As an avid fan of drum & bass and a personal fan of Camo & Krooked since 2012, it has been quite interesting to see the evolution of their sound since then. In full honesty (no pun towards said single intended), my appreciation for them had always been based upon melodic liquid bangers like ‘Watch It Burn’ and ‘Nothing Is Older Than Yesterday.’ However, Zeitgeist first hinted at a changing direction in the duo’s style, and Mosaik marks the complete advancement to something fresh in the realm of drum & bass.
The biggest change in Camo & Krooked’s progression has been the move to a more minimalistic sound. Minimalism has not been a very common theme in mainstream drum & bass, but since Zeitgeist Camo & Krooked have brought it to the table and it shines at the forefront of Mosaik. Every one of the seventeen tracks on the LP incorporates minimalism to some degree.
Mosaik is also notable for its general lack of collaborations. Aside from featured vocalists, there is only one collaboration on the album, which is with Austrian drum & bass producer Mefjus. However, amongst the featured vocalists are talented and recognizable names. Names like James Hersey and Tasha Baxter are almost instantly familiar to many EDM listeners, but that certainly doesn’t mean other features should be disregarded. Joe Killington’s vocals are filled with soul on ‘If I Could,’ and ROBB’s paced singing flows in perfect time with the rhythm and feel of ‘Slow Down.’ Klei is the only other credited female vocalist on the album, and her ethereal voice is quite suitable for a song by the name of ‘Dissolve Me.’ Nihils is an indie dance-pop group from Austria heard on the opening track, ‘Broken Pieces,’ where they give a sense of passion felt throughout the rest of the album.
Throughout the past several months or so, Camo & Krooked have been unveiling singles for the album, starting with ‘If I Could’ and ‘Ember’ towards the end of 2016. They were both true examples of drum & bass and gave a fair preview of what was to come, bringing forth the surrounding progression towards minimalism while maintaining melodic structure throughout. Joe Killington’s voice dominated the listener’s focus until the drop on ‘If I Could,’ while ‘Ember’ lacked a vocalist but went by a theme of quick, sharp melodic chords during its first drop, with smooth breaks before and after that culminated in a final drop combining those ideas. ‘Black or White,’ which featured Tasha Baxter, was released as a music video at the end of 2016 and held even more of the listener’s attention to the vocals. Its drop was undeniably drum & bass but pushed the boundaries of minimalism that is generally accepted within the genre even further. The next singles were ‘Good Times Bad Times’ and ‘Honesty,’ which were not released until early March 2017. ‘Good Times Bad Times’ features uncredited male vocals, which nevertheless fit in with the soulful passion of the credited singers on the album. The drop includes a notable guitar-like riff alongside synth pads and simple drum & bass beats. ‘Honesty’ is one of the least minimal songs on the album, with a more liquid drop that harkens back to the duo’s earlier work arguably more than any other song on the album. At the same time, it never seems to forget the direction that Camo & Krooked are moving in.
Other songs were spottily released and previewed in the days close to the album’s release. The innovation throughout the album was present in many of the non-singles, such as ‘Witchdoctor,’ a piece that is not traditional in structure at all for drum & bass. However, while the majority of the album is drum & bass in one sense or another, Camo & Krooked did not shy from some experimentation into other genres. ‘Broken Pieces,’ ‘Heat of the Moment,’ and even the second half of ‘Mandala’ suggest a bit of future bass influence, though quite far from future bass in the way we’ve come to see it. ‘Slow Down’ is a song at a much slower tempo than drum & bass as its name would suggest, and plays with funk and downtempo house. All these experimentations certainly felt successful in the sense that they were both something new for Camo & Krooked and something different for those who normally listen to genres like those.
Overall, the album is certainly one that pushes the boundaries of the genre and innovates what can be done within drum & bass. However, fans of any genre can appreciate it and it’s definitely worth the listen below.
Follow Camo & Krooked On Social Media