Album of the week: DMX Krew – Glad to be sad

DMX Krew turns out records like one of Henry Ford’s production lines just before the depression hit. There seems to be an urgency with his records that’s not only prolific, but also necessary, like each record he makes is made to undermine everything that’s come before it. Having released records on the likes of labels like Aphex Twin’s Rephlex and Abstract Forms, his last few records have found their way on the hugely popular Hypercolour where he’s put out a triptych of LPs over the course of a record a year culminating in the latest, “Glad to be sad.”

Since his first record in 1996, DMX Krew has perpetuated a brand of Electro that has never veered far from the archetypal formula of the genre as broken beats, enigmatic melodies and a robotic charm distinguishes his extensive discography. There is always a lot of Electro being made, but a DMX Krew track retains a distinctive quality that harks back to the genre’s earliest incarnations from the west coast of LA re-imagined from the lysergic purview of the UK acid perspective. The London producer’s charm lies in the amicable melodic nature of his arrangements, undermining the primal nature of machine music with a sincere human touch.

“Glad to be sad” sees DMX Krew retaining that elusive touch as a producer and songwriter; why fix what isn’t broken after all? As the title suggests, the LP finds the UK producer in a melancholic mood with sombre melodies and mystifying harmonies clouding the upbeat rhythmic arrangements. It’s not to be conflated with anything dark, sinister, or even completely sad, but more an overwhelming visceral quality to the music. Songs like “Dark Moon,” and there are more songs than tracks on this record, coaxes an eerie mood from the DMX Krew sonic palette that instils that sense of melancholia that swathes this record.

DMX Krew releases so much music and so frequently that’s it difficult to enjoy everything that he puts out. You’ll find yourself being drawn to his music through one LP or EP, and then you’ll find yourself drifting away from it again. But every now and then there’s a record that brings you back into his music, like seeing an old friend after a long absence. That’s what “Glad to be sad” is all about; it’s one of those records that remind us why we like the music of DMX Krew.