Jlin Credit: Ebru Yildiz

Indiana-based footwork producer Jlin is laser-focused in her vision and in her dedication to expanding her sound. Her debut album, Dark Energy, arrived in 2015, when footwork was gaining sizable popularity outside Chicago. The record stood out for its severity, with confrontational tracks that elegantly pair brooding tones with footwork’s precise rhythms. Jlin’s follow-up, 2017’s Black Origami, is even stronger; its jagged sound recalls contemporary batida, an Angolan style of electronic dance music that’s become popular in Portugal, and its rhythms echo the martial assertiveness of a drum corps. The album also features collaborations with ambient composer William Basinski and avant-garde musician Holly Herndon, the latter of whom she worked with again on last year’s “Godmother,” created using an AI program called Spawn that Herndon helped develop—trained in part on both women’s music, Spawn attempted to reimagine Jlin’s style in Herndon’s voice. Also in 2018, Jlin released Autobiography, a score for a stage show by award-winning choreographer Wayne McGregor. The album incorporates field recordings and classical instrumentation on some tracks, showing a softer side of Jlin’s aesthetic. She’s already made footwork into a style of her own, and it’s anyone’s guess where she’ll take her music from here. If the past half -decade is any indication, though, she’ll continue to progress in new and challenging ways. Jlin said it herself, speaking to the Reader earlier this year: “I can hear my growth, and that’s a beautiful thing.”   v