Crystal Maze, Crystal Maze

[aDepth Audio]

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Crystal Maze’s self-titled debut on aDepth Audio is so self-assured it hardly resembles a first effort. Like Roof Light’s In Your Hands for Styrax or the first EPs by the Aniara crew, Crystal Maze sounds like the work of producers who have put in serious time researching deepness before making their music available. Unsurprisingly, the project isn’t made up of total unknowns; it’s a collaboration between Amsterdam locals Gstring (Aroy Dee’s collaborator in R-A-G) and MarcoAntonio Spaventi.

The title track is the immediate hit here — a clear case of less-is-more: it’s mostly spooked, droning pads melding with a sparse, crawling bass line and some subtle percussive ebbs and flows on the edges. It follows in that special Amsterdam lineage of narcotic, downbeat, “landscape” house, house that doesn’t need a huge hook to get by. “Motoneuron” is similarly minimal, relying on a stealthy, old-school bass line and noirish synth flourishes. Its rhythm opens up more than that of its predecessor though, evolving into a sputtering syncopation. On the flip, Chicago Skyway remixes the title track in his typical high-octane style, with snares and bleeps flying all over the place. It’s intense, schizophrenic and maybe even a little grating at first, but the insertion of the original’s pads reigns things in a lot. The crazed jack and subdued, pads-led sections alternate for the duration of the track, before things land in loping, spaced-out 4/4 for the last minute or so. Finally, “Two Worlds” is methodical and nearly downtempo at first, but it becomes one of the busiest pieces on the EP after the introduction of an arpeggiated bass line and swirling strings, with the drums following suit. Every moment here sounds immaculately studied and full of promise. Hopefully Crystal Maze have more music like this in store for the future.

micha venderbos  on October 9, 2011 at 7:32 AM

great release, love it!


Little White Earbuds October Charts | Little White Earbuds  on November 10, 2011 at 10:50 PM

[…] Current] 05. Kruse & N├╝rnberg, “Daze Without You” [Liebe*Detail Digital] 06. Crystal Maze, “Crystal Maze” (Chicago Skyway Remix) [aDepth Audio] 07. Moomin, “Sweet Sweet” (Oskar Offermann Remix) […]

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