6 September 2014

Skrillex - Recess


So it is here, Skrillex has finally released an album after all those ep releases including 'Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites' (cleverly linked here).  It took him a while, but it is good to see a full album released by Mr Sonny 'Skrillex' Moore.  Now I would be lying if I was to say I was eagerly anticipating this release, the fact it was released in March and as I write this we are just reaching September should say it all.  But I was always going to review this album at some point.  Now before I start I will point out something that will be familiar to some of our regular readers - this album has the good old multiple producers’ syndrome.  Oh, we love that at ATTIWLTMOWOS, we think it is so good for a fluid album..... I think you get the tone at this point.  From memory, there has only been one or two album with multiple producers that has felt fluid and not disjointed.  I had hoped with Skrillex being a producer himself he would have just done all the tracks himself, but there is seven production credits on this album.  This is not a good sign from the beginning, but best not judge the album before it has started.  Although to be honest, he has his name on the production credits and he has done six of the eleven tracks himself, so there is still hope. Time to put the headphones on and see what 'Recess' has in store for us.

Starting with "All Is Fair In Love And Brostep" which kicks off with help of The Ragga Twins; it is your usual dubstep song that has a reggae undertone.  The samples are interesting and the overall noise is very tuneful; The Ragga Twins add an interesting dimension to the work which is much better than the work that Skrillex did with Korn for instance.  Next is the title track of the album which has appearance from Kill The Noise, Fatman Scoop and Michael Angelakos from Passion Pit.  Musically it is a very 'different' song, now the music is fine and sounds very impressive; I just cannot stand Fatman Scoop's voice.  I did like him when he had his big UK hit "Be Faithful" and that impression of him has not changed in over ten years.  Which is a shame as the rest of the song is really interest, such a shame.  Next is "Stranger" which has help from KillaGraham and Sam Dew.  Musically this is a lot more drum and bass then the first two, it is also a lot weaker than the opening track and the album feels like it is falling down a slippery slope at this point.

"Try It Out" features Alvin Risk and is an immediate improvement, as it brings back the dubstep and makes all the right noises that were missing on "Strangers"; it has the drifting voices, it has the harsh electronics and break beats that will impress the faithful.  "Coast Is Clear" starts off with a clear piano moment, before it changes to a drum and bass driven number with a horn section.  The featured talent on this song is The Social Experiment and Chance The Rapper who spends most of his time appearing on other people's songs and releasing mix tapes instead of doing his own album.  The song itself is neither one thing nor another to me, it is decent enough but as soon as it was over I was struggling to remember it; that cannot be a good sign.  "Dirty Vibe" is another guest festival, with help being provided by Diplo, G-Dragon and CL (the last two artists both having previously worked with each other over the years).  This song is a sexy little number which I reckon will go down a storm at any club that it is played in, it has that sort of noise going for it and works incredibly well.  Next is "Ragga Bomb" which once again features work from The Ragga Twins, at this point the album is starting to flow a little better and make sense.  This is much better than opening number "All Is Fair In Love & Brostep", with a much harsher noise happening throughout the number.

Next is the first of two tracks which do not have any guests featuring on them!!! (I know I was shocked as well.  The first is called "Doompy Poomp" and I am not sure what I am listening to on this one.  If it is Skrillex trying to make his interpretation of how Frank Zappa would go Dubstep then well done, it is a strange little number.  If it just fucking around in the studio for shits and giggles, then it is a strange track for an album if I am honest.  Either way, it is different to anything else I have heard from the guy and it makes for a distinct experience from the clubland music of the rest of the album.  Following that is the second guest free track called "Fuck That", it sort of does what it says on the tin.  It is a fuck you to the world in general, but with an electronic almost Euro beat feel.  It is a brilliant number again as it does not have the distractions of other people having their hand in the making of the song.  Two totally different yet interesting numbers from the man himself, showcasing his mischief.  Back in special guest land, we have help from Swedish indietronica band Niki & The Dove for the song Ease My Mind.  I think this song is aiming to be this releases "All I Ask Of You", but it does not have the innocent charm of that number and the harsh signature electronic sounds that can raise a Skrillex song do not work here, another number that could have been a game changer.  Ending the album is "Fire Away" which features Kid Harpoon who is more known for as a song writer than his own songs (he helped Florence Welch out on Ceremonials which won him an Ivor Novello award for song writing).  Now his voice is really suited to this laid back track that ends the album, it is one for the chill out rooms more than the sweaty dance floors.  It makes for a curious ending to this record.

I have struggled many times to get to this end point as it is an album that should not really be listened to as a record in the house.  It is a record that should be played in the clubs or getting ready for a night out, not reviewed clinically under the bright lights of the sun.  There are some really good moments on this album; the best ones for me are probably the tracks that will confuse Skrillex fans the most.  It is a strange album and it feels strange that it is the first album proper to be released by Skrillex, but with that said it is the sound of a different generation who prefer mix tapes and guest appearances.  Maybe the EP's are the way forward still as they would probably work a lot better than this release. It is a decent album, but the record does not sound as fluid as I was hoping for; a case of either the man needing to exercise control in some areas or me being picky.  Probably the later if I am honest, but a decent record all this told but not one I would listen to on a regular basis.

6.5 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

Top track - Fuck That

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Skrillex website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

For our Deezer users, here is a link for you

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