"Krust has always been known for his excellent production with Reprazent and on his own tracks, particularly "Warhead" and "Soul In Motion". With Roni Size & DJ Die working with Leonie Laws as Breakbeat Era, Krust like Size & Die has taken time off from the Reprazent project to work on this his debut solo album. Unfortunately it is a bit of a disappointment. When people think of the super producers behind Reprazent's "New Forms" they think of their work as being far more superior than most drum & bass artists today, with that said, Krust's debut has been one of the most anticipated drum & bass albums of the last few years. And like a big budget Hollywood movie, the Hype has been big for "Coded Language". The album is not the groundbreaking monster people expected. First off is the fact that female vocalist Morgan is featured on 5 of the 13 tracks, not exactly what I expected from a DEBUT album. Morgan is a great vocalist when she doesn't have to stretch her voice out, at times when she hits a high note it's almost as if the track goes out of tune for a few seconds. When Morgan first appeared with Krust on the awesome "Maintain" her voice worked well because she didn't have to push her vocals that much, here on tracks like "Re-Arrange" she seems to be hitting high notes way too often. Unfortunately "Maintain" along with "Warhead" and "Soul In Motion" are not featured on this debut album. Morgan sounds her best on the tracks "Soldiers" and "Overture" which has her voice echoing in the distance over some great trip hop beats. Trip Hop? yes trip hop and there is another downtempo number called "Guilty" and this time both Morgan and the production sound out of tune. "Guilty" is a song that shouldn't have ever been made, your ears will bleed listening to it. There is a symphony piece called "One Moment" that features strings conducted by Simon Hale, this is a very moving track that doesn't disappoint, but again, why a song of this calibur is featured on his DEBUT album puzzles me, you might be wondering at this point where all the drum and bass is. The best drum & bass tracks can be found on Krust's productions without Morgan. "Coded Language" featuring poet Saul Williams is the best track on the album, Williams is ferocious here. His spoken word genius comes at you with full force as he goes on a non stop tangent dropping tons and tons of names like Coltrane, Cosby, Morrison, Joplin, Hathaway, Hendrix, Nostrodamus, and Shakespeare! (just to name a few). It is a flat out masterpiece of a track featuring some of Krust's best production in a while, and William's lyrical perfection. Another standout is "Second Movement" a jazzy d&b track with lots of futuristic sounds heard hovering back and forth. "Tribute" is another good tune that has a great bassline, more futuristic samples like lazer noises, and also some sounds from the jungle. The other efforts like "Noble Assassins" and "Spoils Of War" sound similar to Krust's older drum & bass productions and that is truly a good thing. Overall, this is a bit of a disappointment but it still is a really good album, it just isn't an excellent one. Krust's production shines brilliantly but Morgan just doesn't fit well here, and "Guilty" IS guilty for being made. Out of the 13 tracks featured more than half are good, but this could have been so much better."
You will not be able to sit still when you listen.
DJ Forte | 01/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yum, this is a great great record, with occasional vocals that really seem to *work* with the beats -- Krust is the manna. Worth noting as well for the contributions of the fabulous Yuval Gabay (of Soul Coughing) -- Yuval is probably the best drummer I've ever heard, and it's always nice to hear him in a freer forum."
A pedestrian's opinion
Giuseppe A. Paleologo | Riverdale, NY United States | 03/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't usually listen to D&B, so consider this the opinion of an outsider who bought this only because he liked Roni Size's "New Forms". I don't know how original these songs (and sounds) are, but I liked them nonetheless. The music ranges from typical D&B (High plains, Tribute,...), to James Bond-like music (Overture), to a cello solo (One moment), to a slam declamation by poet Saul Williams. It seems that Krust takes here more risks than when he is with Roni Size, and I can understand why more than one "purist" is unhappy about this CD. I agree that not all the vocal pieces are good (Re-arrange and Excuses are forgettable). But the title song "Coded Language" is worth the price of the CD: it's exhilarating, powerful and unstoppable. Saul Williams is an inner city Walt Whitman, and its lyrics fit perfectly with Krust's grooves. Check out his movie "Slam" and the CD "she" if you liked him."
Strong, but not strong enough
Scott Woods | Columbus, Ohio United States | 03/10/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Considering the company he keeps (Roni Size, Reprazent, DJ Die), you'd think that the debut album from Krust would be a monster album that stomps through your brain with beats the speed of light and sounds that make fingernails on a chalkboard sound like a symphony orchestra.Well, we'll see what he does next time around.Simply put, the tracks on this CD are uneven. There's some strong drum-n-bass (butnothing you've not heard before) with vocals lopped onto them that, for the most part, get in the way...and on WAY too many tracks. Then there's the errant down-tempo ditty and the occassional symphonic strain, which, frankly, I would have liked on a CD I MEANT to hear classical refrains on. The title track, however, completely rocks and Saul Williams' spoken word really sticks out on this track wonderfully.But just the beats and quickly, please."