DJ Fresh - Kryptonite

Nick Lewis 04/09/2010

Rating: 3/5

From the first half-speed drop you know this isn't just generic DnB. It's DnB with a pop sensibility. These are tunes for the masses. I'm not saying DJ Fresh is the David Guetta of drum'n'bass, but his tracks are interesting enough to appeal to people beyond hardcore junglists.

Sometimes Fresh shows his age (he was part of DnB innovators Bad Company) and descends into '90s dance cliches like the synth pianos of 'Hypercaine' and the diva vocals of 'Lassitude', but by and large this is an inventive set. The title track twins mournful synthesizer chords with robot voices to sci-fi melancholic effect, 'Golddust' could be the 'Addicted to Bass' of 2010 and 'Fight' is a brass sampling, dubstep wobbling giant of a tune. This is far more than genre DnB.

Release date: Out now

There is a but. And it's a big one.

Kryptonite has the most audible compression I have ever heard. This isn't just an audiophile grumbling, it means that the album possesses virtually no dynamics. That means that every time a beat drops, instead of the heart stopping rush you should be getting, you get nothing. Someone tell Fresh the loudness wars are over. And he lost.

It doesn't matter how the good tunes are, if you're making dance music and your beats don't snap, your bass drum doesn't thump you in the chest, you're not doing your job.

The press release says Kryptonite is the “most bass heavy album of 2010”. I've heard more bass but it's certainly the most compressed.

Good set, but can I master it myself next time?