Electro veteran DMX Krew introduces new album <I>Shape Shifting Shaman</i>

DMX Krew will release a new album, Shape Shifting Shaman, at the end of May.

Best known for his albums on Rephlex Records, Ed DMX/DMX Krew has been one of the UK’s most reliable producers and DJs since the mid-90s (he’s also a top writer, as his rundown of the 20 Best Acid House Records for FACT proves).

Shape Shifting Shaman will be released through Dutch label Shipwrec, and in Ed’s words, features tracks that are “more original and have a stronger feeling of my personality in them. When I finished each of these tracks I had a happy feeling that I had done something true to myself and something that represents my best.”

FACT spoke to Ed about the release and we’re also premiering its opening track, ‘Paradise Grove’.

You release a lot of music – obviously – how does Shape Shifting Shaman relate to or differ from the rest of your recent albums?

What I release is a drop in the ocean compared to what I make. Most of my releases are compiled by labels – after discussing what they are into, I send them lots of tracks and they just pick what they want. So you get a mixture of old and new tracks that reflect the taste of the A&R at the label.

With this one I had a set of tracks that I had consciously held back from sending off to labels because I thought they were my strongest tracks and I wanted them to be released together and presented in a good way, perhaps on my own label, Breakin’, which has been asleep for a while.

When Shipwrec asked about the possibility of doing an album with a double vinyl pressing, good mastering and a budget for artwork, I decided it was time to give up the tracks. We haggled over one or two but ended up with all but one of the tracks I had in mind, and a couple of extra ones.

The press release says you feel the tracks “have a stronger feeling of your personality” – what is that personality exactly? And how do you think it comes through specifically on this record compared to others?

I take different approaches to making music at different times. Sometimes the starting point is liking something by someone else, sometimes it’s a sound or a piece of equipment, but these tracks were all started off inside my mind with a musical idea that spontaneously came from me. So that’s the reason they feel more personal to me. Rather than trying to make disco or trying to make electro or something, it was just a free expression of my own ideas and sometimes even a conscious attempt to make something very original. Also, they are nearly all tracks that I spent a bit longer on than usual.

Any particular things we should know about the album’s back-story?

Only what I said above… The tracks were mostly made last year and I was trying to be original and express myself without resorting to anything generic. All the tracks were made in the flat I was living in, in the spare room, on old synths and drum machines and that kind of stuff.

The cover is great, tell us about it.

My wife invented the album title and I asked Doppeldenk to make an illustration. I have known them since the ’90s, they put on a lot of great parties in Leipzig and I used to do a monthly residency with them there a few years ago. They always have great flyers and posters and have moved into art galleries with fantastic giant paintings and sculptures. This seemed like a good opportunity to have a great cover for my album and get them some exposure, although they are doing fine without my help!

You’ve always been a bit of a tastemaker to those that know, with mixes, the radio show, etc. What music are you really feeling at the moment?

I’ve practically stopped listening to music to be honest. I just want to make music whenever I have time. I listen to my own tracks
sometimes, or I just put on records that are in the house.

Today we listened to Public Enemy and Ultramagnetic MCs, at the weekend we listened to some dub. In the last year or so I’ve enjoyed releases from Eod, Fah and Jodey Kendrick. I usually like stuff from JTC and DJ Traxx and that kind of crowd, although I haven’t kept up lately. I bought all those Drexciya reissues, their leftover rejects are a hundred times better than most people’s best work.

A1. Paradise Grove
A2. Strange Harpsikordd
B1. Forwarded March
B2. Reshaped Waves
C1. Fractalus
C2. Love Plus
D1. Future Light Cone
D2. Erasing Into Tomorrow
D3. Track Mood

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