- As usual with Teklife, most of the tracks on Taso's album, New Start, are collaborative efforts with other members of the crew. It's his first release for the Chicago footwork label, and it's a bit of a mixed bag, with inspired moments as well as awkward ones. The best tunes, "New Start" and "AM Track," feature DJ Spinn and the late DJ Rashad, whom the crew continues to memorialize by reinventing his unfinished tracks. Both are built on warm, soulful melodies that suggest a wistful nostalgia, like dancing outdoors on the last day of summer. They have an emotional depth and dynamism you won't find elsewhere on this record.
There are seven tracks on New Start and almost as many stylistic mutations represented. "Don't Get Mad," featuring Gant-Man, is a booty juke brag track about stealing someone else's girlfriend at the club. As far as juke and ghetto house goes, it's not that vulgar, compared to, say, the Paul Johnson single "Suck My Candy Cane." But where a lot of those tracks are so ridiculously over-the-top that they're hilarious, this one smacks of run-of-the-mill machismo, and ends up feeling bland.
There are also a couple of breakbeat tracks: the jungle-footwork hybrid "Bussin," featuring DJ Manny and DJ Tre, and the album closer, "Da Capo Al Coda," a sparse hip-hop instrumental made with DJ Earl. "Bussin" does the trick with its colossal bassline built from pitched 808 bass drums, but the samples aren't particularly memorable and the production quality leaves something to be desired. "Da Capo Al Coda" seems like an early sketch for a very interesting idea that ultimately doesn't do much, which is strange considering DJ Earl's excellent album from last year—a fully-formed statement that fleshed out a singular aesthetic.
Taso's only solo track on the album falls flat. Its 160-BPM dubstep feels more or less paint-by-numbers, from the awkward wobble bass to the dark atmospherics and dub samples. New Start's most sophisticated moments offer brief flashbacks to Double Cup, Rashad's game-changing album from 2013. But where Rashad's best work was light and agile like an expert dancer, some of Taso's tracks feel like they're dragging their feet.
01. New Start feat. DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn
02. Don't Get Mad feat. Gant-Man
03. Bussin feat. DJ Manny & DJ Tre
04. AM Track feat. DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn
05. In The Green Room feat. DJ Taye
06. Murda Base
07. Da Capo Al Coda feat. DJ Earl