The Crystal Method (18+) Proxxy & Lantern, DJ Who, 2SMOOTH (Tony Smooth & Vince Christopher)
For more than two decades, The Crystal Method has remained at the forefront of the worldwide dance music industry as pioneers of the big beat genre, innovators of the ‘90s electronica movement and current-day global ambassadors of the American electronic sound. Originally formed as a duo—alongside founding member Ken Jordan,who retired from the music business in 2016—The Crystal Method today lives and breathes as a solo act, with co-founder Scott Kirkland at the helm. And with the artistic reboot comes the next chapter in The Crystal Method timeline: The Trip Home, out September 28 on the band’s own Tiny E Records.
As the sixth full-length The Crystal Method album and Kirkland’s first as a newfound solo act, The Trip Home serves as the creative rebirth of the brand. An artistic manifesto and love letter to the electronic world, The Trip Home welcomes Kirkland at the driver’s seat with full control of the reins.
For the new album, which he co-produced with Glen Nicholls, Kirkland dove deep into the decades-spanning discography of The Crystal Method. The result is a sound that revisits the roots of the classic Crystal Method aesthetic, while pushing its possibilities into the future. Equal parts throwback and dynamic futurism, The Trip Home expands Kirkland’s unrestrained curiosity into new realms and new sounds.
To perfect this fine balance, Kirkland took a back-to-basics approach, which saw him firing up his arsenal of analog synths and reconnecting with his collection of vintage gear. The lead single “Holy Arp” captures this calculated formula perfectly: A brooding intro of darkly tinged bleeps and bloops slowly builds the song’s tension before it pour sinto a bed of chunky synths, distorted reverb and alien sounds.
It was “Holy Arp” that gave Kirkland the first flashes of the cohesive sound that would shape The Trip Home.“
As soon as I got that track going, I knew I had found the direction for the new album,”Kirkland says. “It reverberates with the sound of Crystal Method classics like ‘Name of the Game’ and has some of the gnarliness of ‘Vapor Trail.’ It’s an angry, ballsy,bombastic trip down the inner workings of the vintage ARP 2600 synth.
”Elsewhere, the emotional ballad “Ghost in the City”—co-produced with electronicartist/producer Le Castle Vania—is a narrative-driven electronic dream that floats through dark clouds and shredding guitars, while singer-songwriter Amy Kirkpatrick delivers an angelic and touching vocal performance.
“There’s a Difference,” a reimagining of the track “Difference” off The Crystal Method’s 2014 self-titled album, is a full-on alt rock hybrid that mixes melodic electronics, pulsing bass, punching live drums and riveting vocals from singer Franky Perez.
Collectively, The Trip Home pieces together the fundamentals of The Crystal Method’sstoried past while adding new, unexplored elements for a cohesive, unique sonic experience that’s as diverse in sound and style as it is anthemic and driving.
“I wanted to create a concept album of sorts,” Kirkland says, “a project that speaks towhat’s going on in my life right now and a vision that also brings The Crystal Method sound forward and shapes it in a new way. I’ve been enjoying the idea of making an album like our debut album Vegas, where every song is different. Every song has a different BPM, every song has different emotions, every song has different elements.
”The Trip Home also serves as Kirkland’s message and reaction to the grandiose excessof today’s EDM scene. Where the genre constantly offers tired and recycled noise,Kirkland answers with an album built on organic sounds, a wide emotional range and,ultimately, real music.
Forged from analog synths, recorded through vintage Moog and Electro-Harmonixpedals and mixed through Sound City’s Neve console—not the same one used onNevermind; Dave Grohl has that one—The Trip Home is a warm embrace of organicelectronic music. The natural noise of analog gear is part of the sound. “I’m always looking for just the right amount of wrong,” Kirkland says. “I’m really proud of all the collaborations and incredibly talented artists who contributed to The Trip Home. I wanted to make a timeless album that sounded great and that conveyed an emotiona lnarrative and a strong appreciation of the album format.
”The Trip Home will be released as The Crystal Method celebrates two massive milestones in 2018: 25 years on the music scene and the 21st anniversary of Vegas,the band’s debut studio album. Itis the latest installment in The Crystal Method’s lauded discography, which includes the platinum-selling Vegas; Tweekend (2001); Legion of Boom (2004) and Divided by Night (2009), both of which received Grammy nominationsin the Best Electronic/Dance Album category; and The Crystal Method (2014).
Most recently, Kirkland wrote his first-ever film score for the 2017 documentary Hired Gun and wrote the theme song for 3 Below, the upcoming TV series from Academy Award winner Guillermo del Toro, which debuts on Netflix this fall.
“The Trip Home refers to my long journey: all these places where I’ve been able to go,the experiences that come with it, the distances I’ve traveled,” Kirkland reflects. “It’s the journey back to all the things that got me here—the touring, the music, the fans—and keep me here. But there’s always home. At the end of it, I go home to my family, I go home to my studio, and then I go back out. It’s a circle. I tried to capture all this in an album.”
Proxxy & Lantern
The past few years for Proxxy & Lantern have been strong. Together they formed Essential Bass a local DC crew who develops and throws electronic music events in the DC / Baltimore Area. They recently have booked acts like Krafty Kuts, Deekline, Keith Mackenzie, Lady Waks, The Freestylers, Stanton Warriors and DJ Icey. They’ve been pushing the break beat sound hard in the Washington, DC metro area. DJ Proxxy is fresh back from a gig in London and they look to return again this summer.
From Seattle to New York, London to Miami, Proxxy & Lantern have put in their dues over the years. They have played the iconic Ultra Music Festival in Miami for over 10 years and were residents at the legendary Starscape festival in Baltimore, until the event outgrew itself in 2012. DJ Lantern topped the beatport breaks charts with a #1 hit in 2015 and a #2 hit in 2016 with Bradley Drop. Lantern currently is the behind the scenes man at Transit (Give Productions), one of the longest running weeklies in the Washington, DC metro area – 13 years and counting. Proxxy alongside Essential Bass & Transit have hosted many a show together as well. They also just debuted a mini mix on Crystal Method’s Community Service on SiriusXm Satellite Radio. Keep an eye out for more choons, edits and mixes from Proxxy & Lantern in the near future! Much like Electric Ave, they always bring an old-school vibe and keep the dance-floor current using a diverse track selection. Known for their energetic, booty bouncing sets, be sure not to miss these breakbeat US legends!
DJ WHO has been banging’ the box of underground dance music for over 20 years. From the early ’90s, DJ WHO spent years working at Modern Music. From the knowledge gained, he always able to provide expert musical guidance to DJs from all parts of the world. DJ WHO has been a key player at many dance nights, including memorable gigs at Fever & Buzz, as well as one-off events put on by some of the best local promotional crews: Ultraworld, Tripotronic Bassrush/Fusion Productions and even Modern Music’s own legendary Spiritual Movement events, which ultimately morphed into “Rise”, Baltimore’s premier, weekly underground dance event. As club resident, DJ WHO helped to seek out and secure a countless amount of the best local, national & international talent, such as, Joey Beltram, Richie Hawtin, Frankie Bones, Caspar Pound, Josh Wink, Dubtribe, Paul van Dyke, the Hardkiss brothers, Diesel Boy, Super DJ Dimitry (of Deee-lite), DJ Icee, On-E, Mark Farina, Jason Jinx, Frank Ryde, Dave Trance, Onionz, Dante, Debo, Bassbin Twin, Scott Henry, Charles Feelgood, LG, Chris Bulla, Lonnie Fisher …and the list of top-shelf talent just keeps going on!
Through years of constant residency and touring, DJ WHO has proved himself to be one of the most consistent providers of groovy, body-shaking music at all of the best events. He began to produce studio material on Defective Records, as well as on his own “Shaken Not Stirred” label. DJ WHO’s studio output was so successful that the Chemical Brothers licensed “PB4UGO2BED”, one of his breakbeat masterpieces of the era, for their incredible “Live At The Social” mix CD. and continued crafting the funkiest dance material that could be squeezed between grooves of wax! Determined to continue pushing even more boundaries, WHO has collaborated in the studio with other legends, including Onionz, Whoda Whodia & Bassbin Twins
DJ Tony Smooth & DJ Vince Christopher