Guest post by Arson Welles
Over the last two years, Skrillex (aka Sonny Moore, the former frontman of early-2000s emo act From First To Last) has quickly become the universally-recognized faceplate of American dubstep. Where dubstep’s UK origins drew on the eerie loop-and-effect ethos of dub reggae, the US’s adaptation (sometimes referred to by its detractors as “brostep”) is on the whole more taken with the thumping intensity of contemporary house. And in Moore’s case, that intensity often smacks of his pseudo-metal musical history.
On his new EP, Skrillex delivers pretty much exactly what’s expected: glitched-out synthesizers, impeccably cavernous bass-lines, and filthy half-time breakdowns. The power of Skrillex’s music has always been his ability to make the extremely weird palatable and to make the merely palatable seem weird, and Bangarang is no exception. Moore chops apart his own voice, stitching it back together with the saccharine rubble of digitized keytars and yawning filters, leaving behind something you can almost, but not quite, sing along too. It’s indulgent, fist-pumping music, typical to his own brew of chaos and the type you might use to soundtrack a bank heist or something featuring Vin Diesel.
Aside from a rather puzzling collaboration with the remaining members of the Doors, “Breakn’ A Sweat,” there are no real surprises on the EP, and in fact, most of these songs would have fit in well on any of his other releases. Which is not to say that it’s not a fun listen – the glitch freefall of “The Devil’s Den” and the guitar-heavy Right In are clear standouts – but that Bangarang feels like more of the same. One of the blessings of many more-established electronic dance music acts is the freedom they have to experiment: genre-bending DJ/producers such as Dieselboy and Diplo spring immediately to mind as artists whose tastes expanded outwards with their fame. On Bangarang it seems the opposite is happening; rather than diversifying, Moore is consolidating and defining, and frankly, it’s a let-down. Hopefully he’s loosen up next-time around.
3.5 / 5 bars