Given this album’s title and the androgynous quality of his moniker, new audiences might be forgiven for thinking this was the work of a staunchly feminist woman. In reality, Chrissy Murderbot is a very male DJ and producer from Chicago and there is perhaps a sense of irony in the title he has chosen for this enjoyable celebration of partying and sex. The track titles (Break U Off, Pelvic Floor, Heavy Butt etc) pretty much say it all. His own website describes this as a ‘genre-hopping booty opus.’
Murderbot indeed dips his toes in a number of genres here, including his more longstanding associations with ragga and jungle and his more recent embrace of what has curiously become known as footwork. It’s hard to keep track of the various sub-genres in electronic music these days, but many will rightly find common ground with UK bass music. This is definitely a more club-friendly escapade, however, joining the dots between dubstep and crunk.
There can be few artists better placed than Chrissy Murderbot to attempt such a cross-genre adventure. He helmed the Sleazetone label and has recently taken ownership of a new label, Loose Squares, devoted to the footwork trend. He also undertook a substantial blogging project, producing a mixtape a week for an entire year, each one examining a different micro-genre. There can be no faulting his knowledge and experience.
A lengthy roll call of charismatic guests (including Warrior Queen, Coool Dundee, Rubi Dan and MC Zulu) help make Women’s Studies a zestful, hugely enjoyable album. With throwbacks to the rave era as well as everything else, Murderbot creates an unrelenting party spirit. This music may even be at its best when most direct and straightforward, as on the pretty much irresistible The Vibe Is So Right.
Still, for all its buzz and energy, Women’s Studies does feel frantic and maybe even a little cluttered, as if Murderbot has felt compelled to insert a passing reference to every genre of music he has ever appreciated. He is certainly a skilled producer and arranger, but in spite of his support for footwork, there is little on Women’s Studies that seems truly new or groundbreaking. It is an exciting synthesis of styles and ideas rather than a trailblazing act of creative brilliance.