• More artful, gravity-defying percussion from the precocious and genre-hopping producer, but this time with a techno bent.
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  • It's interesting that the latest Jlin EP, Embryo, would arrive just days before one of the most influential contemporary sci-fi franchises, The Matrix, released its fourth instalment. The record is all head-spinning action, loaded with soaring daggers of synth that one would likely need bullet time—or a bodyguard named Neo—to adequately dodge. As soon as that classic "sounds of Jlin" sample makes its sweet return into our headphones, our descent into the rabbit hole begins. The Indiana artist's starting point might have been in footwork production, but she maintains a no-strings-attached relationship to genre. As a non-Chicago native—who in 2018 admitted to never having attended a dance battle—there's simply less pressure on her to restrict her sound. As much as DJ Rashad is her artistic lodestar, she also reveres future-minded tech pundits like her long-time collaborator and friend Holly Herndon. Earlier this year, she released a collaboration with the late hyperpop royalty SOPHIE. True nerds respect nerds of all varieties. (She did pick up production while majoring in math, after all.) In describing her music, Jlin eschews the footwork label altogether. The influences of her recent releases are cast far and wide—percussion can be as easily sculpted employing samples of the West Africa djembe as they are from the quintessentially American marching band, and on her 2018 score Autobiography, she even includes classical interludes. On Embryo, Jlin looks past Chicago, past her hometown of Gary, Indiana, with her eyes set on another midwestern city: Detroit. Techno's racing pulse is all over the project, starting at the record's titular opening track, where squelchy acid synths come rushing in. Lysergic synthlines also color "Auto Pilot," a cut that recalls the techno currently coming out of definitive New York labels Haus Of Altr and Towhouse Records. But ultimately, the erratic hi-hats, reminiscent of footwork's ricocheting percussion do make their appearance on the EP, mostly notably in "Connect The Dots," where upbeat juke drums, cued by a deep menacing chuckle, dive into zero-gravity soundscapes scattered with abandoned, drunken percussion. On "Rabbit Hole", things truly get exciting, as slices of bleeping spaceship cockpit sounds play double-dutch with stuttering drums. Each Jlin record may sound entirely different from the last, but one thing remains the same: to Jlin, percussion is a high art regardless of its origin or make-up.
  • Tracklist
      01. Embryo 02. Auto Pilot 03. Connect The Dots 04. Rabbit Hole