EP of the Week – Leaving by Skrillex

It seems that the majority of r/dubstep misjudged Skrillex and his big room dub focus. Skrillex got famous for playing the kind of hyper-aggrandized dubstep that I lovingly describe as “Transformer Porn.” When you take the sounds Michael Bay gave the Transformers and you imagine them having sex, BAM, Scary Sprites. While people can hate on it all they want, Sonny’s hard work, playing the heartland of America and irrepressible positive outlook & joy for making the music is undeniable. You can see this in his Rolling Stone interview or his acceptance speech at the Grammys. And this week, Skrillex reminded us very hard how much he respected his roots, in addition to shaking up our identity of him pretty fundamentally.

Leaving is straight up some American Future Garage. I specify as such because most of the Future Garage that people are rocking out to these days is UK-based. And the inspiration for this kind of sound and in fact a lot of other artists in the space Leaving explores is the one and only Burial. He was featured on a previous EP of the week, and Skrillex has thanked/named Burial & the rest of the Brixton Dub crew for the work they did to blaze the way for Skrillex to shine and bring this stuff to America’s heartland. The track not only pays homage to Burial, but it does so in a very American, Skrillex-esque way. The signature style that allowed him to shine so brightly is being put into this minimized, stripped down beat, groove & heavily modified sample which works perfectly. I can’t wait to see what effect this has on Skrillex’s approximately 4 billion listeners.

Scary Bolly Dub is Sonny just having a good time with his Scary Sprites sample & beat progression. It’s a fun time and dismisses any confusion or fear that he went all Bjork on us. There’s a finesse to the changes he’s made and he’s more comfortable parceling out the bass in less overflowing servings. The ragga undertones infused with the bolly melodies work with the (now-classic) Sprites melodies and it all just pops. Definitely the dance floor track on the EP.

The Reason dials the party back from gigantic stadium rave to loft party. There’s a similar emphasis on hard beats, but it’s much more of a dirty electro track than any kind of dubsteppy groove we’ve heard from Sonny before. This all actually ends up being a pump fake and a giant build for the fun, dancey end at around 3:30, which pulls you into this almost Daft Punk’y euphoric R&B-infused crescendo that leaves you just wanting more. Can’t wait to hear it. It’s getting harder to hate on Sonny Moore every day, and I am glad for that. He’s the first American EDM rockstar, as weird as that sounds. Lots of other producers and DJs have kept their images out of the light, stayed away from small venues, etc. Skrillex brought Dubstep to the people, and the people thanked him for it. Now he’s bringing Future Garage & Dirty Electro to the people. And I thank him for that.

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