Best Footwork Album of All Time

Traxman, Da Mind of Traxman

Critics' Picks

I considered many candidates for this award, including the comprehensive Bangs & Works compilations from 2010 and 2011, DJ Nate's disjunctive, minimalist 2010 album Da Track Genious (all three, like Da Mind of Traxman, released by the excellent Planet Mu imprint), and DJ Rashad's sample-clashing Just a Taste: Vol. 1 (on Ghettophile). What distinguishes Da Mind of Traxman is its cohesion. The samples and beats always complement one another—for instance, on "Itz Crack" a Ronnie Laws sample (the same one in Black Moon's "Who Got da Props") is combined with hyper­active, pitter-pattering drumbeats to sound like a jacuzzi. Traxman's borrowings come from all over—AC/DC's "Let There Be Rock" ("Let There Be Rockkkkk"), the intro from Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" ("Lifeeeee Is for Ever"), acid-house squelches ("1988")—yet the album has a distinct arc and remains compelling throughout. Though Traxman's mind is overstuffed with ideas and experiments, he's assembled them with an expert logic that makes this album inexorably listenable.