The Crystal Method are legends in the DJ/Club/Techno/Electronica scene having formed in Los Angeles in the early 90’s and had early club hits Now is the Time and Keep Hope Alive. They proceeded to release three studio records and a number of mix compilations as well as touring across the world.
They have just released their newest Album, Divided by Night, and are touring for the first time in five years to celebrate the release. I was lucky enough to attend one of their shows in Montreal, Canada and it was amazing. The new album has hit store shelves and is both somewhat new and familiar to fans of the duo.
The Crystal Method is Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland, friends who have been collaborating for over 20 years and the tightness of their music reflects this. This album has a great deal of artist collaboration with artists from all types of genres. We have the Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu, alt-folk singer Meiko, hip-hop emcee Justin Warfield and indie rock singer Emily Haines among many others.
The interesting thing about the collaborations on this album is that each artist worked on and co-wrote the songs they participated in. The result is an album that has expertly mixed Electronica tracks overlaid with vocals that suit the mix.
The album starts with the excellent high energy track "Divided by Night." This song has beats and mixes that force you to move and eagerly await the next song. "Dirty Thirty" is one of the weaker tracks but is immediately followed by the amazing first video single, "Drown in the Now." Featuring the prominent reggae singer Matisyahu this track is pure magic and the video is outstanding.
The vibe keeps going with "Kling to the Wreckage" and my favorite on the album, "Sine Language." This features an artist who I initially sneered at due to their name (LMFAO…I know) but he is an excellent rapper and his vocals are perfectly suited to The Crystal Methods music on this track.
Shifting gears a little bit there is a mix of female alt artists and pop funk bass tracks mixed into the remaining songs. "Come Back Clean" is a poignant and frankly amazing song feature Emily Haines. Her amazing and tight vocals once again perfectly mix with the music laid down by The Crystal Method.
The album is outstanding and I would say it is one of their best releases in a different way then their past projects. This release is vocal heavy and in the past I have found the artists collaborating with them have not quite meshed perfectly. Perhaps the tight collaboration on this album made the difference?
The production values on the album are top notch with diverse sounds, bass, alternating stereo mixing and transitions coming out your speakers in, well, crystal clarity. The Crystal Method has been making music for a long time and there was a lot of care poured into this album and it shows.
I also have to say that the album art is amazing. The moon full of speakers looks great and the CD itself is recessed in the case and has the same moon motif on it.
The Crystal Method is very tech savvy and is using many mediums to promote this release. You can sample a stream at iLike.com and buy the music from that site as well. It is available in brick and mortar stores and of course iTunes and Amazon music.
If you are an Electronica/Techno fan Divided by Night is an excellent release and well worth lending your ears to for a listen. I am hoping that the boys are back in full force and we can see more mix compilations like Community Service to follow up this excellent release.