Footwork producer extraordinaire and Teklife leader Rashad Harden, aka DJ Rashad, died almost a year ago, and today producer Machinedrum released a tribute EP called Movin Forward. The EP’s five tracks are steeped in all things Rashad: besides the two originals that Machinedrum says are heavily influenced by Teklife, one of the tracks is a remix of Machinedrum’s “SeeSea” by Rashad and Taso, and the two other tracks were previously unfinished collaborations featuring Rashad and Machinedrum.
On the Bandcamp page for Movin Forward Machinedrum explains that he had difficulty completing the unfinished work after Rashad died, but eventually, “I mustered up enough courage to open the sessions and finish them. It is what Rashad would have wanted me to do.” One of those cuts, opener “Understand,” which also features contributions from NYC producer Nick Hood, balances rapid-fire footwork percussion with gentle, sputtering vocal samples and a shade of squelching G-funk synths—it’s footwork gold.
Movin Forward is only being released digitally. Machinedrum is giving all the proceeds to Rashad’s family, and he’s gone digital because he wants to make sure he can give as much money as possible (instead of worrying about recouping manufacturing costs). Visual artist Ashes57 drew the EP cover, re-creating a view of an el train moving through town in the boxy, cartoonish style of a great Rashad tribute T-shirt he made for Teklife.
Listen to Movin Forward below, and if you need a primer on DJ Rashad, Teklife, and footwork read my 2014 B Side feature on the collective’s great tribute compilation, Next Life.