This week we delve into ‘[dntquit]’ by C.R.I.S.T.E.N
Beginning his musical journey in 2007, C.R.I.S.T.E.N has become a unique talent in the beat community. Drawing influence from greats like MF DOOM and Nujabes, as well as the infamous Adult Swim bumps, this US based producer has continued to build an original and experimental sound. [dntquit] is a 62-track album created during C.R.I.S.T.E.N’s mother’s diagnosis, battle and eventual passing due to ovarian cancer. Working on the project to help him deal with a lot of the emotions and thoughts that were swirling around at this time. Crafting art at such a difficult time is tough, but how did C.R.I.S.T.E.N access his artistry to express himself?
This album is an outpouring of raw feeling and energy. Both technically and emotionally speaking. The album begins with a small intro which then gives way to a incredibly poignant voicemail from C.R.I.S.T.E.N’s mum. From there the producer really lets us into his psyche. The beats throughout this piece come straight from the source. They sway between emotions and one gets the sense C.R.I.S.T.E.N is creating direct from the soul. The main musical ideas are presented in their natural state. Unflinching, painful and hard but ultimately beautiful because they are real. C.R.I.S.T.E.N lets you in fully and that transparency is beautiful. This is pure expression and it comes across wonderfully, poignantly and clearly.
C.R.I.S.T.E.N maintains this raw emotion through a huge array of sample sources. From the anime flips of ‘Cruelangell’ and ‘Ka Ka Kachi Daze’ to the UK rap of ‘I0000001’; C.R.I.S.T.E.N has no qualms about sampling anything that catches his ear. This choice enhances the spontaneous feel of the album. Controlling often difficult sources with a deft touch, C.R.I.S.T.E.N himself said: ‘Sample selection with ‘[dntquit]’ was interesting! The majority of samples came from various records I had lying around my house, as well as from YouTube. I even challenged myself to make loops from different samples that I didn't like and create a groove that I felt on the inside.’ This same energy applies to the drums on ‘[dntquit]’. They crunch and pound under these obscure, but no doubt meaningful, samples. Standing strong in their tone and not shying away from their internal sonic strength. They give the project it’s foundation and have no doubt, it’s solid as a rock.
Despite it’s creation at a difficult time in this producers life, ‘[dntquit]’ is ultimately about hope. About finding the way forward through music and creativity. Tracks like ‘Everytime I Wish’ have a beautiful melancholy that inspires a rise in the listener’s heart. This is cathartic and C.R.I.S.T.E.N does a stellar job of transferring that feeling. Theres sorrow here but its balanced with an overwhelming sense of the future. Speaking on this C.R.I.S.T.E.N said: ‘Everything I put into this project were real feelings I had while I locked myself in my room, consistently working to communicate my emotions through music. ‘[dntquit]’ is an album to remind everyone, that whatever situation you find yourself in. Never quit. Never give up the fight. Fight until you no longer have breath in your body. Live on. Live each day as if it is your last. Hold on to hope and even if you fail you can say that you fought a good fight; that you held your own.’
‘[dntquit]’ is an incredibly powerful and poignant album. Created at possible one of the most difficult times an individual can face, the project manages to get across a plethora of emotions and feelings. The raw energy of each beat pulsates. These beats are snapshots of the producer’s state of mind. Through broad and brave sample choices and some of the crunchiest drums out there, C.R.I.S.T.E.N sculpts his soundscape with an ease that belies the skill needed to wrangle such difficult emotions and sources. Through all this however, C.R.I.S.T.E.N still manages to extoll a message of hope on ‘[dnt.quit]’. This album will touch every emotion in you, but afterwards you will feel far richer for it.
Listen to ‘[dntquit]’ here:
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