Skrillex is part of a wave of American producers coming into dubstep from other genres. More often than not, these beatmakers make a violent racket characterized by overwhelming midrange ¡°wobble¡± basslines, and have a general obsession with gore, macabre and the almighty ¡°filth.¡± It¡¯s ¡°mosh¡± music as opposed to dance music. Many of these producers take as much from drum & bass as they do more aggressive collectives like Caspa¡¯s Dub Police, lending their music a violent energy miles away from the garage and dub-inspired scenes in the UK.

Skrillex is once more removed from this, coming from a hardcore screamo band, releasing on deadmau5¡¯s mau5trap label and splitting his EP down the middle with electro house and dubstep. His sound is overbearingly plain and simple. While he has a firm grasp on melody that eludes many of his peers, they¡¯re usually coated in headache-inducing layers of abrasive muck. The trancey hook of Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites¡® title track is equal to nails on a chalkboard, and the less said about its onomatopoeic bass growls the better. The same goes for ¡°Scatta,¡± where distorted midrange basslines pierce through the foundations: It¡¯s ugly, and all a little silly.

When he goes in an electro house direction, the results vary from decent to terrible. ¡°Rock N Roll¡± is like a 2010 update of Justice, blocks of melodic static sliding past hastily carved chunks of strings, synths and snaking guitar riffs. Admittedly it¡¯s hard not to get caught up in the rambunctious enthusiasm; even a track as profoundly stupid as ¡°Kill Everybody¡± can break down the staunchest of snobs when its barbed wires morph into an anthemic rave laser show. But then it¡¯s followed by the nauseating bathos of ¡°With Your Friends (Long Drive Home),¡± which sits on a plain-jane thump, and the vocal-led ¡°All I Ask of You¡± only invokes memories of Alice Deejay¡¯s eurodance hit ¡°Better Off Alone.¡±

All of this would be irrelevant if Skrillex weren¡¯t suddenly and formidably popular. In the first week of its release, all eight of the EP¡¯s tracks placed in the Beatport Top 10. This is a remarkable achievement for a relatively unknown name¡ªthe mau5-machine backing has its benefits¡ªall the more so considering it comes from a nominally dubstep artist. If this means that the core Beatport user-base, as close to a mainstream as dance music gets, is going to finally acknowledge dubstep through an artist like Skrillex, I¡¯m concerned. Its one-dimensional aggression and appeal to the lowest common denominator feels like the exact opposite of where the genre began; there¡¯s a difference between perversion and evolution. Dubstep is undergoing both processes at once, and the results couldn¡¯t be more far apart. I¡¯m not surprised that this EP was number one on Beatport¡ªit¡¯s fun and well-produced rave fare¡ªbut this music does a dangerous disservice if it¡¯s perceived as representative of ¡°dubstep¡± to an audience that has never come upon it before.?

Article By: Andrew Ryce