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Gary, Indiana, producer Jlin toys with footwork’s conventions

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The best footwork producers show how the fast-and-furious Chicago-born sound can seemingly push an MPC drum machine to the limit as much as it can dancers sweating it out during battles. Footwork’s chest-rattling assault of clustered rhythms is at times hard to fathom—how can two human hands keep a piece of hardware on the brink of bursting into a pile of springs while still making it sing? But Jerrilynn Patton, aka producer Jlin, has advanced the street-dance genre in part by embracing sounds best described as “natural.” Patton might employ what sounds like samples of, say, someone playing a hand drum as opposed to looping synthesized percussion. Her new sophomore album, Black Origami (Planet Mu), is inspired by collaborations with Indian movement artist Avril Stormy Unger, and on it she subtly toys with footwork conventions without sacrificing its frenzied energy and heady dance focus. The clattering single “Nyakinyua Rise” spins clean, sharply defined percussion into a frenetic cut that feels like it’s still gestating and subject to change at a moment’s notice.   v

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