Founded in 1993 by Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan, it’s incredible to think that The Crystal Method has been supplying the world with eclectic waveforms for over a quarter-century. Today marks the release of The Crystal Method’s sixth studio album, The Trip Home. However, there’s something particularly special about this aural entrée; this is the first album release since Ken Jordan left the duo in 2017.
The Raze’ kicks off the LP with Le Castle Vania in the form of a cavernous, brooding, slightly disconcerting collaboration that hits all the right notes of what we love about The Crystal Method. Blood pressure stays elevated with ‘Holy Arp’, the LP’s first single; though it might be a different shade of holy than your mother’s typical Sunday, it’s a divine offering of synthesis all the same.
A personal favorite, ‘Ghost in the City’ is all juice and no play. Magnificent, crushing bass arrangements, a seductive topline from Amy Kirkpatrick, and driving melodies all coalesce for that classic crystalized perfection we know and love. Throughout the release we’re met with dreamy oscillations, classic hip-hop breaks interspersed with atmospheric meanderings, and the eclectic nectar of 90’s legend penetrating the veil of 2018’s soundscape.
‘Carry On’ is a pillow for our weary minds, serving as a gorgeous intermission before the album takes on a loftier expression of introspection. The hands of Matt Lange and Justin Chancellor are all over the juicy center of ‘Cabin Pressure’, stirring up scenes of a back alley New York City crime chase that flows into a charging ballad with Franky Perez on ‘There’s a Difference’.
Preparing the LP for an uplifting resolution is ‘Hold on to Something’, before dropping into the final, thoughtful expanse of ‘Let’s Go Home’. This last one is prime for a late night cruise down your favorite street, roaring past strobing lamplights as fond memories of the past are replaced with dreams of what’s to come.
Overall, The Trip Home is a glorious addition to The Crystal Method’s storied discography with decidedly cinematic tone. Somewhere along the 12 track journey, you may come to realize your brain has been sucked through your earholes and you’ve got a little more pep in your step, strangers are smiling your way, and you can finally sense the slight crisp of fall in the breeze. No, this isn’t the onset of dementia, rather the afterglow of a truly exquisite production from one of our genre’s greatest minds. As a not-so-newly minted solo moniker, Kirkland’s Crystal Method understandably spins a subtly different twist without Jordan’s production efforts.
Don’t forget The Crystal Method is still embarking his North American tour in celebration of The Trip Home, and tickets/dates can be found here.
Normani Kordei wants her new music to genuinely connect with young women.
The singer rose to fame as a member of the girl group Fifth Harmony but is now pursuing a solo career. Normani’s upcoming debut solo record is set to include collaborations with Missy Elliott, Calvin Harris and Kehlani, and the star is hopeful that lots of her material will resonate with her female fans.
“I like to write whenever I’m going through something,” she told Rolling Stone magazine. “But it definitely varies; I’ll have my not-so-amazing moments, and I’ll have my confident moments, but the important thing for me throughout the album process was to make sure that I’m making a body of work that women are genuinely able to connect to. I want women to really hear (themselves) in my songs.”
Normani, who has already scored some success with a song with Khalid entitled Love Lies, is also setting out to break away from her popstar persona with her own record. However, she is hopeful that her Fifth Harmony fans will continue to support her projects.
“I look at my core fans and see how loyal, dedicated and committed they’ve been. How they’ve rocked with me from the beginning. I just want to live up to those expectations,” the 22-year-old shared. And when it comes to music, Normani cites Beyonce and Nicki Minaj as two of her greatest inspirations, along with a string of other icons. In fact, she always saw herself as the “performer” of the group when she was part of Fifth Harmony along with Ally Brooke, Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui and Camila Cabello.
“I was the performer. I wanted to be like Michael Jackson was, Beyonce. Britney. I wanted — and want — to be like Janet Jackson. I feel like that was kind of my role in Fifth Harmony, to be the entertainer,” she added.
Buddy Miles was a massive presence in sixties and seventies funk and rock music.
His extensive CV saw him as one of the founding members of Electric Flag with Mike Blooomfield & Nick Gravenites, around 10 tracks with Jimi Hendrix and later being the drummer with Hendrix’ Band Of Gypsies, he played with John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana and even with the Family Stone. His solo career was also extensive, spanning around 14 albums before his untimely death in 2008.
‘Chapter VII’ was released in 1973, originally on Columbia.
So, relevance in 2018?
It is a great piece of soul/funk/gospel from beginning to end and I found myself completely captured by the never ending rhythms, stunning horns and guitar licks (courtesy of Adrian Gurvitz) that all go together to support the groove first and foremost.
There is tons of variation in the album from the guitar led Blues of ‘L.A. Resurrection’ through ‘Elvira’ which has a Family Stone strut and Jackson Five vocal groove and the soul/Blues of ‘Crossfire’; every track is driven by Miles powerful drumming, everything is built around the beat.
The other thing that comes across in track after track is a sense of freedom. In today’s world of Jam bands this would still stand out in its’ free expression and jamming around the theme.
A couple of the numbers do sound dated: ‘There Was A Time’ is a slow ‘hug your partner on the dancefloor’ number in a modern world where the concept is pretty well past.
But you also get the single version of ‘Them Changes’ – a live collaboration with Carlos Santana – as a bonus track and that more than makes up for it.
A damn good album and well worthy of a decent reissue.
By Andy Snipper
Bringing You the Best Global Music Gossip.