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Ghettoteknitianz EP

“From this groove came the grooves of all grooves”, runs Chuck Roberts’ famous ‘Our House’ speech. Never has that seemed more true than in 2011, where the genre’s indomitable, decades-old sonic signifiers seem to be bubbling up in virtually every quadrant of UK music. Looped into oblivion and submerged in a thick mulch of sub-bass in DJ Rashad and DJ Manny’s ‘R House’, the speech serves as a timely reminder that Footwork is where the original house sound has got to in 2011; lean and predatory, but still with a kernel of soul at its centre.

But the Ghettoteknitianz EP, Planet Mu’s latest missive from the Chicagoan underground, is much more than just a statement of heritage. Featuring a slew of productions from one of the city’s most formidable cliques (DJs Rashad and DJ Spinn should be ringing bells by now; if you’ve not heard of the others, get to know), it pushes the tight constraints of the sound upwards and outwards, showing that the 160bpm field is far from fallow.

Rashad & Gant-Man’s ‘Heaven Sent’ and Earl’s ‘Enlightenment’ open proceedings with visions of a bright-eyed utopian future, all fuzzy melodics and warm synth pads. Fans of the twitchy and sinister should head straight for Spinn’s ‘Don’t Shoot’, which subjects a tinny 303 line to a relentless collage of discharging firearms. DJ Manny brings the hustle with his mellow paean to dope, ‘All I Do Is (Smoke Trees)’, but Traxman takes the prize for gangsta savvy with the coldly confrontational but irresistibly funky ‘We Are Da Best’. After giving this a listen, it’s a sentiment you’d struggle to disagree with.