CD Review – III, Crystal Castles


A lot has happened in electronic music between Crystal Castles’ first release in March, 2008 and their latest release, III, on Nov. 12, 2012. Alice Glass and Ethan Kath have managed to stay innovative and edgy and relevant all throughout this time by constantly adapting and reinventing their sound that created shockwaves when the community was first introduced to it.

Crystal Castles’ first album was famed for its video game-like bleeps and bloops and up-tempo percussion ripped right from chiptunes. Many in the electronic music community saw this as the future of popular electronic music.

Nevertheless, Crystal Castles was never destined for the mainstream, anyway, due to their nature to experiment, despite their critical acclaim. Just as chiptunes began to appear more commonly, Crystal Castles got rid of all their previous synth equipment and set out to create an album that didn’t use a computer. The result is a brooding and affected release that at once sounds both utterly out of control and meticulously crafted. Glass’s previously underrated melodious voice paired with Kath’s irregular 808 drum machine programming is sure to draw comparisons to Purity Ring’s Shrines, and with good reason. Both Canadian electronic musical groups explore the musical space left between lurching dubstep and affected house music featuring a haunting female vocalist and her male instrumentalist counterpart. The difference is that while Purity Ring sounds fresh and innovative, it sounds like they know what they are creating. Crystal Castles is searching for sounds, and if you happen to be interested in searching for new sounds too, III might be for you.

Jon Neher

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