Showing posts with label The Crystal Method. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Crystal Method. Show all posts

Saturday, 23 January 2021

The Crystal Method "Tweekend" (2001)

Four years on from their debut record Vegas, The Crystal Method return during the decline of Big Beat's popularity with a sound somewhat on a similar trajectory to that of Fatboy Slim. Tweekend strides towards the Electronic music scenes of the time with an emphasis on virtual instruments and rock grooves above the bombast of big drum samples, which still have an edge. With plenty of lengthy cuts over six minutes and nothing to ambitious in the way of progressive songwriting, the record serves as a decent mood setter, lively and energetic but not demanding too much of the listener.

Each track tends to have a through line, a backbone that is always present as the arrangements shuffle around the complimenting sounds. There is a lot of them too, these songs are dense and layered with electronic instruments, percussive sounds and synths woven around the beat. The attention to detail holds up. These highly repetitive songs get fleshed out as its drum loops drone on with many instruments and samples taking focus as the lead, jumping back and forth from the limelight. 

Its best songs come with crunchy rock guitar hooks worked in, dropping steady grooves to drive the music onwards. It can often be a noisy affair with its calmer synth sounds being bombarded by all sorts of noises, most common of which seems to be the "off the era" DJ scratches. They kick off vocal samples and slip in lively vinyl sounds similar to that of Limp Bizkit, who would of been on top of the world around this time of this record. Its an element I enjoyed a lot, this album has so much going for it that fits snugly into this era, even though I didn't enjoy at that time.

All in all its no work of art but a competent execution of ideas reflecting the changing times in Electronic music. With lots of spins it has dulled. I fun one to check out but only a couple of numbers demand a return on occasion. I was going to call it quits here but reading up on their next effort, Legion Of Boom, I may have to check it out for the inclusion of Wes Borland and his guitar playing on three or so songs!

Rating: 6/10

Thursday, 31 December 2020

My Top 10 Music Discoverys In 2020

The one thing you can count on is music! Whatever is happening in the world there never seems to be a shortage of good records, new and old. Each year I aim to discover new artists and each year I seem to reflect that I should of done more. What is becoming more prevalent here on the blog is "rediscovering" old artists, going back over there catalogs and immersing myself in music enjoyed many moons ago, often finding songs that slipped between the cracks and getting a richer sense of the musicians behind it all. That will continue this year no doubt and I've included one in the list again!

(10) Bolt Thrower

I believe it was a cover of a Bolt Thrower song that lured me onto this British Death Metal outfit. I'd heard of them plenty over the years and checking them out I loved the mid-tempo crushing and subtle sense of groove. Straight forward songs that grab you with a mighty aesthetic that steamrolls its way forward. I will throw another record of theirs on the playlist for the coming year!
(9) Malcolm Home
Warm bright and jazzy, these Jazz Hop beats and there fusion with synth tones make for inviting music. Whats also interesting is finding him through a different medium livestreaming on Twitch. Its not the normal way I find new music but anyway Is a good way and I hear a lot of potential in the best songs on the debut record. One to keep an eye on for more music in the future!
(8) Clipping
Unfortunately I can't revel in the praise others have thrown on this unique group. Having enjoyed their catalog now, Ive got a good sense of what they are about. Its a different experience, one that doesn't quite click with me but undoubtedly I will follow them closely in the future, if not for intriguing music but hopefully something will snap into place and I can enjoy them on another level.

(7) The Crystal Method
Its only the one record so far but their debut Vegas instantly snapped into place with that 90s feel of Electronica and Big Beat. Its stuck with me as a record for a particular mood and can put on and fall into. Will throw another onto next years playlist.

(6) Backxwash
Already in My Top Albums Of 2020 list, Backxwash makes it to this one too for having a highly competent and interesting flow. Given how stylistically directed this project was, I can't help but feel their talents with rapping can go beyond it. As I often say, one to follow and keep an eye on for whats next.

(5) Cult Of The Damned
A random stumble on Youtube and I was immediately hooked! I must admit I'm not sure this Rap collective have the lasting power but their flavor is spicy and exciting. I've been binging them a lot and it looks like new material is on the horizon for 2021.

(4) Old Sorcery
If ever Dungeon Synth feels explored in and out, something comes along to shake things up. Not only does Old Sorcery infuse some fantastical old school synth ideas but in the process crafts some really wonderful songs. The latest turn into Black Metal doesn't yield the same excitement for me so I am hoping for a return to roots with the next project so to speak.

(3) Bathory

Of all the nostalgic dives into music from my youth, Bathory has been the best of them all. Not only did I get a fuller picture of what I already loved but found a bunch of new gems and got a real sense of the artist and their journey through some tepid times in the 90s. Although a career cut tragically short, it ended on a high with the Nordland records I had barely touched back when I discovered this massively influential artist in the world of dark and extreme music.

(2) Ocean Grove

They have my album of the year but were also a fun discovery to dive into their debut record an EPs. I actually found them right around the release of this sophomore record. Initially a rather run of the mill Metalcore outfit, their jumpy evolution seems to have blossomed into a beastly brew of sunny energy just fit for my tastes. I'm left itching for more.

(1) Grimes
 I'd heard of Grimes quite some time ago and only this year got around to her music. Art Angels sucked me in and I absolutely adore its vibes. Alongside Flip Phone Fantasy its been my must spun record of the year. Her voice is a wonder and the playful vibes are uplifting and warming. Her earlier catalog is more experimental, less charming but fun. With Miss Anthropocene she dipped toes into a darker tone in places. Not quite as killer but I hope she can hit her stride again in the future.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

The Crystal Method "Vegas" (1997)


Early on this year I had a mini nostalgia trip into the late nineties sound of Big Beat. Led by some good old Fatboy Slim, I decided to pick up a few notable records of the genre and chuck them on my phone to enjoy at a later date. Well once again the power of shuffle and unaware listening had another "whats this?" moment as the music in the background unsuspectingly revealed its secrets. Since then this platinum selling album has been on constant rotation! Vegas is the debut record by this American duo, hailed as being pioneers of the then emerging Big Beat sound.

One thing that really sets itself in stone is the deep club vibes that emerge in its repetitions. A dense arrangements of percussion and electronic futurism sounds oscillate with a perpetual drive one can move too. Its twelve songs motion through indulgence, droning with power as its loud drum grooves fuse a night life journey atmosphere. At around six minutes each, every song feels strangely monotonous yet engaging as the core identity rarely shifts. Instead the many layers of jilted percussion, cyber synths and theme building sampling swap their groupings, never seeming to repeat a string of arrangements. These are well interwoven songs.

Vegas has a small stake in many of the electronic genres, one can hear anything from Industrial to Rave in fractions. It has the hallmarks of the nineteens Dance sounds. Drop outs, ramped back up by fastening snare rolls a notable cliche not overplayed here. The perpetual unraveling of its moog synths give me an unusual familiarity to that of Carbon Based Lifeforms. A possible influence on the duo? A stand out track is the closing Trip Like I Do remix with Industrial Rock outfit Filler. The thick wall of crunchy distortion guitars slip in well to dial up the temperament. Richard Patrick's audible shouts resonate a lot like Trent of Nine Inch Nails.

This record is so succinctly late nineties you could pair it with many cultural artifacts of the time. As a Big Beat record it feels like that's just an aspect of its sound. The drums are ever present, bold and loud with a snappy tightness but don't end up the sole focal point. Its arsenal of buzz saws and oscillated synth tones are nostalgic, many designs of which Ive heard on other records back when the technology was more contained. Its just been one of those albums to slip right into a cozy place. I will no doubt return to it often in the years to come, its vibe is just right for me!

Rating: 7/10