Footwork documentarian Wills Glasspiegel once pointed out that RP Boo's hypnotic vocal loops—taunts and threats like "motherfuck your favorite DJ" that often stretch from a track's head to tail—produce an effect not unlike Steve Reich's tape recorder experiments, "It's Gonna Rain" or "Come Out." The way we perceive a familiar sound changes as it loops over and over; it starts to lose its original sense while accumulating new dimensions and warped contours. Glasspeigel called it a "battle trance"—a state of heightened focus that contorts the flow of time and leaves dancers attuned to subtle shifts and tensions. Part of what makes Boo's beats so arresting, then, is a tension between this trance tendency and the erratic elements of his music: sudden outbursts of opera singing, cacophonous drum machine explosions, aggressive interjections about stealing your girlfriend. Combined with his knack for creepy, cinematic ambience, it leaves the listener paranoid, waiting for something to jump out from around a corner.
Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints is not as flashy as Boo's previous album, Legacy. That record was characterized by a mathematical rhythmic intensity, exemplified by head-spinning arrangement techniques—like looping a sample that is two-thirds the track's speed, so that it doesn't sit quite correctly but occasionally meets up with the downbeat. This new LP is understated by comparison, with fewer jarring moments and more shifting grooves.
At times, Fingers recalls RP Boo's early productions—such as those from his recent Classics reissue on Planet Mu—which foreshadowed many of the stylized syncopations to come, but didn't quite break from the party-ready rhythms of '90s ghetto house. Tracks like "Bang'n On King Dr." and "Heat From Us" have elements of high drama, but they're also easy to grab on to and ride; four-to-the-floor rhythms and spastic samples lock effortlessly into place after a couple laps around the track. "Daddy's Home" is a classic RP Boo outing, with vintage action movie samples blaring under thick soul singing that cuts abruptly in and out of the mix. On the other hand, "Let’s Dance Again" is built on buoyant vocal harmonies that bring out Boo's soft and sensitive side. It goes to show that progress often requires a look back at the past, and proves that—although he's been in the game since literally inventing footwork nearly two decades ago—RP Boo is continuing to develop as an artist.