Our resident dance music blogger pays a visit to Red Bull Studios in London and for those not yet familiar with juke music, well, you're about to become so, as Kate Hutchinson explains...
What's on our jukebox?
Amid her selection of fresh future beats, from SBTRKT and Coki to Bibio and Manchester’s Hoya Hoya club’s Illum Sphere, who was also the special guest in the studio, there was a 'rave report' from Red Bull Studios’ Hayley Joyes. The highlight of her clubbing calendar? She was hot-footing it to the best night that weekend straight after the show to throw around some serious shapes to its juke-friendly music policy.
You can hear her juke mini-mix featuring DJ Assault, DJ V and, linchpin of the scene, DJ Funk at the end of Pick ’n’ Mix here – and it’s exactly the kind of low-end, feet-twitching sound you can hear in room two of the night in question, Surefire.Sound at Corsica Studios in south London. While Martyn fired up the head-nodding dubstep-influenced beats in the main boom room, Addison Groove’s Jukebox provided a winding-and-grinding counterpart next door.
Previous to Surefire.Sound, the only place you could really hear juke music and ghetto-tech in the capital was at Captain Magic's Peanut Butter Jelly Time warehouse party, says Joyes. Apart from that, juke junkies had to get their fix at random DJ appearances, like from booty-house pioneer DJ Funk, who played at Bloc Weekender just outside London in mid-March this year.
'I heard DJ Funk at Bloc and he just blew my mind'
“I heard DJ Funk at Bloc and he just blew my mind,” says Joyes, of how she got hooked on juke. “It’s fast, dirty house – around 160bpm – with hard-ass lyrics that bridge the gap between shouty hip hop and a strange sort of speed house. I love the fact that it is totally acceptable – nay, expected – for you get low on the dancefloor and move your feet in fast, syncopated patterns. Juke music is high energy and good vibes.”
It’s not a new descendant of house music; juke originated in Chicago in the early ’90s and is still quite an under-the-radar scene there. It is closely linked with Miami bass and Detroit ghetto-tech – or, simply, ghetto house, but juke is ever so subtly different. Resident Advisor calls juke “the mutant niche offspring of booty house designed to incite mind-blowing dance moves from liquid-hipped quicksteppers,” hence the reason why the genre is also referred to as ‘footwork’. But therein lies another stylistic discrepancy: footwork is actually the name of the movement – juke music soundtracks the many footwork dance battles in Chicago – or, confusingly, the name of a more rhythmic variation of juke music.
'It’s safe to say that juke has influenced some of the most interesting releases from British producers of the last year'
But, despite its long legacy and being an unknown here compared to its younger UK cousins like dubstep and funky, juke is slowly starting to infiltrate London clubs and beyond. Moreover, it’s inspiring a new generation of largely UK producers: “It’s safe to say that juke has influenced some of the most interesting releases from British producers of the last year,” confirms electronic music website Fact.
Producers just like Addison Groove. Previously known for his dubstep wobbliness as Headhunter, the Bristol-based producer released one of last year’s definitive contemporary juke tunes on Loefah’s Swamp 81 label, the earworming Footcrab, which blends the genre with dubstep vibes.
Elsewhere, James Balf, who is behind the Sonic Router radio show on Hive FM, adds that Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990’s underground house label Night Slugs has been onto the sound for some time, notably with tracks like Girl Unit’s ‘IRL’, while Ramandanman has a juke feel on his ‘Work Them’ 12-inch for Swamp 81. The other UK label to grab juke by both balls is Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu, who has recently signed major juke and footwork innovators like DJ Rashad and DJ Roc.
To hear the juke sound again in London, you’ll have to wait a while. The next Surefire.Sound party isn’t until May 21, with Addison Groove, Shackleton and more. But for a double dose of juketastic jukeism, Berlin is the place next week. Don’t miss the LittleBig agency party at Berlin’s Horst Krzbrg club on April 9, where Addison Groove and Chicago juke linchpin DJ Rashad will go head to head.
Bangs & Works Vol. 1 (Planet Mu)
Footcrab – Addison Groove (Swamp 81)
Booty House Anthems – DJ Funk (Warlock)
Overkill – DJ Rashad (Ghettophiles)
Track of the week
Addison Groove – It's Got Me
While we’re on a juke tip, you have to hear Addison Groove’s new single for Martyn’s 3024 label, which is out on May 2, and surfaced on Soundcloud last week. It’s less of a intensely persisten affair, instead experimenting with spacious, ambient electronica and trippy acid sounds, but you can hear that hallmark fidgety juke riddim all the way through.
- Read more music articles at Redbull.com
- Addison Groove's MySpace page
- Read previous Blog on the Dancefloor entries
- Follow Kate on Twitter: @katehutchinson