Album of the Week: DMX Krew – The New Age Travellers

What is it: Lo-Fi ambient electro
What does it sound like: 90’s video games and b-movie space operas
Our favourite moments: Family Time and After the Battle

DMX Krew (aka Edward Upton), better known for his funk-inspired, retro, space-aged electro releases on labels like Rephlex and Abstract Forms, is back with yet another long-player to add his extensive discography. Delving into any DMX Krew release, always presents a minefield of unknown territory waiting for you past the sleeve of any record, and on The New Age Travellers he’s outdone himself again with a record that either pokes fun at the subject of the title or attempts to elevate its image. He proposes the theme as whimsical electronica that stretches between 80’s sci-fi b-movie soundtracks and old-school ambient tracks from TV shows, which might not on the surface appear to be a DMX Krew release, but certainly reveals an image of the artist from an obscure angle. DMX Krew, like Aphex Twin and Legowelt is one of those rare intellectual talents that define a sound only he seems capable of conjuring without ever really conforming to a singular style. Yes, a broader stroke could define the artist by the Electro tag, but on New Age Travellers he’s proven yet again that his blend of Funk Electronica, Synth Wave, Techno and Electro is everywhere, but can only exist in one place. For this latest album, DMX Krew has revealed something of a subtler side, where melodic and harmonic pleasantries are the point of focus that see the artist turn slightly from his beat-music roots.

It’s still very much a machine-based album, with Mr. Upton favouring a lo-fi aesthetic that would not feel that distant from an 80’s soap opera in space. Whether he’s playing in the folksy realm through Ritual, or venturing into the sonic palette of 90’s video games with Dayride A303, there’s a playful aesthetic there where the innocent sonic elements combine with quirky upbeat melodies. It’s not like any other DMX you’ve likely to have heard, and listening to Family Time seems like an entire world away from Electro Worm or Eastside Boogie, yet there’s a consistency that reflects DMX Krew’s unparalleled electro-kitsch style of music and shows his audience a side to his creative ability that we do not get to see very often.