Skrillex takes us on a space adventure with modern masterpiece, ‘Recess’
At last, Skrillex‘s long awaited full length studio album has reached the wire in a grand fashion that is simply quintessential Sonny. The release has been marked by an unparalleled amount of hype, perfectly aligned with the OWSLA head’s over-the-top flair, delivering track streams every half an hour, sending the internet into a spastic, bass-induced frenzy. After Sonny’s 2013 Skrillex-sabbatical, the multifaceted beat-maker is back with his first formal studio bout; reasserting himself, without question, as one of most prolific, visionary producers in the world. The screamo front-man turned international rock icon has always taken a whimsically carefree yet passionately vivacious approach to his music. It is this philosophy that led him to the masterfully crafted release of his debut album Recess. Delivering a sound for everyone, Sonny’s debut album addresses many things, all intertwined through eleven in-your-face tracks while he takes us on a wild, deep space thrill ride. It’s a line drawn in the sand; an undeniable reflection of a perfectionist standard and Moore’s unrelenting desire to push the the dance music envelope.
Recess‘ lead track is a hair-raising dubstep selection titled, “All is Fair in Love and Brostep,” a hallmark production that builds with rolling drum kicks as the OWSLA-naut preps his engines for blast off. Cue the Ragga Twins’ demonically distorted patois, elegantly followed by a gripping vocal loop before a brain-warping dubstep break brings back chills that only the Skrillex of old was known to deliver. Spiraling down into another grim vocal cut, Skrillex ups the voltage tenfold with a pulverizing second break that simultaneously taunts and celebrates his return — “Guess who’s back motherfucker?” layered throughout rapid-fire laser flak. What could be a not-so-subtle, yet good natured shot at fellow bass producer Zomboy, “All is Fair in Love and Brostep” reintroduces Skrillex with a deafening, ruthless blow.
As it proceeds, the album artfully eradicates the confines of genre with a blatant disregard for convention, overflowing with label-defiant collaborations. The album’s title track, “Recess,” reflects this notion as hip-hop’s favorite hype-man Fatman Scoop and fellow bass music veteran Kill The Noise lend helping hands on the big-room gem. Bumping at 100 bpm, the track offers high-pitched, feel-good vocal samples along with Scoop’s distinguished “bass drop” command, breaking the song into a roof-raising thumper.
“Stranger” offers a dance tempo accentuated by sexy, whirling synth work and moombahton inspirations. Also featured on the upcoming Divergent film soundtrack, the Grammy-winning producer dishes the tune as a testament to his well-rounded ability to create more than just low-end bass stampedes.
Meshing classic drum n’ bass elements with Chance The Rapper‘s playfully fresh lyrical acumen, the unlikely pair come together on “Coast is Clear.” On the other end of the hip-hop spectrum however, Skrillex enlists the help of fellow dance music royalty Diplo, along with K-Pop rappers G Dragon and CL, on “Dirty Vibe.” The head-spinning tune features a gritty lyrical knockout by G Dragon, weaved into a party-primed beat only Skrillex and Diplo could tag-team. “FucK That” experiments with a vintage techno synth arrangement that wobbles and bops, further adding to the album’s rich, sonic diversity.
For its next trick, Recess takes a turn for the somber, as Sonny taps into a deep, emotional soundscape with his rendition of Niki and the Dove’s, “Ease My Mind.” The haunting, melodic ballad meticulously laces soothing, romantic poetry with pounding waves of bass and sharp sirens. Poignant and powerful, Skrillex contends with “Cinema,” on this moving composition.
The release of Recess reflects much more than Sonny’s notable refinements to his distinct sound. His own creative evolution as a producer is clear, but with the delivery of this 11-track studio album, the LA-bred DJ may be setting a trend for other producers to undertake full-length releases in the future. Sonny also defines an unprecedented level of production complexity with his multifaceted, all-encompassing album. An informed listen to Recess should wipe away ill-conceived notions of Skrillex’s “commercialization” of bass music’s precious underground roots, and highlight Sonny’s forward-thinking approach to producing.
Humbly silencing haters and allowing the music to deliver the punches, Skrillex has certainly made one thing clear: dance music is in the palm of his hand, and will be for the foreseeable future.