- David Pollock
- 24 April 2008
Art of Parties at the Arches, Glasgow, Sun 27 Apr
What they do is very 2001 in its electro simplicity, but there’s also something about the music of MSTRKRFT (pronounced ‘Masterkraft’) which isn’t likely to go out of style any time soon. Rudimentary, pounding basslines mix with sleek disco synths under clipped, repetitive vocal samples; it’s the stripped-down aesthetic of minimal 80s electro hip hop filtered through decades of Chicago house, Daft Punk and Justice.
None of which is bad going when you consider the duo have their roots in ill-remembered indie rock. Jesse F Keeler used to be one half of power duo Death From Above 1979, whose greatest contribution to popular music was inspiring CSS’ ‘Let’s Make Love (and Listen to Death From Above)’. They were well respected in their field but DFA79’s place in rock history wasn’t exactly at the top table.
On the other hand, MSTRKRFT – formed in East York, Toronto by Keeler and Alex Puodziukas (Al-P) in 2005, one year before DFA79 split – have found their perfect niche. The period between their 2006 debut album The Looks and this year’s in-production follow-up has seen them achieve international DJing success on the just-below-ground electro circuit, and a formidable reputation as remixers. The list of those who’ve felt the MSTRKRFT touch is long and varied, and includes Bloc Party, All Saints, Buck 65, Justice and The Gossip.
Hell, they even made Kylie sound good once. Surely their name isn’t just an idle boast, after all.