Sometime in late 1997, I stood in a record store and decided that I would dive headfirst into electronic music. As a teenager who previously would only admit to being a hip-hop/R&B fan, it was a big deal for me. I narrowed down my potential purchase to three CDs and the one I bought was The Crystal Method's Vegas. Now this album has been reissued in a tenth anniversary deluxe edition with a new remaster and a second disc of music. Ten years later, the original album holds up pretty well.
The deluxe edition of The Crystal Method's Vegas is packaged in a two-disc digipak with a slipcover that designates it as a deluxe edition. The booklet that comes with the set features an essay about the road to the album written by Aidin Vaziri, a track-by-track breakdown with the Las Vegas duo, short pieces written by the duo talking about the album's tenth anniversary, and the usual list of credits and thank yous.
Disc one is the original album with a fresh remaster. As someone who owns the original release, I can tell you that the remaster sounds better, but only a bit. You notice it more in the background elements on songs versus the main parts. The album's textures sounded a bit richer and fuller. Parts that didn't need fooling around with are not fooled around and that's a good thing.
The big question when revisiting an “older” album is whether or not it still holds up after so many years. In the case of Vegas, the answer is yes. The main reason is the duo's focus on texture. Many non-electronic music fans dismiss certain genres of electronic music due to the amount of repetition. The Crystal Method get around this by putting as many interesting, unique sounds as possible into what is repeated. Multiple elements fight for attention in each of the songs here and new stuff is always dropped in to keep the listener on their toes.
One of the things that I think drew non-electronic fans to this album is the way elements from other genres are brought into the mix. Hip-hop plays a very important part in “Busy Child.” The track features a sample from an Eric B. And Rakim song. The underlying drums could've been used as part of a hip-hop beat. Elements of alternative are also evident throughout Vegas. In the liner notes, Ken Jordan compares working a filter on the track “Cherry Twist” to doing a guitar solo. You could look at quite a few songs on Vegas as alternative tracks with electronics replacing live instruments. Also, songs like “Comin' Back” and “Jaded,” with their vocals by Trixie Reiss, blur the line separating electronic and alternative.