Unleash (Hyperdub)

Contact Ahmad Asani about Heavee

Today, Chicago-based DJ and producer Heavee announces his new album, Unleash, out March 15th via Hyperdub, and shares its lead single “Sumthin Different.” His previous release, 2022’s Audio Assault EP, restarted his musical journey with some synth-driven, melodic footwork, but Unleash goes further into audio world-building with a daring new sound palette that is both clinical yet airy and bright. The album sees Heavee bringing the genre of footwork into uncharted territory.


Born and raised in Chicago, Daryl Bunch Jr. is a queer artist who 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 2018’s WFM was featured in Flying Lotus’ Grand Theft Auto V radio station. “Icemaster” and “8-Bit Shit” from earlier Hyperdub compilations are still much loved, and outside the Teklife crew he’s collaborated with Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones.


Rhythmically, Unleash is dance floor ready, using footwork’s 160 BPM template as a springboard for building new drum sounds to express these rhythms.  The album also transforms footwork’s classic commanding chants into personal mantras and declarations — “it’s time for something different,” “unleash the freak,” “make it work.” Unleash also draws from R&B, rap, jazz and grime, with a sprinkling of bitter-sweet vintage Detroit techno but with the up-to-date palettes and effects you might hear from contemporaries such as Fractal Fantasy and Suzi Analog.


It’s clear that Heavee has upped his production game for Unleash and he cites studying physical modeling, modulation, and other forms of synthesis along with discussions and collaborative jams with peers as crucial parts of the process. The album takes footwork in a fresh direction with a freedom of spirit that’s a formative part of the genre. It’s a strong addition to the footwork cannon and shows how fun and liberating experiments in dance music can be.