Skrillex gleefully mashes up genres on seven-song Bangarang EP
Okay, so either Skrillex is dubstep but is bastardizing the style to his own ends, or he’s not dubstep at all, right? Or maybe he’s the saviour of the genre, singlehandedly responsible for lifting it out of the obscurity of the electronica underground and into the mainstream. If these seem like rather meaningless talking points, that’s because they are, but that hasn’t stopped the type of geeks who frequent Internet message boards from either crucifying Sonny Moore or venerating him.
Moore probably doesn’t have much time to worry about how his music is labelled; he’s too busy racking up Grammy nominations and playing sold-out shows to pay much attention to his detractors. Oh, and recording, too. The seven-song Bangarang is the fourth Skrillex EP in less than two years, and his first full-length album, Voltage, is slated for release later this month.
It should be interesting to see where Moore takes things, because while Bangarang shows off the impressive range of his musical influences, it also hints at the limitations of his own creative impulses. The most intriguing track is “Breakn’ a Sweat”, a collaboration with members of the Doors that, despite boasting a signature spiralling organ part from Ray Manzarek, sounds very little like anything Jim Morrison would recognize. “Kyoto” is a mind-melting mix of industrial-strength distorted chords, Far East synth lines, and hard-core rap (courtesy of L.A. indie hip-popper Sirah). “Right on Time”, coproduced by 12 th Planet and Kill the Noise, revs up like a ’90s trance-techno cut but then never quite turns into one.
While it’s clear that former hardcore kid Moore is comfortable mashing up genres with all the gleeful abandon of Girl Talk, he tends to rely on the same few techniques to juice up his tracks. At some point in just about every song, the rhythm breaks down to the same simple cut-time beat to which Moore wobbles the shit out of everything until it sounds like a pleasure droid having a grand mal seizure. This brain-shaking oscillation is a fun, and effective trick, but it’s quickly becoming a cliché, which should be anathema to an obviously forward-thinking artist like Skrillex.