The Sheffield, UK producer CruK has been making tunes since 2010, but he’s really been gaining steam this year. Noisia Radio featured him a number of times even before 2017, but his Bad Faith EP released on February on Dispatch saw all the big neuro and hard D&B labels come knocking. Renegade Hardware featured his track “Jitters” on its Final Chapter compilation, and then a month later Blackout picked up another one, “Full Tilt,” for its Evolutions vol. 4 compilation. For his second full EP it only makes sense that if CruK and Critical would pair up.
The first single of the four-track EP, which untitled except for its being part of Critical’s Binary series (014 to be exact), has already been posted on CruK’s SoundCloud. It’s instantly obvious why this EP was meant for Critical. “Cold Top” is minimal with a basic drum & bass structure and a throwback darkstep bass which many different factions of heads will likely enjoy. “Devil and the Deep” steps back to early neurofunk but also picks up some more machine-driven modernneuro sounds. EP closer “Lit” is a cheeky halftime track which gets creative with the ubiquitous “oh my gosh” vocal sample.
Just ahead of the EP’s drop date of November 10, Bassrush has the exclusive on the EP’s third track, “Undoing.” This track again makes quite a few nods to early neurofunk; it’s snare-heavy like late ‘90s Skynet and has deep, digging sub bass notes at the end of each phrase a la Ed Rush and Optical. Its intro is ambient, belying the darkness which comes after the drop. The ambient, negative space swells stay with the track for its duration, though they take continuously sinister turns as “Undoing” goes from sub bass-heavy darkstep to more techy snares and bass. It’s a very complex track without sounding like it’s trying too hard, which seems to be the mark of a neurofunk master. CruK certainly seems to be heading in that direction.
Each of the tracks on CruK’s new Critical Binary series EP definitely have a beat structure and a sort of groove that many neuro fans may have feared was lost in recent. If that groove is the “fun” CruK wants to put back into neurofunk, let us be the first to welcome him to keep doing just that.
CruK’s EP on Critical’s Binary Series volume 14 releases on Friday, November 10. Pre-order link here.