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The Crystal Method is an American electronic music duo consisting of Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland. Along with The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, and a few other lesser-known acts, they were pioneers of the big beat electronic dance genre, and one of its few American proponents.
The Crystal Method have a very distinctive musical style, featuring hard hitting "big beat" percussion, driving synthesized basslines, and often distorted synthesized lead tones. Most of The Crystal Method's songs have a laid-back feel to them, developing slowly as the song progresses, introducing new ideas slowly, at an even rate. Vocals are not prominent in the sound mix, with some tracks not having any vocal content at all.
Although Jordan and Kirkland are both from Las Vegas, Nevada, the band was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1993 The Crystal Method did most of their earlier production work in an underground shelter lovingly referred to as "The Bomb Shelter" in the front yard of a rented house they once shared as roommates. Before production began on Legion of Boom in 2004, they moved the studio into the garage of the rented house. Many people aren't aware of this, however, and still believe they work in the actual "bomb shelter" which is now a nickname for the studio setup.
There is a lot of discussion as to whether the band took their name from the drug crystal meth (street slang for methamphetamine). In the 1999 documentary Better Living through Circuitry, it was made clear during the interview the name was a drug reference. Ken Jordan discusses how difficult it is "to tell your parents you are in a band named The Crystal Method". Scott Kirkland talks of breaking the band name to his mom on a nature walk, but to his surprise she responds calmly saying "I guess that makes sense, that's what all the kids are into these days."
There is also speculation whether the name is actually Crystal Meth O.D. (Overdose), as the effect of music on the listener is supposed to reflect the effects of Crystal Meth, the drug.
Not surprisingly more recent interviews with the band come up with non-drug-related stories such as a girl named Crystal being the impetus. Certainly a lot of their tracks could be taken as having fun with the subject, "Trip Like I Do" being the most obvious one, but the name of this track actually came from an answering machine message saved on Scott's answering-machine that is one of the samples used in this track and the lyrics seem to have come from the movie The Dark Crystal. There are various interviews with the band citing that the title of the second album, Tweekend, came from the hours of tweaking the sound and mix.
In 2005, their third studio album, Legion of Boom, was nominated for a Grammy Award for "Best Electronica/Dance Album". This marked the first time the Grammys offered such an award.
The Crystal Method's music is broad in scope, and can be found in many modern movies, including Blade II ("PhDream", with Bubba Sparxxx and "Name of the Game"), Blade Trinity ("Weapons of Mass Distortion", "Starting Over"), Cursed ("Bound Too Long"), Gone in Sixty Seconds ("Busy Child"), Lost in Space ("Busy Child"), Spawn ("(Can't You) Trip Like I Do", with Filter), Zoolander ("Now Is the Time"), XXX, The Replacement Killers ("Keep Hope Alive"), Romeo Must Die ("High Roller", "Keep Hope Alive") , Extreme Ops ("Keep Hope Alive"), the remake of The Longest Yard ("Roll It Up") and a major part of soundtrack of London. [Resident Evil]("I Know it's you")
TV and ads:
The title theme to the TV show Bones is credited to The Crystal Method. The Chef Aid album, based on the "Chef Aid" episode of South Park, featured a re-working of "Vapor Trail", which includes vocals by DMX, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Ozzy Osbourne, and Fuzzbubble. The song was renamed "Nowhere to Run" or sometimes "Nowhere to Run (Vapor Trail)." Episode 13, the popular TV shows Alias and CSI, featured "Starting Over" from Legion of Boom. They were also in Dark Angel ("Name of the Game", "Roll It Up") and the theme music of Third Watch was "Keep Hope Alive" from their Vegas album. The song "Trip Like I Do" was featured in an episode of House during a rave scene(Season 1, Episode 10 - Histories). The track "Busy Child" also featured in a 1998 British advertisement for The Gap which featured skateboarders. The track "Name of the Game" has also been used as intro music for live performances by magician The Amazing Johnathan and even in Hummer advertisements.
The track "Name of the Game" (from "Reservoir Dogs the video game" and the Tweekend album) was also featured as intro music for the popular video game Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Max Payne 2. "Name Of The Game" was also featured in Pump It Up: Exceed for the Playstation 2 and XBOX US versions. Their music was also featured extensively in the EA Sports video game FIFA '98: Road to World Cup, which included the tracks "Busy Child", "Keep Hope Alive", "More", and "Now Is The Time." Their song "Busy Child" was featured in the video games DDRMAX2: Dance Dance Revolution and Donkey Konga, and "Born Too Slow" was included in both Donkey Konga 2 and Need for Speed: Underground. Several songs from their first album also featured prominently in the game N2O: Nitrous Oxide. "The Winner" (from Tweekend) was featured in the video game FreQuency, and their remix of P.O.D.'s "Boom" was also featured in its sequel, Amplitude. The track "Roll It Up" is also featured as the title theme for Mad Dash Racing. "Now Is The Time" can be heard in-game in Gran Turismo 2, while "Born Too Slow (Deepsky's Green Absinthe Dub Mix)" can be heard in Gran Turismo 4. The original version of "Born Too Slow" can be heard in Need For Speed: Underground, as listed above. And the track "Robogirl" (a censored version of "Roboslut") can be found in the latest edition of Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA.
The Crystal Method collaborated with Tobias Enhus to create the track "Subway Showdown" for The Matrix - Path of Neo, which also used "Free Your Mind Up" in both its original and instrumental forms. Also in the Xbox 360 title, Forza Motorsport 2, the tracks "Busy Child" and "Weapons of Mass Distortion" can be heard in the menus.
"Keep Hope Alive (Trip Hope Mix)" was featured in the first teaser trailer of Microsoft's Project Gotham Racing 4, for the Xbox 360, at the X06 event.
The Crystal Method have remixed other artists' tracks, such as Linkin Park's track "Points of Authority"; the remix was called "Pts. Of. Athrty (The Crystal Method Remix)" and can only be found on LP Underground 2.0 EP, which is exclusively available to LP Underground members. The group worked with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo to make a music video for the song "Murder".
In June 2006, the duo teamed up with Nike to release the workout-inspired album Drive: Nike + Original Run. The album is a continuous 45 minute mix of ten songs, and was only available on the iTunes Music Store until June 26, 2007, when it was given a physical release to Best Buy stores. Jordan and Kirkland currently host a radio show called Community Service which airs Friday nights on Los Angeles' Indie 103.1, featuring electronic music.