If you’re familiar with Camo & Krooked’s music, you know what to expect when you read further, but if you haven’t heard them yet, the Viennese’s pair’s music will be some of the freshest music you will ever come across.
Widely known as one of the finest creators in Drum & Bass, Camo & Krooked boast a catalogue that can be matched by less than a handful of producers in the Drum & Bass fraternity. Starting their career in 2007, they have delivered some of the most enthralling Drum & Bass over the years while steadily dissecting their style and influences that have highlighted their fearless approach to music production.
Remember ‘All Night?’ Drum & Bass was crying out loud for something new and the Austrians came up with the goods that revolutionized the DNB sound and it is now called the Anti-drop style of Drum & Bass.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w7RshwXdQU?start=1]
Remember Red Bull Symphonic? The duo pushed the envelope to a level that nobody had ever attempted in Drum & Bass. Camo & Krooked teamed up with legendary Austrian composer Christian Kolonovits for a showcase where live orchestra met Drum & Bass.
There are many more ‘Remember when?’ moments that Camo & Krooked have given to the Drum & Bass scene and we will take a look at some of those moments since the duo came to life in the late 2000s.
Before coming together as a duo in 2007, Camo & Krooked were active in the electronic music space as individual producers since 2002. Camo’s 2007 single played host to Krooked on the tune for a growly Drum & Bass belter, and with the release, they effectively gave us a glimpse of what we could expect from them going forward.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjTb3G5Qz30]
featherweight, transcendent, washy and marauding is the mantra Camo & Krooked have lived by all these years and they made their intentions clear with just their first release on Finn People Productions with a thunderous two-track release in the form of ‘The Access’ & ‘Close Ya Eyes’.
Since then, Camo & Krooked went on a relentless run of releases from 2008 to 2010 on labels like Berzerk, Nasca, and Mainframe Recordings while releasing bangers like ‘Get Funky’, ‘No Nerds Needed’, and ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’. These tunes were also a testament to the swagger-tinged approach to their productions.
THE BIG BREAK
2010 is probably the year that changed Camo & Krooked’s fortunes forever. Their success with the ‘Above & Beyond’ LP on Mainframe Recordings won them the Best Newcomer DJs at the 2010 Drum & Bass Arena Awards, which was shortly followed by two thumping mixes for Annie Nightingale, Fabio & Grooverider.
The year also saw Camo & Krooked release of Future Prophecies’s “September”, DJ Fresh’s “Talkbox”, and the biggest of them all, John B’s “Numbers”. These remixes were belted across clubs and festivals in Europe and North America and it also led to Grooverider hailing them as “one of the biggest talents in Drum & Bass”.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3xfGMrXvYc?start=1]
But the moment that flipped their world upside down was when they released “Turn Up (The Music)”, featuring the vocals of Pat Fulgoni, through Hospital Records as part of their Sick Music 2 compilation.
“Turn Up (The Music)” was also a move away from the duo’s swashbuckling approach to their music to a mellowed and pitched-down Drum & Bass number. Their success with Sick Music was followed by a single on Hospital Records called “Climax”.
Hospital’s team like they always have were quick to realise the talent on offer and they quickly snapped up the duo for an exclusive deal in December 2010. Camo & Krooked then capped off a fantastic year with a remix alongside Shogun Audio boss Friction for Doctor P’s Sweetshop; a track that still does rounds in DJ sets across clubs and festivals.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPBNBAcfLZk]
TWO MAMMOTH ALBUMS
Along with the Drum & Bass excursions, Camo & Krooked were also making Minimal Techno under their Chrome alias, but the duo gave up their side project in 2010 to focus fully on making DNB.
The move paid off and Camo & Krooked delivered arguably the most formative album of their career then with ‘Cross The Line’ on Hospital Records. Despite the album being released a decade ago, it remains as fresh and entertaining as ever.
Starting with their wonky dancefloor-focused banger with TC in the form of ‘Get Dirty’ to the breakneck sonic territories of ‘Breezeblock’ before taking sweeter turns with title track ‘Cross The Line’ with Ayah Marar. Camo & Krooked closed the album immaculately by incorporating elements of disco, techno, soul, and funk, making it a complete package that exhibited their style from start to finish with just their first long release.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEWVNQubI6c]
‘Cross The Line’ was shortly brought back to life in 2011 with a special edition featuring 5 more tracks which included their seminal hit ‘Portal’
While they were redefining Drum & Bass in their own way by hitting just the right buttons with their singles and remixes, they dropped another album on Hospital Records, but this time it was bigger and offered some thumping remixes by the likes of Smooth, Metrik, Mind Vortex, Fred V & Grafix and many more along with a roaring Drumstep stomper called ‘Dusk To Dawn’.
Camo & Krooked were on a dream run and they wanted to latch on to the consistency they had achieved with their previous outputs but instead of releasing any new music, they channelized all their energies into their 2013 masterpiece ‘Zeitgeist’ which was the grandest representation of the Austrian duo’s career.
‘Zeitgeist’ was an illustration of evocative, warm, and riddled music with rushes of Funk, Disco, Electro-House and Minimal Techno. It was also the album that gave birth to their anti-drop style of Drum & Bass music.
The album was a complete flipside to ‘Cross The Line’ and the warmer tones of production that Camo & Krooked were exploring were evident from the very first tune of the album ‘Turn Back The Time’. Then came ‘All Night’, a track that changed how producers perceived Drum & Bass. ‘Move Around’ featuring jazz singer Ian Shaw begins with dreamy and cinematic riffs before hitting kinetic energy at the drop.
‘Aurora’ featuring Metrik which is one of Camo & Krookeds’ finest releases to this day, was released in ‘Zeitgeist’. The album was capped off perfectly with tracks like ‘WKND’, ‘Dreamcatcher’ and ‘Loving You Is Easy’. The album also prompted a European tour which also included a spectacular audio-visual Zeitgeist production show.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?list=OLAK5uy_meWCZNCwRQt6bo4PH7UXG9wHIwCcQwtNI]
MOSAIK, ESSENTIAL MIX AND RED BULL SYMPHONIC
By this time, Camo & Krooked had racked up dozens of Eps and three spellbinding albums which eventually placed them as one of the genre’s finest contemporary creators with an eye for the futuristic.
First came the essential mix for Pete Tong which displayed their ferocious abilities behind the decks. The Essential Mix covered a whopping 100 tracks. YES, 100 TRACKS covering a wide range of music from the likes of DJ Koze, Moderat, Mura Masa, Calibre, Spectrasoul, Calyx & Teebee and some bits from their album ‘Mosaik’ which was unreleased when the Essential Mix went live.
The Essential was immediately followed by the release of their 4th long release and ‘Mosaik’ was a proper musical montage of Camo & Krooked’s deepest influences and ambition coming together. Like the culmination of genres in their previous albums, ‘Mosaik’ had shades of Trap, Future bass and House throughout its 17-track playtime.
Mosaik was also a move away from the dancefloor-focused Drum & Bass that they were known for. The album was all about minimalist rhythms that were cut and structured impeccably with aesthetics that were Drum & Bass and beyond. Tracks like “Honesty”, “Passion”, “Come Together” and “Mandala” were the exhilarated terrains that Camo & Krooked wanted to take us on a journey into.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?list=OLAK5uy_kxMIUXNidBHvRMg-MQzYWpn_pVqat0Muo]
Then came the career-defining piece of work that etched their name in the Drum & Bass folklore as one of the greatest to ever do it. Camo & Krooked fused live orchestra with legendary Austrian composer Christian Kolonovits for ‘Red Bull Symphonic’ and testified their ability of challenge the unknown territories of music.
‘Red Bull Symphonic’ was premiered with two exclusive shows at Vienna’s Wiener Konzerthaus, a premier venue for classical composers around the world. Camo & Krooked worked with Christian Kolonovits, mixing their symphonic music with drum & bass music and performing live with a 74-piece orchestra, which they described as the biggest challenge of their lives, and it was a move that the world of Drum & Bass had never seen before, and it could also go down as a spectacle that may not be done again.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDOVNGdqi48]
After the live renditions, the pair released the full 22-track showcase featuring their biggest and best-loved hits on Hospital Records.
After doing the spectacular, Camo & Krooked have recently released ‘Sientelo’ with Mefjus, banger that Drum & Bass heads are saying could be the next ‘Dead Limit’ (if you know, you know), but looking the relatively quiet year the Austrians have had, don’t be surprised if they come back to end the year with something remarkable once again.