Camo & Krooked

Mosaik

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

For their fourth proper full-length, prolific Austrian drum'n'bass duo Camo & Krooked moved from London Elektricity's Hospital Records to an even bigger heavyweight in the d'n'b world, Andy C's mighty RAM Records. As with their other albums, this is a lengthy journey which demonstrates their prowess for both audacious sound design and songwriting skills. Mosaik is structured as a proper album listening experience rather than as a collection of club tracks for DJs. All of the tracks are standard song lengths, and several of them segue into each other in order to keep up the momentum, but they're not just crossfaded into each other like a DJ mix. Sometimes the tempo noticeably changes up or down, particularly when they switch from drum'n'bass to house, such as on the appropriately titled post-Disclosure dance-pop tune "Slow Down." "Good Times Bad Times" starts out as drum'n'bass but flips to house halfway through, and actually gets more dramatic. Of the tracks with vocals, the high-octane soul of "If I Could" is the most successful. Other standouts such as "Ember" and "Witchdoctor" do without lyrics, and let the duo's epic sound sculpting take control. Their tracks are embellished with cinematic instrumentation, often landing at unexpected destinations -- the haunted piano at the end of "Witchdoctor" wasn't easy to see coming. The duo manage to make beats that are highly propulsive even as they feel like they're dissolving or mutating. No over-used breakbeats are heard, and the beats are highly intricate and inventive, never settling for conventional patterns. And even outside of the beats, their skill for manipulating other sounds is astounding -- during "The Sloth," the vocals are processed so that they almost sound like blues slide guitar at first, and a dizzying array of other sounds pop up during the track's two-and-a-half minutes, including flutes, horns, and heavy funk drums. At 17 songs, it's a lot to take in, but from minds this creative, it's far better to receive too much than too little.

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