Radio in Tunnels: Swan dives into footwork with outstanding results.
Radio in Tunnels: Swan dives into footwork with outstanding results. Kelly O

Truckasauras keyboardist/drummer Tyler Swan has a new footwork-oriented project called Radio in Tunnels, and he's just completed a seven-track self-titled record, recorded in the Truck home studio, Sauco. (This new LP was preceded by the 2014 Beat + Melody EP, which Todd Hamm reviewed here.) Radio in Tunnels is a rare excursion by an outsider into a dance-music genre that originated in Chicago and has been dominated by producers and DJs from that city, including RP Boo, Young Smoke, Traxman, and the late DJ Rashad. Gary, Indiana's Jlin—who played an utterly galvanizing set at Decibel Festival this year—is another exception. Anyway, Radio in Tunnels thrusts a toe into footwork's turbulent waters and proves it's up for the challege. The genre's marked by monomaniacal, intricate beat programming and repetitive, highly tweaked vocal samples that initially work on your last OCD nerve and then gradually become energizing mantras. Being an excellent drummer in a number of styles (funk, rock, techno, electro), Swan shows a natural aptitude for the form, and his menacing atmospheres and party-amping sample arsenal resonates powerfully (is that a B*tth*l* S*rf*rs snippet in the nerve-janglingly ominous "Everyday Hey"?).

Radio in Tunnels- "A Track Named Slickback"

There's something absurd about listening to footwork on a computer at a desk; this music's meant for robust sound systems and crowded dance floors. "Be sure to rock that on something with (((BASS)))!" Swan advised, but, alas, I can't right now. Nevertheless, Radio in Tunnels, if it ever gets out into the world (Swan's currently looking for a label), will wreak some havoc in clubs open to footwork's manic-panic rhythms and off-kilter energy spurts.