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Crystal Castles

Mega machine music from the cold, cold north.

Who? Toronto-based musicians Alice Glass (of Fetus Fatale) and Ethan Kath (of Jakarta) came together in December 2003 and started recording the electronic freakouts that are Crystal Castles’ stock in trade. A 2005 studio mic check that was accidentally recorded and named “Alice Practice” started gaining label attention when it was posted on the group’s MySpace page. After lots of production and remix work — including tracks for Klaxons and the Little Ones — a 2007 split single with HEALTH on Lovepump United marked the group’s first official release. Their self-titled debut album drops March 18 on Last Gang Records.

What’s the Deal? Remember the end of Matrix: Revolutions where Keanu Reeves’ body is carted off into a mechanized dystopia? Crystal Castles’ music is the sound of that world, from “Love And Caring”‘s deathmatch between aging videogame consoles — Ladytron should be officially envious — to the ethereal beauty of “Tell Me What to Swallow,” which is pretty much a fan love letter to the Cocteau Twins. The band refutes stories that part of its sound comes from wiring a chip from an Atari 5200 into a synthesizer, but listening to their creations it’s no wonder such myths keep spreading. As cold and robotic as songs like “Vanished” sound at first, repeated listens reveal an organic pulse underneath the wires and electrons, thanks in no small part to Glass’ vocals that retain their human touch even after heavy effects processing.

Fun Fact: That Atari story makes it only natural to presume the band named themselves after the 1983 console videogame, but Glass and Kath maintain the name actually came from the domicile of ’80s cartoon She-Ra: Princess of Power.

Now Hear This:
Crystal Castles – “Crimewave (Crystal Castles vs. HEALTH Remix)” DOWNLOAD MP3

On the Web:
Crystal Castles at MySpace

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