With the massive amount of new music hitting the Internet each week, we don’t always get a chance to discuss more progressive releases in detail. Never Overlooked is our chance to do just that. This week, we highlight Traxman’s “Da Mind of Traxman Vol. 2.”
Traxman, aka Corky Strong, has been been a mainstay in the Chicago music scene for decades. His DJing and production has evolved with the Chicago house scene’s growth to the current state of footwork today.
Traxman’s first release on Planet Mu, Da Mind of Traxman Vol. 1, was arguably one of the first great footwork full length albums, and demonstrated the breadth of Ferguson’s influences. Drawing from house, funk, soul, and jazz, Traxman lead listeners on a journey of Chicago’s musical history.
Interestingly, Traxman claims not to listen to most tracks once he has finished them, so Planet Mu label head Mike Paradinas selected the songs for this album. Paradinas did a stellar job of curating Da Mind of Traxman Vol. 2, which is a more lean and polished successor to Vol. 1.
The album begins with “Time Slip,” containing a Roy Ayers sample which Ferguson flips into a cacophony of horns and xylophones, punctuated by percussion. The many elements of the track threaten to descend into high speed turmoil, but Traxman manages to whip the many pieces into line, the definition of organized chaos.
“Mic” is another song which draws its base from a sample, chopping up a 9th Wonder flip of Michael Jackson’s “Dear Michael,” while retaining the soul of the original. Ferguson’s tracks are often sample heavy, yet completely his own. He transforms samples into micro-edited puzzles, which bear little resemblance to their original sources.
Sampling isn’t Traxman’s only skill, however, as demonstrated by “Bubbles.” Featuring an original melody written and arranged by Ferguson, the track contains woozy synth laser sounds broken up by tight drum work.
Filled to the brim with new ideas, Da Mind of Traxman Vol. 2 is a testament to the growth of footwork as a genre. It is a collection of tracks which pay homage to the past but live very much in the present.
Listen to a mix containing songs from the album below, and purchase a copy here.
Nelson’s on Twitter @enlieu.