If RP Boo, Traxman, and DJ Rashad constitute the John Coltrane (father), Pharoah Sanders (son), and Albert Ayler (holy ghost) of Chicago footwork, then Boo, aka Kavain Space, probably gets to be Trane. Others might have traveled further, but he was, arguably, the first. The son of a former Prince bassist, Space's work has a deferential sense of groove; while his peers Rashad, Jlin, and DJ Spinn take footwork outside of itself and draw in outside inspirations, Space seems largely driven by the desire to inspire footwork dancers. His productions lack the polish and lushness of Rashad's later work, which flourished and matured as influences like J Dilla were subsumed-it's no surprise that Rashad's work found a wider audience. But RP Boo's provincialism and focus have resulted in the kind of cleverness needed to continually impress dancers that, at this point, probably think they've heard it all.
Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints, like 2013's incredible Legacy, comprises a mix of new productions and selections from his 15-year-plus production history. Space relies heavily on interwoven vocal samples and, relative to his peers, less on rattling percussion. This gives his tracks a weightless, labyrinthine feel, as exultations for the dancers hold conversations with wailing soul samples and various grunts and shouts. On the manic opener "1-2D-20'2" all of this happens over a tangled electro sequence as an unnamed barker shouts out names of locals and...venues? Moves? Crews? You could probably unwind some of the references with Internet searches and a helpful Chicagoan, but I find it equally exciting to just let the syllables pile up into little structures, and revel in how strange and consonant the phrase "Crackaplaya Boo" sounds amidst the bustle.