Boomkat Product Review:
The sounds of Jlin as performed by Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion Ensemble, on this Pulitzer prize-nominated mazza, her 3rd solo LP for Planet Mu
Since emerging with ‘Erotic Heat’ on the catalytic ‘Bangs & Works Vol.2’ set in 2011, Gary, Indiana’s Jlin has blazed a path for new dance music that has intersected SOPHIE, Holly Herndon, and Wayne McGregor, and has seen her freak ‘floors across the world. The six virtuosic footwork permutations of ‘Perspective’ build on her experience of writing music for the choreography of McGregor’s ‘Autobiography’ by working with Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion Ensemble, who supply vibrant drum tones which Jlin shapes into this mini-LP, and sibling to 2021’s electrifying ‘Embryo’ EP.
Using Third Coast Percussion Ensemble's input, ’Perspective’ rudely outlines Jlin’s singular sense of proprioception for bodies in flight with a dizzying feat of poly-rhythmic imagination and unique sense of tension and release. It’s footwork factored for 2023, galvanised with up-to-the-second production and exploring its binds or similarities with other forms of historically rhythmelodic musics, surely bearing similarities with gamelan as much as drill and US electro as much as hard contemporary Afro club. For us, only the likes of Jana Rush from footwork quarters, Nazar’s militant batida, Lechuga Zafiro’s dembow intricacies, or Gooooose’s ballistic physics can weigh up against Jlin in the contemporary sphere, and even then, she’s out there.
Opening out with echoes of Mbalax drum cadences in the slosh of ‘Paradigm’, she zips up liquid-limbed torque for bruxist ravers in ‘Obscure’, while pushing into Heinrich Mueller-esque sci-fi abstract on ‘Fourth Perspective’, or definitely Chi-style madness like DJ MC meets Jana Rush on ‘Derivative’, and more simply kills with the pure percussive genius of ‘Dissonance’, or soothes with the iridescent, Reichian energies of ‘Duality. It’s all proof, where needed, to the prowess and mutability of her shatterproof arrangements that side-eye line-dancing bores and dare-to-differ generic restrictions in deadly style. While we’re full aware of the dancing to architecture analogy, the way she expresses links between dance musics and futurist Afro-American electronics is felt powerfully as ever here.