The Crystal Method, comprised of Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan, is one of the few American techno acts that have gained international recognition. Unlike most European acts that have ambient, jazz, or dance influence, these boys from Las Vegas are All-American: their sound is harsh, aggressive and funky, rooted in hip-hop, rap and industrial. They have only one album called Vegas (music from which is very often used in movie trailers [eg. Mystery Men and Gone in Sixty Seconds] and advertisements because it's so in-your-face), but have done a handful of remixes and collaborated with various rap artists like Method Man and Old Dirty Bastard. Their lack of album since 1997 is starting to hurt (even though Vegas still sells fairly well) since you can only tour so long, and it would be a shame to see this act fade.

The Crystal Method is a techno-duo that formed up in 1993 and has been rocking faces ever since. Their music has varied quite a bit over the years, and if you have any inkling for techno music, give these guys a spin. Or if you want to aggressively participate in the PiracyQuest 2007, fire up your favorite Intellectual Property Stealer and start downloading!

What's in a name?

Originally, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland played the clubs as The Dust Brothers. Unfortunately, the Dust Brothers weren't keen on another group using their name, so The Pseudo-Dust Brothers had to come up with something else. The story goes that two members both had a crush on a girl Crystal. When they told one of their friends about it, his response was along the lines of "Oh, the Crystal Method." The name stuck.

Bonus trivia that has nothing to do with a name: The Crystal Method set up a studio at one of the member's houses. The cool part? It's in an honest to God, Cold War era bomb shelter converted for their war on peace and quiet.

"What happens in Vegas...

The first Crystal Method album to be released was Vegas, in 1997. To this day, Vegas is the defining sound of TCM and frequently shows up in movies, TV shows and commercials. If you like techno, sample a few of the tracks here. "Get Busy Child" was the club favorite. "Trip Like I Do" was great and got a remix along with the voice of Filter front man Richard Patrick to appear in the Spawn movie. Along with "Keep Hope Alive," you have a threesome guaranteed to get your blood pumping.

...stays in Vegas."

For yours truly, the magic ends here. The follow up album Tweekend was a radical departure from the sound of Vegas. The tracks are mellow and completely devoid of the aggressive, brain rattling beats that man TCM one of the few American based international techno stars. Snore.

Tweekend took four years to produce and TCM promised that the subsequent installments would hit the shelves faster than that. Ever since then, TCM has not released an album that is entirely their own. They took on the habit of headlining a CD and contributing 3 or more tracks while getting any number of other artists fill out the rest of the CD. I don't pretend to know all the numerous subdivisions of techno or electroninca, but TCM started to go off the radar. The music became outright remixes of other artists' songs or outright crap. If you have a particular song that appears on the list and you'd like a remix, try it out. It's just not what TCM used to be. Community Service, Legion of Boom, Community Service II and the London soundtrack all carry on this pattern.

A Trip Like I Did

I had the privilege of seeing The Crystal Method perform live, with Uberzone and Adam Freeland in tow. For more e2 Piracy points, download some of Adam Freeland's stuff--it's house and electronica and grooviness in MP3 format.

Anywho, for my birthday present that year, I wanted TCM tickets for Atlanta, GA. I had them in my hand. I had the hotel booked and the friends ready to go. Then September 11, 2001 happened. The country shut down and all large public get-togethers were canceled. But we all lucked out for our show, on Friday, as it was the first one to be reinstated. Score!

The show was awesome. Even though TCM is just a couple of guys on various synthesizers, they made it work. The stage was set up under The Tunnel which was a conical archway of fabric that all manner of stage lights could be projected on. The front walls of the venue were covered in huge strobe lights that blasted through the night. The smoke machines were kicking out clouds that the lasers cut through beautifully. The speaker towers were cranked all the way to 11 and rattled everything in the house. Life was good. Even though it was a tour to promote Tweekend, they played plenty of Vegas. Life was better.

Then there's the raver crowd. Which is to say, the entire crowd except for my group. It was definitely an awesome people watching experience: the ravers, etards. The weird middle aged lady who, oh my God, should not have worn that skanky dress. The chick who asked one of my friends to dance while her boyfriend left for the beer cart. The fight that almost ensued. The fight that almost erupted a second time when she asked him to dance again during Beer Run #2. Some dude propositioning me for "the good beans" or where they might be located. Good times.

I have to say that is definitely a blast to go to a Crystal Method concert. If you're a raver, go for it. If you're a people watcher, do it. If you like the music, check it out. It'll be one to remember.

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