Premiere: Footshooter - Portals (Famous Friends)
A few months back, at the height of what feels like a distant summer, we discovered Barney Whittaker aka Footshooter at Brainchild Festival. We were immediately drawn into his delicious production, which nods to 2-step, dub, house, hip-hop and broken beat, while offering plentiful space for collaborations that sing, speak or spit.
At Brainchild, Barney was joined on stage by Vels Trio's Jack Stephenson-Oliver on keys, guitarist Da Rico, and guest spots on the microphone from Brother Portrait, Slam the Poet, and Izzy Risk. The latter two of that weighty list of collaborators feature on ‘Portals’, the final track on Footshooter’s new EP, Strange Days. We’re lucky enough to have been given the exclusive premiere of that absolute gem.
The production on ‘Portals’ is on point, building around rolling kicks and warm Rhodes-like chords that add texture from start to finish. What’s really appealing is the way layers build up throughout chorus or verse, before dropping out to transition into each section. This detail is clear in the hi-hats, rides and shakers, for example, as they build throughout each section of the song to create a washy layer, before falling away with ease into each verse. This offers plentiful space for Slam and Izzy to move with the track.
Slam’s ability to tell stories exploring love and relationships is displayed in the finest fashion on this one. One of his bits that hits hardest is the repetition of “each will seek their silver lining in the cloud”. For the most part, Slam rarely repeats sentences or sections in his work. However, in doing so here, he fully draws the listener back in. Not to mention the sentiment of the lyric is pretty lovely.
Meanwhile, Izzy Risk brings a spine-tingling glow to the track with her mellow vocals, building to a beautiful climax around two-thirds of the way in, after she leads in the third verse. Izzy's voice and Slam’s rapping create a beautiful harmony-cum-juxtaposition. When she first comes in Footshooter’s use of built up textures that fall away, make for the smoothest and warmest of transitions, as she sings:
“Distances between our aspirations /
A foolish fool, in an underworld /
The fallacy of time”
It’s easy to get into the music that Foothshooter creates because it comes from a genuine, informed place. Check out the whole EP, you won’t be disappointed.