- "There are a lot of parallels with jungle," Mike Paradinas has said of Chicago footwork. "And that made me look very kindly on it." After his Planet Mu label helped bring the hyperlocal Chicago style to the world with 2010's Bangs & Works Vol. 1, it didn't take long for other producers to clock the similarities. Alongside the likes of Machinedrum, Om Unit was one of the first to squish the two styles' rhythmic grammars into the same sentence. (Of course, the Chicago side were also on the case.) In 2011 under the name Philip D Kick, Om Unit released three free-to-download edit packs of jungle classics. He promptly retired the project, but footwork's forms and sounds have persisted in the scene. "Footwork jungle" has produced its share of big tunes, as well as subreddits and Facebook groups.
This might help explain why the first original material as Philip D Kick, following a seven-year silence, lacks the giddy thrill of those first edits. Instead it refines the execution, exploring sophisticated bitesize structures and slyer gene-splice tricks. It's fun to watch the two styles find common ground. On "In Formation" a Think break ping-pongs off those trademark timekeeping footwork claps. On "Work That" it's vaporous rave stabs versus a sliced vocal sample. "Work That"'s beat has a manic double-time energy you'd more associate with footwork, as the odd diva sigh and snippet of ragga chat drags us back to '90s London.
"Drown" nods to the two styles' common ancestor by opening with a vintage Gang Starr sample. We later pivot into more-or-less straight jungle, with a serene wash of chords and synth strings giving way to a dramatic Amen drop. "Vibe Off," featuring the Chicago star DJ Spinn, leans more heavily towards footwork. All are satisfying, if not mind-blowing, modern club tracks that approach the project's brief from multiple angles. Only "For Real," with its minor key and rumbling bassline, indulges the po-faced cinematic mood that mars some of Om Unit's recent music.
A1 In Formation
A2 Work That
B2 Vibe Off feat. DJ Spinn
B3 For Real