It feels like the artist known as Skrillex, a.k.a Sonny Moore, has been around for AGES. The oft-hated, maligned dubstep pioneer has been on the scene for a good four years or so, without a solid, traditional LP release to boot. Instead the American put out lots and lots of EPs to the world, that produced a ‘marmite’ image for him; his music was seen as loud, brash and simply mad to some, whereas others completely got him and adored the output. Myself, I was somewhere in between, there were some songs of his that I loved and others I could not stand to hear.
Its surprise announcement, via his video-game app ‘Alien Ride’, which saw tracks unlock for streaming on an hourly basis, is very welcome. Having seen how Beyonce released her latest LP ‘xo’, it’s clear the format gets fans and critics alike talking and when the foundations said announcements are built upon are as solid as this record, it wouldn’t surprise me If more musicians that are confident about their work release in a similar manner in the near future. The buzz created far succeeds any long-term announcements, amongst only the most hardcore groups of fans.
My own experience with this guy is that I’m in between the love and the hate, but when I heard the genius way he was releasing the LP, I just had to have a listen of it, just to see if he had grown up a bit!
Mr Skrillex, as some may like to call him, has managed to grab a bunch of music’s brightest stars and producers and thrown them all together to create songs that are dripping with high production talent. You get Major Lazer’s very own Diplo, hot hip-hop artist of the moment Chance the Rapper and dancehall duo the Ragga Twins feature on a few tracks.
In fact, by the titular track two ‘Recess’, you can get a strong feeling for the album on the whole. It is a EDM and hip-hop collaboration which sees samples from Fatman Scoop and bizarrely enough, synth-pop band Passion Pit’s lead singer Michael Angelakos flirt with one another, with a building anthemic bass line that explodes into a sumptuous EDM crescendo. It’s amazing to hear, especially when, initially, it sounds like a complete and utter mess.
What is impressive about the LP is its versatility. There are the crushing drops that encompassed the early years, ‘Try It Out’, the most obvious for this; there are also the rap-dance crushes, ‘Coast is Clear’, which whips along at an unnerving rate of knots and then, THEN, there is the aforementioned Diplo collaboration, combining the best bits of both producers and sticking them together to create an awe inspiring piece of work that you really don’t know where it’s going. There is a ballad moment though, on ‘Ease My Mind’, but the best thing is that this wipes away most of the criticism Skrillex has faced over the years, ‘it all sounds the same’ etc. For doubters can just listen and see that this is not the case on ‘Recess’.
What interests me the most about this landmark moment for Sonny Moore’s career, is that it has clearly taken a number of years to carefully craft and mold into what is, for most parts, a great slice of modern-day dance music. He’s certainly come on in leaps and bounds with every prior collaboration, and with ‘Recess’ as the end result, the album artwork of a smiling alien face, isn’t going to be the only smiling face when the album is released next week (March 18th).
The other half of the double announcement was a 20-date headline tour across the USA called ‘Mothership’, which I’d be extremely interested in seeing, and with a number of festival dates this summer, it seems Skrillex is ready to become a strong part of the zeitgeist once again after a quiet couple of years; I for one can’t wait to welcome him back.