2017: The Camo & Krooked takeover continues to permeate every corner of the electronic music landscape as they take their unique sound to uncharted pastures. Two successful singles, one high profile remix of Noisia, one Essential Mix and a non-stop world tour into 2017, the Austrian music-producer A-listers now present the most critical releases of their career…
After three long years of the deepest studio craft they’ve ever committed to, Camo (Reini) & Krooked (Markus) have delivered their most unifying, high profile vocal track ‘LIKE I DO’ with fellow Vienna artist and runaway songwriter sensation James Hersey. Then, on June 23, they will finally unveil their most startling, detailed and singular body of work yet – ‘MOSAIK’.
Their fourth album since emerging in 2007, ‘MOSAIK’ is a pivotal document that elevates Camo & Krooked’s creative credentials, vision and technique to brave new levels. The result of years of studio hibernation, studying vintage analogue instruments, honing their instantly distinctive signature, songwriting skills and, in Markus’s case, even finding their own singing voice, ‘MOSAIK’ galvanizes the duo’s position as one of the most exciting, unique, innovative and in-demand acts in electronic music.
This career-defining chapter of their ever-evolving journey began in November 2016 with the critically-received two-track release: ‘IF I COULD / EMBER’. Released on their own Mosaik Musik imprint (a label they run mutually with Ram and BMG), these were the first fresh sounds from the duo since 2013 and were heralded as instant classics. Carefully and cleverly balancing the signature the duo have gradually grafted and crafted since day one with hints that they’d evolved once again, the release lit the fuse for an explosive wave of milestones and moments that rumble to this day…
Sparks began flying in February with the first of two key releases: First their premiership iced-soul remix of Noisia’s remarkable ‘THE ENTANGLED’. Then another teaser for MOSAIK – the dusty sunset soul of ‘GOOD TIMES BAD TIMES’ and the delicate, dreamy soft focus stepper ‘HONESTY’ (which Markus/Krooked sings himself). These major releases have been backed up by an impeccable, detail-rich Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 and a non-stop run of headline dates throughout the year including key events such as Let It Roll, Tomorrowland, Dour, We Are FSTVL, National Drum & Bass Awards, Fabric, Hospitality, Foundry, Detonate, Noisia Invites and their own festival Nuforms, Austria’s only drum & bass two-day festival which they personally curate.
It’s clear that even now – 10 years, four albums and more than 50 singles deep into the partnership – Reini and Markus are only just beginning to embrace the scale of what can be achieved in the vast electronic playground. A decade of micro snapshots of broken pieces has set the foundations, each one hinting at their capabilities, now a macroscopic view falls into place, revealing something much more beautiful: ‘MOSAIK’
A picture that will take as many listens to appreciate every nuance and detail as it took them hours to make; ‘MOSAIK’ deserves ‘opus’ classification. Every listen reveals more elements, instruments and dots to join; orchestral tension, loose-limbed jazz, cosmic techno, delicate provocative electronica all provide strong shades in ‘MOSAIK’s spellbinding collage.
The canvas is drum & bass. But within this framework are fusions, motifs and ideas that are much harder, if not impossible, to succinctly file; from the universal shamanic cinematics of ‘WITCHDOCTOR’ to the sincere and heart-melting ‘HONESTY’ via their titan-collision with Austrian kindred spirit Mefjus ‘MANDALA’, this is a broad, bold body of work that’s dynamically built around real songs that hit you in the loins, arrest your senses and make every hair stand on end…. The daring theatre of ‘BLACK OR WHITE’ with Tasha Baxta, the dusky glow of ‘IF I COULD’ with Joe Killington, the roomy space soul of ‘BROKEN PIECES’ with NIHILS and the impassioned end-of-night showstopper ‘LIKE I DO’ with James Hersey are just some of the examples of the real songs drum & bass is capable of amid the 17-track odyssey. A trip that’s composed and considered with such a flow, consistency and energy it all feels like one seamless story…. Just like one of their renowned DJ sets; an art they’ve been crafting years they even met in 2007.
These roots are everything. No matter how far and wide Camo & Krooked develop their ideas, compositions and studio technique, they remain grounded in their drum & bass roots and have never once alienated or confused their loyal fanbase as they’ve embraced other tempos, textures and terrains. It’s fanbase that has grown with them as they’ve worked with some of the most seminal and respected labels in their field (Hospital, Shogun Audio, Breakbeat Chaos, Viper) and striven the ranks of one of electronic music’s most competitive and technically profound genres.
Drum & bass is a scene that’s obsessed with rapid technological innovation, pushing sonic limits and exploring uncharted sounds. Yet in all this pace and speed and urgency Camo & Krooked have made time stand still. Spending three years over an album until every broken piece of the picture complements each other beyond the sum of their parts, they’ve ignored the genre’s ubiquitous louder-harder-faster-sharper mantra, stood back and created something that sounds of its own. Its own world, its own time, its own picture.
‘MOSAIK’ is indeed the most critical release of their career so far. But as the dust settles and they set their sights on even further uncharted pastures, you already know that the next 10 years of their journey will be even bigger…