Skrillex – Recess

Cover by V....

By Andrew

Its finally here. Yes finally. After more than 6 years since transforming his post-hardcore persona as Sonny Moore into the horn-rimmed brostep pioneer, Skrillex has finally released his debut album. After winning three Grammy awards over the past few years and spending more time in the spotlight than the average dance music artist, it feels strange to be reviewing his debut. But is it all its cracked up to be? Is the hype justified?


Well, no. That’s putting it bluntly. I think if this album was released six years ago it would have blown the roof of the industry and truly ushered in the new sound that was dubstep/brostep into the mainstream. Rather sadly, it feels like the last walk to the death chamber for a style which has seen the highest highs and the largest bandwagon jumping exhibition since flock of seagulls hairdos. And saddest of all, it comes from its biggest purveyor and most supportive denizen. All the power and strength seen in other releases such as the Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites and Bangarang EPs is muddied here. Its not that a lot of work hasn’t gone into the album or that its executed sloppily. In fact the exact opposite is the case. The biggest problem is its primarily dubstep.

In typical brostep style, the album follows a pretty standardised formula. Sweet vocal intro or rev up vocals followed by sequenced wind up to bass drop followed by robots fucking then rinse and repeat at anywhere between 140-160 BPM. This formula served Skrillex well in the beginning and served everyone else just as well after him. But its six years later and the iconics of the style still haven’t progressed or evolved anywhere. There are really only a couple of songs which push the boundaries and that’s just not enough for someone supposedly leading the pack.

One of those differences is a collaboration I have been waiting to hear in full and its what I wanted the whole album to be made of. ‘Coast is Clear’ features one of my favourite new wavers, Chance The Rapper, and was reported on just recently through social media. The track also features collaborations with the Social Experiment and has this crooner laid back vibe stapled to a sweet as double time DnB 160BPM trip hop beat. Similarly one of the better tracks pushing the boundaries on the album features some very interesting guesting artists. ‘Dirty Vibe’ is a production jointly made with Major Lazer and dancehall darling Diplo, but also features two MCs people will be clambering to hear more of. But G-Dragon and CL are not new to the game. In actual fact, both are label mates to one of the biggest Korean hip-hop labels of all time (YGEntertainment) who also share a roster with Gangnam style powerhouse PSY and 1TYM, 2NE1 and Big Bang. If you haven’t heard of any of these names its not surprising, but if you have; I know you also watch SBS PopAsia.

Later in the release, ‘Ease My Mind’ could have been one of the best dance/electronic tracks of this year if it wasn’t lost at the back end of an album most people are going to write off from the first two or three songs. Conversely, people who love Skrillex and robot copulating rhythms of old will probably also write this album off because its not a complete set of ‘Bangerz’.


Overall this makes for a disappointing album. I could say its trash but in a retrospective way I can see what he was trying to achieve. From a futurist and groundbreaking way I can also see where he wants to take the quintessential ‘Skrillex’ sound. Sadly though, its not entirely sure what it wants to be. Retrospective or ground breaking. The critics are panning it though which I think is a little unfair, but as a fan, I have to be harsh too. I expected more, much much Sonny Moore.




6/10 Points for Creativity {Abrasive Andy}

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