Traxman - Da Mind of Traxman

We've been sitting on this record for a while at Diffusion. The first full Mu release from a Tek legend and co-founder demands, perhaps, a closer listen than most. And rightly so - it is a record which exemplifies (almost) every single aspect of juke that we love (back to that almost in a sec). You'll find all of juke's divergent components communicated in a masterful, considered, and beautiful manner. We kick off with the gorgeous new-age chimes of 'Footworkin on Air, its squirming synth rising and falling, its deranged percussion instantly indicating what sort of record this might be. Upon multiple listens this track has revealed itself a standout and one of my favourites on the album, pertinent is the intense creativity and finesse that Traxman beholds.

Traxman - Footworkin On Air
Following is the soul-sampledelia of 'Itz Crack', full of stop and start horn blasts, a creeping double-bass and the refrain "itz crack," which is true in a meta sense - it is crack.  Traxman continues to explore the blunt gangsta-isms of his genre ('Callin All Freaks') and the brutal electronics of fellow footworkers like Earl and T-Why ('Slip Fall' and 'Sound Filed', which may constitute the weakest tracks on the album). 'Let There Be Rockkk' could be confused for a joke if it weren't so fucking awesome, while the soul-drenched perfection of tracks like 'I Need Some Money', 'Rock You','I Must Deadly Killer' and 'Work Me 2011' show that when it comes to funked out horn samples, Traxman may even beat Spinn and Nate at their own game. On 'Chillll', a mellow, jazzy sample morphs into a magnificent, vibing roller - a swirling theme intricately intertwined with a cathartically penetrative sax note. Then comes the frantic diva-slicing of 'Setbacks' and the incredible, airy, thumping 'The Comeback 2011'.
 The album peaks incredibly late with 'Conq Dat Bitch', which may just supersede Jabba's 'Werks' as my favourite track of the year. 'Conq Dat Bitch' contains a magical, glassy, exquisite sample, some of the heaviest snares and chops on the album, a deliciously brazen vocal sample, which amalgamates in a transporting track that is absolutely bursting with breathtaking vibe, an extraordinary passion. Traxman - Conq Dat Bitch What appears before you, then, is an incredible album. However (here's the almost I referred to earlier), I worry that, as an album, it may circumscribe some essential parts of this genre. I have the same worry that Simon Reynolds did for his beloved ardkore - that it may slip into a reversion to "auteur-stars, concept albums and long-term careers." I worry, but, then again, it doesn't bother me at all because this album is simply too good. Furthermore, a full length from Traxman, one of juke's foremost veterans, on Planet Mu, a label that has established itself as the main propagator of the scene to the wider world, will necessarily involve some 'intelligent' affectation as Mu has essentially become the juke canon. That said, for all its conceptual grandeur and hi-fi production Traxman never once takes his eyes off the battle-ground which is why we implore you to get this record whether you are a long-time footwork listener or a newcomer to the genre - it is easily the best juke album, the best album of the year thus far (although we await R.I.P. with excited ears) and, I'm willing to say, the best juke release period.

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