Greenlight by Chicago’s DJ Manny is the fifth release from Teklife Records, the inherently collaborative community have laid out another masterful body of work containing both solo productions and guest appearances from label peers and new faces, DJ Lucky and Sucia.
The South-Side raised dancer and producer has been heavily involved in footwork culture since the age of ten. He has been watching, dancing and contributing to its growth via releases and collaborations on Footwork Frenzy, Hyperdub, Philthtrax and Planet Mu since the days of the Ghettoteknitianz. His work so far as a leading figure culminating in his first release on the Teklife imprint.
Stepping aside from tradition the LP sees Manny layering his own vocals as well as chopped up samples over frenetic hi-hats and thundering lowend. His voice on Way You Move, similarly to Life In This Bitch, and If U Want It, soften what are the definitive club tracks of the LP. Tightly looped samples and a drumline reminiscent of early 90’s Jungle are a nod to his education from the late DJ Rashad, as his influence can be felt reverberating through the traditionally produced track, Boop Me Down.
Different moods continue to be experimented with to great effect. The aptly named, Ghost Out is one of the few instrumentals on the LP, empty spaces filled only with pulsing lowend and siren synths create a haunting atmosphere, so much so you almost feel as if the song could dissolve into its own title.
An esteemed producer in his own right, DJ Taye appears on five tracks on Greenlight including Zancrash. An uplifting and unhinged exhibition of complex rhythm patterns and frenzied sirens create a sense of urgency in the track and continue to display footwork’s capacity as an initial concept, something that is consistently pushed to different limits within its 160bpm range.
The entire LP is a wondrous lesson in the computerised and vocalised mechanics of a genre so rich in its roots. Influences from the old and new can be felt breaking through in DJ Manny’s collaborative mission to fully affirm his place as one of the foremen of the footwork culture.