On Unleash, Heavee works simultaneously outside and inside the box, rebuilding footwork's framework and vibe to his own unique specification.
Known to his friends as Darryl Bunch Jnr, Heavee is a Queer, Chicago born and raised DJ and producer. He has a long history within footwork, and like many producers in the genre, started off as a dancer. Notably his track 'it's Wack' with DJ Rashad, from his 2018 album WFM on the Teklife label ended up in Flying Lotus' Grand Theft Auto jukebox , his tracks ‘Icemaster’ and ‘8-Bit Shit’ from earlier Hyperdub compilations are still much loved, and outside the Teklife crew, he's also co-produced alongside Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones.
2022’s 'Audio Assault' EP on Hyperdub restarted his musical journey with some synth-driven, melodic footwork, but Unleash goes much further into audio world-building with a fresh, spongy and citrusy sound palette and rich, bright chord sequences. It's minimal, airy, balancing light and dark, sometimes breezy and sometimes clinical.
Rhythmically, it's dance floor ready, using footwork's 160 template as a springboard for building new drum sounds to express these rhythms. It's also marked out by transforming footwork's classic commanding chants into personal mantras and declarations - 'it's time for something different', 'Unleash the Freak'. 'Make It Work', with no time for unspecified enemies. At times, it seems to draw from R&B, rap, jazz and grime, with a sprinkling of bitter-sweet vintage Detroit techno and a resonance with ‘Pretty Ugly’ Era Scratcha DVA, but with the up-to-date palette and FXs you might hear from friends and contemporaries such as Fractal Fantasy and Suzi Analog.
It's clear that Heavee has upped his production and song writing game for Unleash and he cites studying physical modelling, modulation, and other forms of synthesis along with discussions and collaborative jams with peers that fed into the process. The album takes footworks 'eats all' approach to music in a fresh direction with a freedom of spirit. It's a strong addition to the footwork cannon and shows that experiments in dance music can be fun.