(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Friday, November 26, 2010

CD review - Kraddy, Labyrinth (2010)

"Led Zeppelin 3000". That's the inspiration that electronic wizard Kraddy used as he put together his new concept EP, Labyrinth. Appropriately, the sound is massive with intense bass. It stands in stark contrast to the milder electronic music I've reviewed in the last couple of weeks.

Kraddy, a founding member of the Glitch Mob, has been a driving force for a classic drum and bass sound. On Labyrinth, the music moves between a straight D&B, picking up an occasional dubstep feel. You can listen on ear buds, but the sub-bass grinds and booming kick drums are best heard out loud, where your body can feel the visceral punch of the sound.

The conceit behind Labyrinth is the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Kraddy intends each of the songs to fit into this myth. At the same time, he's said that he's using the theme of the labyrinth as a metaphor for personal growth and overcoming fear. The first single, No Comply, seems to map to Theseus deciding to stop the tribute of sacrificing youth to the Minotaur. It's an intense song, starting with a monster drum and bass and heavily distorted vocals. The grinding electronic lines also fuzz out along the edges. It moves beyond the initial plodding rhythm to take on a glitchy pseudo funk groove that's similar his old band's work. There's a nice dubstep drop out in the middle of the song that hangs for a moment before the weight of the groove settles back.

Let Go features a hip hop/toasting vocal along with the electronic groove. It serves as a good anchor point leading into my favorite track. Into the Labyrinth begins quietly, with a feel of impending doom. The tension and the music build with a tip of the hat to Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. There's a dubstep pause, then the grind begins. The bass is ponderous. The accompanying music takes the earlier threat and turns it into determination. After another pause, the music moves from determination to the stalking of the minotaur. But the threat still lingers in the background.

Labyrinth is a wonderfully trippy, intense bit of electronic groove. Is it Led Zeppelin 3000? Well, it's certainly heavy, whether metal or otherwise. Mikkeller's Beer Geek Breakfast, an imperial stout can handle the beat. Can you?

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