Crystal clear | Music | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Crystal clear

Nineties electro pioneers The Crystal Method head to Halifax for some shellfish and dancing.

You would think that when you're as famous as recording duo The Crystal Method, you would have run out of things to do after a 20-year-long career. But as Ken Jordan prepares for the band's trip to Halifax this week, delivering a DJ set at The Paragon Theatre on December 3, he speaks excitedly about playing his first show on the east coast. Mostly because he needs to get his fix.

"What is the signature thing to do in Halifax?" he asks like an inquisitive tourist. "Is it fresh lobster? Is it fresh crab? Where do I need to go to get the best stuff?"

As psyched as Jordan is about shellfish, Halifax fans are excited for the late '90s electro pioneers arrival and their one-off maritime gig. Jordan and Scott Kirkland have been busy since their landmark record Vegas was released in 1997, at the height of the electronica explosion.

"We had really good timing with our first album because electronic music was making a really big splash," Jordan reflects. Although it has been 13 years since mainstream audiences fully embraced electronica, turning artists like Moby and The Chemical Brothers into household names, the duo has been consistently releasing studio albums and remixes, including the release of the group's latest album, 2009's Grammy-nominated Divided By Night, and the digital-only Sine Language EP. "I think in America electronic music goes in and out as far as popularity is concerned," Jordan says. "Right now with Lady Gaga and all the other kind of pop-electronic, I think it's in a good spot again. It's good for us when those things become popular."

Setting up in their new studio, Crystalwerks, the band showed a distinct change to a more organic and polished sound for Divided by Night, mixing eclectic tones and synthesizers into the songwriting process. The album increased in vocal collaborations, including Matisyahu and Metric's Emily Haines, but mostly by accident.

"It wasn't really much of a concerted effort, we always do them," Jordan says, sounding slightly tired at the attention critics put on the record's guest vocalists. "I think next time we may try to open it more towards other musicians and producers who are doing something different and interesting."

Divided by Night achieved something different and interesting with the inclusion of Peter Hook, ex-bassist of New Order, who contributed to two of the strongest tracks on the record.

"His method is to just listen to the songs a few times and then jam over them," says Jordan. "He spent the whole day just playing on tracks and telling us old stories about the band, so it was a lot of fun."

The ease of computer-based songwriting has also resulted in a new influx in mainstream dance music. Jordan points towards virtual synthesizers and the cheap cost of recording gear---including a new synthesizer that the band is currently working on for M-Audio, although Jordan won't comment much on it, saying the instrument is "pretty secret."

Overall, he sees this as a good thing for the genre. "It allows talented people, who may not have had the opportunities, the opportunity to make music. There will always be a lot of crap out there on the internet," Jordan says, laughing, "but the good stuff always rises to the top."

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