Step aside, Glitch Mob. There’s a new master of the craft, and he’s been simmering for a while.
Definitely not a new name for nuanced fans of glitch hop, but now turning more heads in the mainstream, Cryptex (real name Tyler Chase) has been producing for years, alongside occasional recurring and guest star roles in television shows like Walking Dead (what a day job). His latest EP, Nightwatch, marks a major step forward, taking his sound to a yet-unheard level.
“Awakening” sets the scene for the 3-track effort: a dark, dystopian backdrop that feels a little like The Dark Knight in tone, before hitting the ultra-cool hard left turn that thrusts you face-first into crisp but sonically-perfect bass. Indeed, the short EP feels lushly cinematic, each track seeming to tell stories of intensity with nary a word of plot development. Not that such development is even necessary — each of the tracks seethe vibes that will make you want to rinse this whole record on repeat.
“Nightwatch,” for being the eponymous track, is actually the only weak point of the entire project. It comes up just short of the marks hit by “Awakening” and “The Fall” — which isn’t even to say that it disappoints, merely that it isn’t as intricately crafted or enrapturing as the other two offerings. Where “Awakening” and “Fall” are brimming with character, “Nightwatch” feels too sparse, leaning on formulaic jump-up drum and bass tropes that might grab the real heads but scare away casuals.
As a music fan who is skeptical of (and seldom impressed with) glitch hop as a genre, it takes a lot for me to really be impacted by a tune that bills itself as such, let alone an entire EP. Happy to say that Cryptex easily runs that gauntlet — for my money, Nightwatch is assuredly one of the best independent bass music releases of the year. It’s nothing that changes the whole game, but it’s effortlessly enjoyable, meticulously crafted, and worthy of a $3.87 / £2.50 purchase on iTunes, if you’re a fan of the heavy stuff.
Overall score: 4.1 / 5