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Baker's Dozen

Relentless Education: Krust's 13 Favourite Albums
Neil Kulkarni , September 22nd, 2021 08:20

Drum & bass pioneer Krust takes Neil Kulkarni through the records that shaped him, from the lessons learnt from Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan and Yellow Magic Orchestra to the "revelation" of Flying Lotus, via The Beatles, Michael Jackson and more


The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

I came to The Beatles quite late - of course as a kid I knew their songs but I didn't think they really had an effect on me until I heard Sgt. Pepper's. When I was making ‘’ I really started to listen to concept albums. I was so fascinated, watching documentaries and learning about the making of this album, how they were able to do so much with so little. Their techniques, their mindset, their attitude and all the while still being able to maintain a kind of childlike wonder about the music. I love the way this album really comes after they’d hit the end of the road in a live sense - most people from a massively popular group would just sit on their laurels creatively but they just wanted to keep going as a studio band, and to actually become another band. That’s fucking intriguing to me. I used what the Beatles did on Sgt. Peppers as an approach to making ‘ ‘ - concealing the concept in a way to go deeper into the story I was telling and figuring out that story as I went. I’m not interested in easy listening, I want albums that take you on a journey, where everything is a story with multiple meanings both literal and deeper. The hooks on this are simple but they draw you into the adventure - every single track here is adventurous, I don’t think there’d ever been arrangements like this from a ‘pop’ band. Nothing here is verse-chorus-verse-chorus - it worries me that this kind of songwriting is gonna be Tik-Tokked out of history!

What do you mean - do you not think that the internet has enabled more exploration of music?

Oh of course, but you know - when we were starting out we’d dig back a century, we’d dig into the 50s and 60s so much. Most young producers - especially in jungle - don’t dig back any further than the past decade and have limitless possibilities to play with in terms of recording technology. What’s inspirational about Sgt. Peppers’ is the limitations they were working within. We’re spoiled right now - when I make tracks, I’ve been in that position of having all the toys to play with and I’ve found myself not being able to produce anything. So, I’m ruthless with myself – I limit myself to perhaps one synthesizer riff and just build everything from that, tear things down, rip things out, minimalism things. It takes a certain mindset - the unfortunate thing at the moment is that music production has become accessible to everyone, but some people really shouldn’t do it. The cream of the crop will rise though. I’m seeing and hearing some amazing stuff coming through particularly from Bristol. It gives me a lot of hope.