Label/Cat#: Teklife – TEKLIFE005
Release date: 2017-10-06
Quality: 320 kbps
Style: Leftfield Bass
1. DJ Chap, DJ Manny – Way You Move feat. DJ Chap (Original Mix)3:13
2. DJ Manny, Sucia – You Looking Good feat. Sucia (Original Mix)3:11
3. DJ Manny – Like That (Original Mix)3:12
4. DJ Manny, Dj Taye – Zancrash feat. DJ Taye (Original Mix)2:47
5. DJ Lucky, DJ Manny – Boop Me Down feat. DJ LUCKY (Original Mix)3:07
6. DJ Manny – Ghost Out (Original Mix)3:47
7. DJ Lucky, DJ Manny, Dj Taye – I’ll Hurt Ya Baby feat. DJ LUCKY feat. DJ Taye (Original Mix)3:00
8. DJ Manny, Dj Taye – Life In This Bitch feat. DJ Taye (Original Mix)2:50
9. DJ Manny, Dj Taye – If U Want It feat. DJ Taye (Original Mix)3:36
10. DJ Manny, Dj Taye – Greenlight (Wanna Go) feat. DJ Taye (Original Mix)3:50
DJ Manny’s kept a low profile compared with some of his peers in the Chicago footwork scene. He’s mostly released on small, digital-only labels, and he doesn’t play a ton of out-of-town gigs. But back home in the neighborhoods where footwork was born, he’s widely acknowledged as one of the best dancers out there. When it comes to footwork, dancing is as much a part of the story as the music, and his grasp on both has made him one of Teklife’s secret weapons. Once a protege of the late DJ Rashad, Manny’s finally stepping out of the shadows with his first album for the label, staking out a sound that’s undoubtedly Teklife and yet very much his own.
Greenlight is all about sparseness and simplicity. Apart from a few vocal loops and the occasional breakbeat, it doesn’t have a lot of samples, unlike other notable footwork albums from the last year, like DJ Earl’s Open Your Eyes or Jana Rush’s Pariah. He opts instead for precise drum programming and clever synth lines. Even when collaborating with other producers, the tracks here never deviate far from a highly concentrated sound built on raw textures, intense bass pressure and highly advanced rhythms. “Ghost Out,” in particular, channels the startlingly physical low-end reminiscent of early dubstep; it even has the uneasy suspense that made that music so powerful.
The unruly synth line on “If U Want It” could be Kode9 or Ikonika, though it’s filtered through the influence of DJ Rashad’s computerized soul. Of all the footwork albums that have come out in the three years since he passed away, Greenlight may be the one that best captures the former scene leader’s spirit. Like Rashad, Manny balances subtle sophistication with a sense of humor, which comes across in the tracks’ silly, sometimes suggestive vocal chants. DJ Manny’s not as flashy as someone like RP Boo, or as unusual as Jlin. His approach instead applies smart flourishes to the footwork blueprint.
The other thing he seems to have inherited from DJ Rashad is his adventurous ear. The album opens with a couple of soulful tracks, “Way You Move” and “You Lookin Good,” which are all about sweet melodies and gentle synth chords. But then a kind of unhinged dissonance starts to set in with “Zancrash,” featuring DJ Taye, which busts out of the gate with an evil pocket calculator melody layered over an air raid siren. It keeps spiraling steadily in that direction, stirring up a feverish, loopy frenzy of vocal quips and alien sounds. The last two tracks, both agitated and boastful, capture the intensely focused energy of two footwork dancers trying to best each other. By the end of Greenlight we’ve seen a few different sides of DJ Manny, which makes it a nice introduction to an artist who’s long deserved his shot at the spotlight.