Challenges in the recording studio are simply a necessary evil when you’re a musician. However, the complications legendary electronic music duo THE CRYSTAL METHOD (Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland) faced while creating their self-titled fifth album still remain unbelievable. More than halfway through the process, Scott Kirkland received news that would forever change his life.
“I had what’s called a benign posterior fossa arachnoid cyst that needed to be removed from my head,” he explains. “It’s a simple procedure as far as brain surgery goes, but they still had to cut into my skull and noodle around in there. The surgery wasn’t as bad as the infection afterwards, which landed me in the ICU for ten days. Thankfully, I made it out okay. In hindsight, as weird as it sounds, I think we were able to make a better record because we came through this.”
In the aftermath of his 2013 recovery, Scott regrouped with his Method partner Ken Jordan, and everything picked up where they left off. As electronic dance music folded itself into popular culture over the past five years, these progenitors viewed this album as a pivotal statement.
With twenty years under their belts, the iconic platinum-selling debut 1997’s Vegas, a 2009 Grammy Award nomination in the category of “Best Dance/Electronic Album” for Divided By Night, as well as compositions for film and television including Bones and Real Steel, among other accolades, they collectively decided to up the ante yet again. That’s one reason why they named their fifth offering The Crystal Method.
“It’s been two decades since this started, and electronic music has enjoyed a huge resurgence,” says Ken. “We wanted to reintroduce ourselves to the world here. The name itself signifies twenty years of doing this. It represents a great deal of hard work, fun, and rewards. It’s simply who we are.”
Scott adds, “Actually, we hate coming up with album titles, and it was just easier to call it The Crystal Method. It’s a Walter White-approved name!”
Regardless of the reason, these eleven tracks preserve the hallmarks of the group’s signature sound, while boldly and brilliantly forging forward into uncharted waters. It fuses the skittering, sprawling dance floor soundscapes of their most classic fare with a modern panache and striking pop bombast. Those elements all converge on the soulful and shimmering introductory single “Over It” featuring Dia Frampton.
“She has such a unique voice,” Ken goes on. “You can tell she could sing anything. She brought in the skeleton of the track and it turned into this anthem. It happened during one day in our studio—completely in the moment. That style of collaboration was integral to this album. Instead of having people send their parts in, we recorded together in our studio. We got to capture that essence.”
Speaking of seizing the moment, a rather serendipitous encounter in mid-air led to the LeAnn Rimes-assisted “Grace”—an elegant and ethereal masterpiece. After initially meeting while doing press for the Re:Generation music project, Ken and Scott ran into Rimes on a plane to Denver. Scott gave her the song on the spot, and a few months later, it was complete.
“She and her writing partner came over, and we had this awesome session,” he recalls. It was all so strangely coincidental. I saw her on the plane and gave her the music. It was initially titled ‘Grace’ and she has a tattoo that reads Grace will lead me home. She had such a random connection with it. I feel like that made everything even more powerful.”
Elsewhere on the album, Scars on Broadway’s Franky Perez offers an ominous hum to the expansive “Difference,” while Miami mainstays Afrobeta bring an intoxicating bounce to the dreamy “After Hours.” However, “Dosimeter” veers off down a different path altogether. Coupling the sounds of Scott’s PIC Line with his children’s laughter, it’s a hypnotic and poignant moment.
“It’s a direct result of everything I went through,” he admits. “That PIC Line made this charmed sound like a cat. I could get my four-year-old daughter to laugh it, and she wasn’t scared. One day we recorded it in the studio. Around the same time, my wife got a great recording of the kids playing. Everything is in there.”
The Crystal Method are shining brighter than ever. 2013 sees them score both the J.J. Abrams television epic Almost Human and the League of Legends video game. They’ve rightfully earned a reputation as “one of the best live dance acts on Earth,” according to the Village Voice. Hits such as “Now Is The Time,” “Keep Hope Alive” and “Name of the Game” are bona fide eternal dancefloor staples. They’ve collaborated with everyone from Danny Elfman and LMFAO to Scott Weiland and Metric’s Emily Haines. However, they’re looking forward to another two decades of dance supremacy.
“We want to honor the fans with this album,” concludes Ken. Even though our sound has developed and it’s current, we’re still The Crystal Method.”
“The feeling doesn’t ever change,” Scott affirms. “There’s nothing like playing music at high volumes and interacting with a crowd. How did we get so fortunate to be able to do this?”