Skrillex (or, Sonny Moore) proves his ability to diversify and develop an intimate style of production on his latest EP, Leaving. But for every step forward that he takes on this EP, he actually takes two steps back.
The hallmark of Leaving is its title track. Critical outlets that formerly spurned Moore for his pandering “brostep” sounds are now championing his derivative Burial tropes. The track is by far Moore’s most competent, playing with a variety of pacing tricks and subtle vocal shifts that help shape the track in a meaningful way. It explores Moore’s interest with the subtleties of dub music, which is surprising given the artist’s penchant for grandiose dub-anthems.
Yet not after long, the nuance of “Leaving” is bungled due to Moore’s insufferable excitement over the same dubstep treasure map he’s been touting for years. The opening half of “The Reason” features a twisted female vocal sample and some straightforward drum and bass loops through a variety of pitch filters. “Scary Bolly Dub” is exactly the kind of Skrillex™ so much of the zeitgeist has vilified him for promoting: pulling a vocal sample from a YouTube video and placing it delicately before the drop of the bass. Three and a half minutes of screeching, bouncing synths and massive stadium-filling bass. And while Moore has proven it to be enjoyable in the right circumstances — say in front of 10,000 screaming fans — the track on its own, sounds pandering.
There are moments where Moore gets it right, such as “Leaving”, when he actually allows himself to orchestra and produce, opposed to just creating more fodder for the bass starved, festival goers. However, the Leaving EP as a whole lacks the innovation we were hoping would kickstart electronic music in a new direction in 2013.
Essential Tracks: “Leaving”