Chrissy Murderbot got his hands on the footwork sound of Chicago back in 2011. His take on the genre was a better fit with international bass music, using higher production values and more accessible source material. Chris Shively was no stranger to high-tempo club music. Before footwork, he did ragga jungle and happy hardcore. He even ran a blog devoted to obscure dance subgenres. The cheekily-titled Greatest Hits is his first album since 2011's footwork-obsessed Women's Studies, but unlike that record's kaleidoscopic array of party favours, this one's streamlined and focused.
If there's one word to describe Greatest Hits, it's smooth. Shively softens the inherently staccato stab of footwork with elongated R&B melodies and plushy chords—not quite the torn-fabric of, say, Bangs & Works. Most footwork is claustrophobic and asphyxiated, but here he lets his tracks unfurl for longer, giving them room to breathe. Even the characteristic bass stabs feel like puffs of warm air. When he does go for footwork's choked panic, it works against him. The wobble barrage of "Pew Pew" is more unpleasant than invigorating, and Shively could have made the bland pastiche "Slang It" in his sleep.
Exactly half of Greatest Hits is devoted to remixes of Shively's original tracks. It's an awkward decision that ends up with his presumed disciples upstaging him. Star Slinger transforms "Pew Pew" into slinky house with rousing breakdowns, and Russia's Pixelord turns "What Should I Do" into the soulful banger it was meant to be. Both feel like the kind of genre hybrids that Shively could be making, given his encyclopedic knowledge and experience.
At a time when even genre kingpins Rashad & Spinn are expanding their horizons, crafting albums of imaginative dance music that cribs from hip-hop, ghettotech and so much more, Murderbot's original productions fall flat, despite their competence. Above all, Greatest Hits sounds safe, and that's the one thing that music this fast should never be.
Tracklist01. Get Wet Baby
02. Slang It
03. Waffle House
04. What Should I Do
05. What You Are To Me
06. Pew Pew
08. Pew Pew (Star Slinger remix)
09. What Should I Do (Slick Shoota remix)
10. Why (Cardopusher & Pacheko remix)
11. What Should I Do (Pixelord remix)
12. Get Wet Baby (DJ Fulltono remix)
13. Slang It (Sidney Looper remix)
14. Pew Pew (Makumba Sound remix)