Footwork maestro Rashad Harden, aka DJ Rashad, passed away nearly two years ago, and since then his collaborators and spiritual brothers in the Teklife collective have been searching through his archive of unreleased and unfinished tracks. It’s hard to know how deep this archive goes, but it’s starting to seem like Rashad’s publicly released material accounts for only a small fraction of his total body of work. The surviving members of Teklife have continued to supply fans with new-t0-them Rashad material since he died—he’s posthumously contributed his unearthly, euphoric rhythms to a slew of other artists’ EPs and singles, an EP under his own name (last summer’s 6613), and a solo album called Afterlife.
Afterlife, which came out last week, is the first Rashad full-length since his death as well as the first release from his collective’s new label, also called Teklife. The crew’s producers appear throughout the album, shaping Rashad’s unfinished tracks much as they did when he was alive—his records have always been full of appearances from his comrades. Afterlife feels like a series of conversations between Rashad and the dozen other artists who contributed to it, and each song bends toward the guests’ personalities.
I particularly love “Lost Worlds,” today’s 12 O’Clock Track, a collaboration with electronic-music veteran Traxman. Riding a supple, slowly hiccuping lounge-soul sample, it moves from quiet tenderness to surging purees of percussion. Like many of Rashad’s best tunes, it has a warmth and beauty that’s even stronger than its battle-ready heat—you can still feel the sweetness after the swarming bass and kaleidoscopic drums kick in.