In less than 3 years, Kryptic Minds have carved a deep channel into the dubstep scene, mining its traditions of spatial minimalism, edgy atmospheres and sub-bass intensity to deadly effect. The culmination of this work is their new longplayer, ‘Can’t Sleep’. Bleak yet uplifting, it is the soundtrack to visions of a sterile land, devoid of people – only ghosts remain to recount the histories of their passing.
The passive, prolonged tension implied by the title permeates the entire album; with taut beats and edgy synths the sonic equivalents of clenched jaws and coiled springs. Further, the solitude of insomnia is encapsulated in the long reverbs and epic soundstages that Kryptic Minds have painstakingly created, evoking dark, empty spaces and absolute solitude, yet there are moments of release to be found. Fearsome dancefloor weapon ‘The Fifth’ unleashes a wild technoid bassline, barely restrained by powerful drums. Guest vocalist Alys Blaze soars over the urgent backing of title track ‘Can’t Sleep’, and the bittersweet coda of ‘Fade To Nothing’ warms like winter sunshine.
Other tracks point to a future beyond dubstep – hints of Portishead’s melancholy can be found on ‘Alone’, traces of Detroit machine-funk run through opener ‘Brief Passing’, and shreds of 90s junglism litter ‘A Glimpse Of Hope’ – as an album, ‘Can’t Sleep’ succeeds simply not as a classic of the genre, but as a future electronic classic in its own right.