Jlin - Dark Lotus
Electronic music has been blessed with more than its fair share of trailblazers and futurists over the course of its existence; visionaries who view the constricting artificiality of genre with contempt and retroism as a disease in urgent need of eradication. Most (Sam Shackleton, Burial, Boards of Canada) are content to lurk in the shadows, hurling lightning bolts of innovation only when the stench of mainstream stagnation becomes too pungent to ignore. Others (Arca, Lotic, Amnesia Scanner) are more confrontational, spreading mixtapes of assorted avant-club/Grime and zonked out, non-genre specific electronica like cholera via a multitude of web-based streaming platforms. Jlin, however, a steel mill worker from godforsaken Gary, Indiana is a rare example of that critically endangered breed of artist fixated on the future to such an extent, their every transmission sounds positively alien and hence irresistible to all but the most ardent of curiosity-deprived purists (I'll supply the anthrax spores if you'll sprinkle them on their Ready Brek).
Her incredible 2015 debut album Dark Energy was jammed with arabesque reinterpretations of footwork so radical they seemed to defy the known laws of rhythm. Tracks like Mansa Musa and Black Diamond may have blazed with the same irrepressible energy of juke, but their abandonment of form and disdain for tradition was nothing short of pure dance Dadaism. The Free Fall EP which followed later the same year showed Jlin was no slouch in the brute force department either. Eu4ria and Buzilla both hit harder than a lump hammer to the solar plexus yet managed to retain the convention-defying experimentalism that made the preceding album such an extraordinary proposition.
Expectations as to what Jlin had in store for us next increased to fever pitch with the announcement of new two-tracker Dark Lotus. Opening cut The Escape Of the Blvck Rxbbit (ft. Avril Stormy Unger), a rhythmic switchback ride of bewildering complexity that saturates the stereo field with a plethora of processed vocals and piercing bleeps confirmed her zeal for pushing footwork into realms as yet unexplored remains as missionary as ever. Nyakinyua Rise on the flip, however, is wilder still; a fusillade of djembe drums is underpinned by stomach-knotting bass and a combination of strident war cries and ecstatic deplorations. It's an astonishing dispatch from the outermost limits of electronic music and a precursor to Jlin's upcoming sophomore album Black Origami that should set a thousand open minds ablaze with anticipation.
You NEED this record.
9/10 after 20 listens