Cue Points: Krust
This is Cue Points, a series where DJs get granular with current tracks in their sets, giving us the low-down on what makes them work.
Kirk Thompson is more than a drum’n’bass pioneer: he’s a UK dance music great with a catalogue that can only be looked upon (or listened to) with serious admiration – and perhaps a screw face if you’re so inclined. It’s this catalogue the Bristol artist otherwise known as Krust is reflecting upon as we speak, through a five-volume compilation of remastered cuts and vault classics that plot a course through the producer’s rich and meticulous works spanning the last few decades. Entitled Irrational Numbers, the series is being shared via a new label from Krust, called Wonder Palace, with the third volume fresh off the press.
For Cue Points, Krust breaks down five personal favourites from a handful of fellow drum’n’bass and jungle innovators and considers their impact – within a DJ set, and wider dance music culture. “The creativity from all of the artists here from the very beginning, was always on a whole other level,” he tells us. “They are pioneers and true scientists of sound, transcending genres. Technically, their bodies of work still stands head and shoulders above much of today’s music. Seamlessly blending technical mastery, craftsmanship, scientific precision, artistic depth, and an infusion of soul – not to mention the undeniable funk that’s in every note.”
Check out his choices below.
Adam F – Metropolis
This is one of those tracks that is very unique for its time. It’s long and unconventional introduction sets the tone, making it great for a DJ set. It’s filled with atmosphere, suspense and anticipation. This composition is a remarkable testament to innovation, creativity, and artistic prowess, with Adam doing his own thing, irrespective of trends within the music scene at the time. Metropolis exudes a captivating darkness that evokes memories of the iconic rave at Milton Keynes. The meticulous attention to detail in the breaks and the sonic elements within the track showcases Adam F’s mastery of his craft.
What’s really interesting is how he thought about editing drums and creating the story with the beats – it’s very powerful. And that’s what it was about, really. Taking those elements to another level, the drums – in this context – weren’t just a backdrop but rather an integral part of the storytelling process. A masterful artistic expression, one that left a lasting impact on the electronic music landscape.
Alex Reese – Pulp Fiction
This track demonstrates the beauty in simplicity. Alex truly excelled with this tune. The bassline, in particular, tells its own story. The drum patterns are uncomplicated, like an effortless brushstroke that impacted the scene when it was released. It is remarkable how a tune so straightforward can be so effective. The genius is in the art of stripping away the excess, creating more space, and allowing the music to breathe. In the midst of a chaotic jungle scene characterised by its hectic sound, Alex brought a smooth touch, sidestepping the chaos and producing something effortlessly remarkable. The track’s introduction makes it seamless to mix with other tunes, showcasing its technical prowess within its inherent simplicity.
The beauty of the track lies precisely in it being unassuming, focusing not on overly high-definition production, but on the skilful command of attention in a subtle, non-authoritative manner. The intro is clear with no clutter, so it’s great to mix without giving too much away. This track takes the vibe in a different direction; a great one to set the mood and introduce the crowd to a new flavour.
Dillinja – Tudor Rose
Dillinja is a fucking scientist, and he used a scalpel skilfully on this one – he was surgical in his precision. The kickdrum is so precisely executed that you could feel it deep within your chest. It’s like he had harnessed different levels of sonic mastery. There are layers of EQ wizardry, intricate detailing and unmatched accuracy in this beat. It starts with an eerie, almost sinister medieval speech, setting the stage for the journey it’s about to take you on. You may not have been prepared for what lay ahead, but when the drop hits, you realise you’re in the hands of a maestro who’s masterfully in control of this new sonic world. This track is used to smash peoples face in – ha! It’s that simple, when you want to take the dance up a level, this is your weapon of choice. Straightforward intro to a classic Dillinja drop with no messing about: four bars then mayhem.
DJ Die – Reincarnation
DJ Die’s Reincarnation is a masterful musical narrative. The way the intro gradually builds up to the drop, with the introduction of drums and skilful edits, sets it apart as something distinct and experimental for its time. Die pushed the boundaries of his creative abilities, crafting a piece of art that was ahead of its era. Even today, Reincarnation remains a standout track – it still sounds fresh, unique and creative. Many artists haven’t even attempted what he was doing back then. This is a great track for mixing the intro with some dope filter drum edits, a simple bass drop to introduce you to what’s coming [and a] classic Die intro taking you down a one -ay alley only to drop kick you in the neck with his edits. Smashed it…
Goldie – Beachdrifter
Undoubtedly one of my favourite Goldie tunes. It oozes a rare elegance and uniqueness, providing a seamlessly smooth listen. This track does something truly distinctive, setting it apart from the norm and leaving a lasting impression. Upon my first encounter with it, I was taken aback by its departure from the typical structure and arrangement that many other producers were doing. Goldie, never one to conform to conventions, ventured even further into uncharted territory with this one.
A simple intro with some dope strings gives you time to set the mood, change direction, create space and take them somewhere else. Your selection must be on point with the backend drop – you want to find something with simple drums, and dig in. Beachdrifter has a magnetic quality. Goldie’s a genius, leading you in unexpected directions and subverting your musical expectations along the way. It’s a journey through various layers of storytelling, taking you deeper and eventually culminating in an emotional payoff. What’s interesting to me about this track is its circularity, akin to a classic film motif where the beginning seamlessly aligns with the end. It’s a musical sphere that envelops you. The satisfaction it delivers is undeniable, leaving you with an open invitation to dream and wonder about the profoundness of the experience.
Irrational Numbers Vol. 3 is out now via Wonder Palace