Few styles of music are as immediately thrilling as drum ‘n’ bass in full flow – and DJ Fresh reminds us of that frequently in the course of Kryptonite. For this is the record that really brings him out from alongside partner in crime Adam F to dance like a maniac on his own two feet.
No quarter is given here, for the music packs a big punch – and it’s lean, mean and spoiling for a big night out. With no padding in the production, we get straight into the action with Tailbox and are set down, heads in a spin, at the end of Heavyweight.
In between we hear not only drum ‘n’ bass at its best (Lassitude) but dubstep too, with Starfall combining a mean and moody bass more in keeping with the genre, supporting a striking set of harmonies from Val Beestings, the prominent vocal talent on the album. Fresh shows, just like Adam F, that hip hop and drum ‘n’ bass can easily co-exist, but seems to be bringing in his own rough take on electronic soul in the process, and Hypercaine brings together a brilliant pair of vocals in the chat of Stamina MC and the more soulful Koko.
It means Kryptonite never has a dull moment, not even when the tension dips on Chacruna. Instead we get to admire Acid Rain, a simmering cauldron that boils over into a cutting rhythm nearly two minutes in, before suspending a lovely floated breakdown halfway through. Then there’s Fight, showing why it’s become so well loved as a club track with its screaming brass lines and doom-laden bass, and the closing Heavyweight, a fast and fizzy firecracker that shows how drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep can co-exist in the same track. And that’s before the outstanding single Golddust even gets a mention.
Fresh really succeeds here in the way he’s clearly thought out the album beforehand, which might sound like an obvious thing to do but is a quality all too lacking from pumped up beats albums. He knows just when to hammer down hard on the accelerator, and when to check back for a brief instant, heightening the impact of the coruscating rhythms in the process. Nowthere does he resort to clich�, and even when going down tempo keeps the tension high and the atmosphere taut.
A fine piece of work, then, Kryptonite does exactly what a good high tempo dance record should do – it makes you go crazy in both mind and body, but somehow manages to please a thinking audience too. Snap it up while it’s still hot; this is a high tempo stormer you should not be without.