Today, electronic music trio Keys N Krates delivers their third full-length studio album, IN:TENSION, a succinct body of work that sees the Toronto-based outfit blending their lifelong influences and versatile production chops into a passion project chock-full of talent. IN:TENSION, featuring tracks with R&B superstar Ciara, songstress Lion Babe, alongside rising singers Taite Imogen, Dana Williams, and the late, great singer Aaron Carl, is out now via Last Gang/MNRK.
Channeling their innate love of pure, timeless house music, Keys N Krates pivot from the sound that once took them to the biggest stages in EDM to a more refined, precise, and intentional effort. On IN:TENSION, they dig deeper than ever before into their own personal tastes—citing influences from sampling master Armand Van Helden and house music legends Masters At Work— a sound that speaks to why they fell in love with dance music decades ago. They do this all without sacrificing their signature crisp rhythms and wall-shaking low-end that their fans have adored since their original hip-hop origins.
Throughout the 12 tracks on the album, Keys N Krates build a comprehensive profile of house music, with the pop-tinged “Need Your Love,” the hard-hitting “Higher,” the sassy “What Girls Do,” the funky “Say You Love Me,” the disco-leaning “Get Up,” and the deep “I Know,” and beyond. The indubitable climax of the album, for most, will be “Fantasy,” a piano-house masterpiece that bridges the gap between the mainstream and the underground with the formidable singing and songwriting of GRAMMY Award-winning artist Ciara. As house music begins to get the recognition it deserves via infiltrating pop music with some of the biggest artists in the world giving it their own take, Keys N Krates serve as the next ambassadors of the genre, lifting up Ciara’s natural vocal abilities. It’s the first time she has taken on house music in such a fashion.
“After vibing with “Fantasy” for the first time, I had good feels all over. I felt an infectious energy that made me want to dance, and I could envision myself living my best life to this song all over the world. This is the perfect party song for my collaboration with Keys N Krates. House is a space I’ve really been wanting to get involved in, so I’m excited for the world to hear it.” — Ciara
“When linking with Ciara, we knew it was important to her and to us that her first dip into the house music realm felt organic and natural yet exciting and new. We used warm blocky drums you might normally hear on a techno record, paired with a classic M1 piano line and big 808s. The heavy percussion and bass are the juxtaposition to the feel-good pianos and her sweet-sounding vocals. Our favorite records of hers often have this type of balance of soft and hard, and we really wanted to preserve that. Her lyrics, an indulgent profession of another’s love being her never-ending fantasy, glue the whole track together into a glorious and positive dance floor feeler.” — Keys N Krates
A new milestone for the esteemed Toronto trio, IN:TENSION encapsulates the true definition of their style in a way that feels both effortless and deliberate. Alongside their debut on the legendary label Defected Records earlier this year (“What You Done” with Rochelle Jordan), Keys N Krates has shown that their new house-driven direction fits them to a T. It’s a perfect union between their deep-rooted love for the genre and their established hip-hop/R&B exploits.
1. Feeling Something
2. I Can’t Make You Love Me (ft. Dana Williams)
3. Fantasy (ft. Ciara)
4. What Girls Do
5. Get Up
6. Say You Love Me
7. Overdrive (ft. Lion Babe)
8. I Know
9. Need Your Love (ft. Taite Imogen)
10. Upright Madness (ft. Aaron Carl)
12. Final Word
Since forming over a decade ago in their native Toronto, Keys N Krates have carved their own path in music, melding the realms of hip-hop, electronic, and beyond. The group — composed of drummer Adam Tune, keyboardist David Matisse, and turntablist Greg Dawson — has built a venerable reputation as one of the leading live electronic acts today on the strength of their onstage instrumentation and energetic sets. With a new vision for what kind of energy they want to stir up on the dancefloor, Keys N Krates have been taking the stage on their IN:TENSION Tour from behind the decks, delivering DJ sets that mirror the sound of the new album. Check out glimpses from their recent stop at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere rooftop.
Keys N Krates Upcoming Tour Dates
November 10 – Q Nightclub, Seattle, WA
November 11 – Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
November 17 – El Club, Detroit, MI
November 18 – Sound Bar, Chicago IL
November 30 – It’ll Do, Dallas, TX
December 1 – The Loft, Minneapolis, MN
December 2 – Liquid, Madison, WI
December 9 – Velvet Underground, Toronto, Canada
December 15 – Elsewhere, Brooklyn, NY