Perhaps because Balasanov is an outsider to Chicago's actual footwork scene, the style of his music is hard to pin down. For one thing, the tracks that make up Raw Solutions (and Soft Control, for that matter), are not strictly 160 BPM—in fact, only one track, "I Know," sits at that tempo. Perhaps because of this, the song is an easy highlight. It's also about as romantic as footwork gets, with stumbling toms that underpin a woozy synthesizer and come-hither vocal whispers.
Balasanov aims for the dance floor at several points throughout. "Girls On Dick" and "How U Get That" seem as indebted to New Orleans rap as they are to anything Chicagoan. "Werk" is similarly outrageous, if less overtly sexual, with an old school NY/NJ house organ as a hook. The sparse, high-speed jack of "Doit" is intuitive as hell, at least before it accelerates beyond the point of normal body response. But the album truly peaks on a pair of emotional epics. The frisky shuffle of "Girl Like Me" is melded with aching, reverberating organ, hyperspeed vocal stutters, and nosediving square waves, while the ambient "Wit U" tips a hat to Lopatin's Oneohtrix Point Never. Both create a sense of drama that arches over the rhythm tracks and lends them extra purpose.
Raw Solutions' roots may lie in footwork, but Balasanov sounds liberated from genre specifics. Where many similar hybrids are too cerebral or schizophrenic, his album is impressively tactile, and laced with a genuinely passionate pulse.