Is it the future of dance music? Please, no.
[a]Skrillex[/a] comes to us riding a wave of hype while trailing a cloud of sulphur. To the sniffier end of dance, he’s the end of the world: the moment dubstep percolated down to the people who used to buy DJ Sammy records. Worse still, the purists groan, he represents the moment America re-made the genre in its own national image.
What none of the naysaying community seem to realise is that Skrillex is not a dubstep guy. He’s just a rampaging barbarian who’ll as happily nick anything floating past in popular culture, and has as many roots in Fatboy Slim or Guetta as he does with, say, Caspa.
‘Bangarang’, a stopgap EP ahead of his debut album later in the year, still fails to confirm whether his unashamed populism is deeply naive or profoundly cynical. After all, no-one so coldly calculating would allow a sprawling mess like his collaboration with the three surviving Doors, ‘Breakn’ A Sweat’, to survive the editing process: a confusing mush of Manzarek keyboard lines and Skrill’s crabby, trademark distorted dublines that features repetitions of [i]“come on baby light my fire[/i]” for added subtlety. But by the same measure, his [a]Ellie Goulding[/a] collaboration, ‘Summit’, pitched somewhere between Chicane and Owl City, feels like someone with a coldly cynical probe inside the mind of the charts. Cynical or just dumb, what’s still obvious is that Skrillex lacks anything beyond the bleeding obvious.
He’s glass-eyed, as nutritional as wood glue, and content to rapidly mash his fists against the buttons marked ‘breakdown’, ‘trance synth’, ‘distorted wobble’ and ‘tuned-up vocal’ – but has just enough knack to occasionally get good results out of that, as he does on the both-barrels likes of ‘Bangarang’ (Justice-go-candy rave), and ‘The Devil’s Den’ (Daft Punk-go-Dirty Vegas). Pity he still can’t find the button marked ‘soul’.
Record label: Atlantic
Release date: 27 Feb, 2012