Friday, May 22, 2009

Crystal Method album review

The Crystal Method
Divided by Night
[Tiny e/Universal]

Unlike some electronica acts, The Crystal Method strives to make music that feels organic. The Los Angeles-based duo programs with human drum sounds and tweaks other noises to provide a vintage rock, rap or R&B vibe. So far, the approach has had winning results. Arriving out of the early ‘90s rave scene, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland immediately struck gold via their 1997 escapist introduction Vegas.

Subsequent efforts expanded the primary genre’s parameters with Big Beat, funky breaks, psychedelic and ambient textures alongside shrewdly-chosen guest vocalists (Scott Weiland, Filter’s Richard Patrick, Lisa Kekaula of the BellRays) and guitarists (Tom Morello, Wes Borland). “Comin’ Back,” “Name of the Game” and “Born to Slow” became hit dance floor anthems. In the interim, The Crystal Method became high profile remixers and their music a regular presence on film soundtracks, TV shows (“Bones,” “Third Watch”) and video games (FIFA 98: Road to the World Cup, Gran Turismo).

Another solid round of studio collaborators contribute to the invigorating 70+ minute Divided by Night. New Order bassist Peter Hook lends his unmistakable playing to the subtle, Kraftwerkian “Dirty Thirty” and “Blunts & Robots.” Jewish rapper Matisyahu’s exotic chanting and rhymes mesh surprisingly well with percolating rhythms and bleeps on “Drown in the Now.” Ex-Grandaddy leader Jason Lytle is typically understated on the lush dance of “Slipstream.” She Wants Revenge singer Justin Warfield and his wife Stefanie add a barbed darkness to “Kling to the Wreckage” and “Black Rainbows.”

Rounding things out is the slinky Daft Punk-leaning title track and appearances by Emily Haines of hot iTunes band Metric (the sensual “Come Back Clean”) and onetime Hole/Peaches drummer Samantha Maloney. Guaranteed to get your feet moving.

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