DJ Crystl: Dee Jay Recordings 1993: REWIND of post from 26/3/22 with reinstated audio courtesy of odysee.
To me Dj Crystl is one of the great sound designers of the jungle era. Perhaps Pete Parsons aka Voyager, his engineer and right hand man deserves some credit here too. The tunes below display a producer at the peak of his powers going from strength to strength like Omni Trio, Foul Play, 4Hero and Goldie all were at roughly the same time. While Dj Crystl's 1993 was brilliant choon-wize and his 1994 was also pretty good, it was the following year that things just did not blow up for him how they were supposed to as jungle ballooned into Drum & Bass. Crystl somehow missed the momentum and it felt like his potential was never fully realised. Like is there several albums worth of material that never got released? What happened? While that's probably an interesting story (that I don't actually know) I just want to point out here what a stellar set of releases DJ Crystl issued in 1993 on Dee Jay Recordings.
Dj Crystl's three 12"s on Dee Jay Recordings and one 12" on Force Ten Records in 1993 make up one of Jungle's most sublime winning runs. If Crystlize, Deep Space, Meditation, Warp Drive, Sweet Dreamz, Your Destiny, The Dark Crystl and Inna Year 3000 were all put on one cd it would have been one of the top jungle albums of all time along with The Deepest Cut, Parallel Universe & Black Secret Technology. Actually I can't believe somebody didn't have the foresight or hindsight to compile that (?).
I suppose Dj Crystl was one of the original ambient jungle producers. I always think he's got a vague shoegaze vibe too with his walls of synth sound, drones and ethereal vocal science scattered amongst the jungle elements. I wonder if Kevin Shields or Seefeel were fans? or vice versa? Anyway his sides are a lot crisper than you might imagine or remember. They are immaculately put together with all sorts of microscopic detail. I imagine Dj Crystl spent a lot of time meticulously crafting each second of his tuneage while never losing sight of the big picture. The sound while fastidious however never appears to be too fussy, often quite the opposite and that balancing act is where his potency lies. Like Omni Trio there is an aura of splendid excitement, elegance, generosity and transcendence in Dj Crystl's jungle.
DJ Crystl - Crystlize
Swirls of synths, shapeshifting walls of sound, time-stretched drum opulence, alluring dark tunnels, ethereal vocal science and an uncanny rattling clang accompany the endlessly chopped snares into the Crystlized echo chamber.
DJ Crystl - Deep Space
Frantic intricate choppage that is somehow mellifluous. Those melodic snares are cushioned perfectly amongst the atmospheres of enchanting darkness.
DJ Crystl - Meditation
Oceanic pools of sound, bleeps and waves of delicate vocal science eventually make room for exquisite rhythm-ology. At 5.10 a dramatic halt to proceedings occurs to allow the sonic waves back in before the beat momentum effortlessly picks up again. In the remaining couple of minutes it moves into mesmerising choppage of sparkling ambient snares.
DJ Crystl - Warpdrive
Dj Crystl's most in yer face moment in 1993. This is a deluge of chopped and stretched breaks that go euphorically haywire amongst ominous drones. Don't forget that gloriously dark synth lull at 3.12. then the breaks continue go more and more insane. Holy shit this is the Best!
DJ Crystl - Sweet Dreamz
Idyllic sounds of the seaside with heaven bound synths, a woman's soothing meditative voice and a beat much less frantic than most jungle. Sweet Dreamz is all space age tropical vibes of calm tinged with disorientation and twilight. Pretty psychedelic.
DJ Crystl - Your Destiny
Waves of miniature ambient delirium and disorienting backwards abstractions where the spirit of MBV circa Glider lurks. The rhythm stop starts until 2.53 when it gets fully rolling as the darkness encroaches with a spectral presence coming in and out of focus. Choice dubby bleeps add to the subtle elusive charms of Your Destiny.