San Diego producer Otherr stretches the limits of juke music on new EP, World of Forms
The evolution of juke music has been exciting to keep track of in the last decade, largely due in part to Chicago footwork pioneers like DJ Rashad (†) and RP Boo. Whereas juke increased in complexity and energy to reflect the kinetic steps of its followers, the spaciousness of the sound also became an emphasized facet. Less the groove of ghetto house and more experimental, labels like TEKLIFE and Planet Mu served to push the limits of the style into places normally inhabited by IDM and ambient music. With the release of newest EP, World of Forms, San Diego producer Otherr takes juke's invitation to experimentalism to even greater heights.
Released via Czech / Mexican bass music label Aeronema, World of Forms is a record that relishes in a space of tense darkness. Provided by a minimalist soundscape scored by the distortion of time-stretched kicks, the EP navigates this void of sound carefully, only allowing the cutting rays of analog synths to supply light.
On opener, "Covered," this scene is set with manipulated sounds skittering across the track like creatures in a gutter, accompanied by the movement of chain scraping percussion. On "All Is Not Aught," the haziness is further accentuated by a wavering sax sample playing sorrowfully behind Otherr's syncopated steps. Never missing a beat, but always pushing it to it's limit, World of Forms thrives on this ability to deconstruct the complexity of juke music to its skeletal frame, and even in the bareness, retain all of its frenetic energy.
Otherr: "I had started listening to various TEKLIFE / Planet Mu artists back in 2010 and ever since hearing that sound, I've always been messing around with making my own kind of footwork-flavored beats here and there, but never did a release of only that kind of stuff. I started making some of the tracks on this EP about two years ago using all kinds of hardware, synthesizers, plug-ins, and they had morphed over time into what you hear now on the records.
I do all live sets when I play, so over time I have adjusted, changed, tweaked, and rearranged all of my songs before and after each show depending on how the crowd reacts to the songs, and most importantly, how I felt about them in my performance. Once I feel good about a song I will multitrack a long jam (usually about 20-30 minutes long), then I go through and chop it down and arrange it into the finished product."
World of Forms is out now via Aeronema. You can purchase the EP here.