Celldweller – Birthright

August 13, 2009

Today’s MSMOTD

Celldweller – Birthright (Beta 1.0) (buy this song)

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Celldweller isn’t a band so much as a one man army.  It’s the multifaceted, crazed and brilliant creative output of just one oddly-coiffed individual -> Klayton Scott (real name: Scott Albert).  Klayton has fronted various musical ventures over the last decade or two, the biggest ones being 90′s industrial/metal group Circle of Dust, as well as all of the music for magician Criss Angel’s show and albums.  In fact, if you watch Criss Angel’s show, you’ve probably seen Klayton hanging off to the side watching the proceedings from behind his cascade of fiery anime hair, crazy pants and various metal accessories.  A Hugo Boss model he is not.  Anyways, Klayton as Celldweller has released 2 albums so far, with a 3rd album – “Wish Upon A Darkstar: Chapter 1″ – arriving on the 25th of August!

Their music is described by Klayton as a “fusion of the electronics of drum & bass and techno, with rock and orchestral elements, meshing the synthetic and the organic, darkness with beauty, into a cohesive blend entirely its own.”  A fairly apt description I must say.  The self-titled debut is a masterwork, combining trance/techno/d&b with industrial and metal to create a totally unique mix that’s at times incredibly heavy and others light and beautiful.  It’s as if Nine Inch Nails, Lamb of God, Depeche Mode, Infected Mushroom and E.S.Posthumus decided to pool their efforts.  You’ve probably already heard Celldweller’s music actually, as it’s been used in many movies and trailers, including Spider-Man and other prominent films.

Klayton hard at work in his crazy studio while taking a break from styling his hair and flexing in the mirror.

Klayton hard at work in his crazy studio while taking a break from styling his hair and flexing in the mirror.

Birthright is the main single from his most recent album – “Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head Vol. 1″, released in 2008.  The rest of the album is almost entirely instrumental, geared towards Celldweller’s burgeoning contribution to the film score/soundtrack industry.  Anyways, apparently Birthright isn’t quite done, hence the “Beta 1.0″ tag.  I presume the final version will be on “Wish Upon A Darkstar”, due later this month.  Birthright is a good showcase of Klayton’s passion for mixing genres, with metal guitars layed over a mid-tempo electronic backbeat, his multi-layered vocals sandwiched between pulsating synths and orchestral crescendos.  Klayton’s knack for memorable melodies and interesting hooks and twists is also evident here, along with several changes in feel/speed through the song.  Good stuff.

Also, as a special treat for those of you who like their electronica dancy, dark and glitchy ala Sebastian, Justice and Deadmau5, there’s a “Birthwrong remix” of Birthright on the album by Blue Stahli.  Check it out on youtube!  I have no idea why the youtube version of this song is “brought to you by Tombraider Underworld”???

I am really really pumped for the new album.  Check out this sample for So Long Sentiment from the upcoming album.  So good.

(A preview of So Long Sentiment from “Wish Upon A Darkstar”, due on August 25th)

My favourite song of his so far (because I haven’t heard the new album yet!) is probably Afraid This Time (from the 2003 “Celldweller” album – listen below).  It’s a gorgeous electronic ballad featuring amazing vocal editing/effects and a supremely memorable melody.  I’ve been listening to this song regularly since before the 2003 release of the first album (he has a tendency to release unfinished tracks on the net way before they are included on an album, much like me!)  It starts off soft, but slowly builds through really great harmonies, breakdowns and a powerful chorus to an energetic conclusion.  Some of the softer parts actually remind me of Utada Hikaru, haha.  The whole thing goes down like a smooth cider: sweet and warm, but with a kick.  I really love this tune.

I’ve also posted one of his purely instrumental tracks below.  The Angle of IO is from 2008′s “Soundtracks for the Voices in My Head” and like 90% of the album is completely devoid of lyrics, beyond a few wordless choral hits and sweeps.  Each of the songs on the album evoke different imagery, from being trapped deep underground to being chased, or wandering an abandoned city or whatever.  This one is more foreboding and spacey, with deep pulsating beats underlying mysterious piano flourishes and eventually frantic guitar/synths as the song works to a fever pitch then settles again into its groove.  Klayton loves his builds.  I had a hell of a time choosing which track to post from this album, as they’re all equally excellent.  Most are short, and he even has 4 different versions of the same song (URSA Minor), each focusing on a different aspect of the build/song/melody. Really neat!

You’ll also notice that below you can download Switchback, which is probably the most popular song from “Celldweller”.  It’s a crunchy/dancy tune that switches between metal and dance music throughout with reggae dubs midway through, haha.  Fun stuff.  Anyways, it’s been remixed literally HUNDREDS of times and is available for free download below.  It’s also been used in a ton of different trailers.

Hope you dig Celldweller as much as I!  He’s definitely influenced aspects of my own music (the darker, heavier aspects).  He’s a genius producer and everything he touches turns out great.  Also, the hair.  Leave a comment to let me know what you think!

- Mons

More music from Celldweller

Download Celldweller – Switchback for free!

Celldweller – Afraid This Time (buy this song)

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Celldweller – The Angel of iO (buy this song)

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Further info about today’s MSMOTD

Official Website: http://www.celldweller.com/ (He has a blog here with lots of updates and videos of him mixing etc)

Wikipedia Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celldweller

Myspace Page (with more music): http://www.myspace.com/celldweller

Featured Review: Ilker Yücel’s review of “Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head Vol. 1″ for Regen Magazine

Support Klayton (and me!) by clicking these links to buy “Celldweller” and “Soundtrack…” from Amazon.com!  You can get either the MP3 albums or physical cds from those links (as well as just individual tracks, like that Birthwrong Remix By Blue Stahli).

5 Responses to “Celldweller – Birthright”

  1. I’d heard of Celldweller before but never actually listened to them, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them as your MSMOTD! I really really liked them (he has SUCH a good scream, and mixed with the softness of the music with that added edgy electronic in it, it was really really good)! Great choice yet again! You have a knack for finding (and of course creating) really good music and I’ve found most of my favourite bands from this blog. Keep it comin’! :)

  2. Really? I’m impressed that you’ve heard of him! Which of the songs did you like more? I was really conflicted on the songs to post, since they’re all good in different ways.

  3. Whoops, I mean “him”! Yeah, I was pretty proud of myself for knowing of him, too, especially when I found out how good he is (and how awesome his style is!)
    Hmmm, that’s a hard one, they were all so good! I really loved the Blue Stahli remix a lot, I think, just because I’ve recently developed somewhat of an addiction to electronica, but as far as the official MSMOTDs,(which it was very very hard to choose between because they’re all just so GOOD) I’d have to say my favourite was Afraid This Time, but Birthright was also really really good. And The Angel of iO, haha! However did you pick an MSMOTD???

  4. I Like his studio more than his music Whoops!!!!

  5. Celldweller is the best music “group”. i love Klayton^.^ I love all of his songs, and i never get sick of any. My favorite is Eon :o . I wish i could find tabs for some of them though because the metal part of the songs sound awesome to play :D