. Where footwork's leading ladies, Jlin and Jana Rush, have gone hard and experimental in recent years, DJ Manny can be heard to yoke the sound back to road/club ready fundamentals, but still flashing with the sense of futurism that buzzed us all so hard when WalaCam and DJ Nate tackle spread to wider audiences via forums and the likes in late ’08.
Blessed with access to his archive, Planet Mu pull together 13 thrilling trax that speak to the compelling emotive range and torque of Manny’s music. Seductive, not forceful, ‘Hypnotised’ serves a superb portrait of the artist between the airborne swing and autotuned vapours of SUCIA! on ‘Hard Drive’, and the lip-smacking meld of toe-tip pointillism and keening deep house chords on ‘Deep in my Mind’. He proves equally adept at jungle-spliced footwork on ‘WTF Goin On’ and ‘Lost in da Jungle’ as his syncopation of early dubstep bass and typewriter drums in the title tune. The searing synth lead graffiti of ‘Ooh baby’ with DJ Rashad is a clear standout, and he sets scalps tingling with the full wingspan hyperboogie of ‘You N You’ ft. DJ Phil, whilst ‘Want U Bad’ is comparable with the weirdo UK spins on footwork characterised by Kode 9 or Rian Treanor mutations, and the upfront madness of ‘Opera’ and a jagged ‘Turn Me Up’ are just distinctly built with that psycho Chi life force and discipline that makes windy city music so coveted worldwide.