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It'd be nice to be able to write about DJ Rashad's new 6613 EP without mentioning any real-world context. The four tracks here are the kind of footwork Rashad killed while he was still alive, riding the line between butter-smooth and jerky. However, it's tough to talk about the EP without this context. Rashad passed away a little over a year ago, and everything since then from the Teklife camp has been colored by his tragic death. 6613 comes from Rashad's label Hyperdub pulling from his archive of sounds and (most likely) tapping some of his closest friends and collaborators to help do whatever it took to finish the songs they'd started with him.

As might be expected from that description, the EP is excellent. Rashad was one of the brightest stars in footwork, shining especially dazzlingly when he started transitioning away from the straight weapon-hood of earlier releases like Just A Taste and into the more melodically coherent worlds of Double Cup and We On 1. I've written about Double Cup before, and it's far and away my favorite footwork album, as it is to countless other people. As such, since this EP sounds a bit like an epilogue to that masterwork, it's naturally going to garner much of the same kinds of praise that Double Cup earned before it, including my own.

Because, if it's possible to ignore the context within which 6613 was released, it stands up on its own as a small collection of excellent standalone footwork thrashers. The floaty chords introducing the mind-meltingly repetitive main section of 'Ya Hot' exemplify why Rashad was one of the best in the game: he had the rare ability to take silky soul sounds and jam them end-to-end with the mechanized click-clack and hole-boring bass and end up with a more-than-palatable result. 'CCP2' takes a page out of the playbook of Double Cup standout 'Feelin', with its serene, straight-ahead upper layers of organ and regular claps. More than anything, it feels very carefully metered, impressive for a track which still fits exceedingly well into a genre known for its all-out hedonism.

At the end of the day, 6613 is one or both of two things: a collection of killer footwork which fits into the Teklife discography seamlessly, and/or the last whispers of a brilliant mind gone too soon who had some final words to say about the genre he loved so much. It's clear footwork is starting to mutate a little bit (look at the impact of Jlin's Dark Energy, and compare that blistering, merciless album to the more sedate Double Cup or any of the sparser early works from Planet Mu's Bangs & Works compilations), but it's OK to step back and appreciate the revitalized works of a master who spurred the transition in the first place without being able to fully experience his own impact. It's just footwork (and, by extension, just music) -- but it's also so much more.

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