Exuding an unclassifiable aesthetic of daredevil, drum-led electronics, the prolific Jlin has continually demonstrated a yearning to break free from the conventions of footwork. This beat visionary’s post-footwork, pan-global palette of arrhythmic funk vacillates between bright and murky textures, raw and polished patterns. Propulsive yet cinematic, Jlin’s sample-free music isn’t all about the body; it’s as much about the heart-bound mind and its shadowy crevices.
While her music elaborates on dark, after-hours spaces of the body and mind, Jlin drove a 50,000-pound tractor as a steel-mill worker until 2015 in her hometown of Gary, Indiana (also the birthplace of the Jackson 5 and a short 40km hop from the footwork capital of Chicago). It’s only in 2007 that she first cut her teeth developing what would become her signature grit-dusted cacophony of stuttering synths and hyperactive percussions, soon counting herself among DJ Roc’s Bosses of The Circle crew. Planet Mu label head Mike Paradinas picked up on Jlin’s gripping style in 2010—effectively launching her as a unique pillar in a globally burgeoning scene. Jlin’s 2015 debut album Dark Matter is a fierce culmination of a lifetime of studied creativity and darkly emotional intensity, nodding to the genre’s past and beyond. Black Origami (2017), her highly lauded sophomore effort, was largely inspired by collaborations with Indian movement artist Avril Stormy Unger. She has also recently contributed Max Richter and Björk remixes, and collaborated with cutting-edge techno experimenter Holly Herndon on track Godmother, created via an AI program that listened to Jlin’s work before attempting to replicate it with Herndon’s voice.
Autobiography (Music From Wayne McGregor’s Autobiography), Jlin’s triumphant latest release, allowed her to fulfill a lifelong dream—soundtrack an award-winning ballet by British choreographer McGregor, who’d also previously collaborated with Jamie xx.
After unleashing her shape-shifting funk fury on consenting patrons at MUTEK 2016 with a charismatic debut live show (and an outdoor DJ set), Jlin returns to command the festival’s big room stage and fill it with her scintillating polyrhythms run wild.
Planet Mu, Knives, 4AD
Autobiography (Music From Wayne McGregor's Autobiography) (2018); Black Origami (2017)
Jlin loved math—calculus in particular—so much that to this day, she’ll work on math problems to calm her nerves before launching into a music-making session