Between live performances and singles, Skrillex has been floating around producing for artists, delivering these intrinsically riotous sounds, which continuously define his artistry as one of dubstep’s few hitmakers. We’ve heard his signature boastfulness in the bass when infusing varying percussion notes to create each beat. It’s recognizable, but Skrillex has been able to blend it with other genres, giving us luscious songs with artists like Don Tolliver, J Balvin, and Ty Dolla $ign. It’s been nearly a decade since Skrillex delivered an album of original work. Hopefully, 2023 will see that change, predominantly because of the hype his two new songs, “Rumble” and “Way Back,” brings. Though we’ve heard Skrillex create tracks within different electronic genres, like EDM and House, we hear this new evolution where drum-n-bass is slowly finding its influence in the mainstream (within EDM and Pop), and I’m all here for it!
The hype for Skrillex album, for me, is wild; maybe it’s why I’m giving this a lengthy post, but I digress. The last time we got a Skrillex album was in collaboration with Diplo as part of the duo collective Jack Ü in 2015. It was an open field for Skrillex to continue to grow beyond brostep, especially when there’s someone to balance a tenacity for slightly overindulgent drum drops and mid-leveled bass. With Jack Ü, it showed how well they complemented their expressive production styles, delivering a luscious whirlwind of sounds, shifting from their sonically spacious dubstep sounds to luscious House/Dancehall hybrids. As I grew, that negligence has since gotten tossed out, and as I’ve heard the range getting produced, there was no option but to return. It’s mainly potent when Skrillex gives us varying musical releases, like the luscious future bass sound of “Face My Fears, with Hikaru Utada or when given the space for the dubstep/drum-n-bass sounds to go nuts, like on “Killa” with Wiwek, a Dutch DJ, or “Mind” on the Jack Ü album.
Though he’s worked alongside different producers, he still tends to let some of the natural bombastic Brostep/Dubstep sound, which can get a little one-note. It can get heard on songs like “Take Ü There” and “Make It Bun Dem;” the latter feels like it never takes a chance to do anything beyond the shifty reggae-dubstep hybrid, while the former finds balance with Diplo’s house sensibilities. Sometimes Skrillex receives weaker outputs from the featured artists, but he can still fill the void with excellent production, like with “Don’t Go” and “In Da Ghetto” or vice versa with the track “Purple Lamborghini.” I’ve been following Skrillex’s career since the release of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” some duds early on, and since, we’ve gotten many fantastic collaborations. He teamed up with Game to release one of his best tracks of the 2010s with “El Chapo,” or the captivatingly starry “Butterflies” with Starrah and Four Tet, amongst others like the aforementioned “Killa” and his new singles, “Jungle” and “Way Back.”
2023 will be huge for Skrillex; his craft has beautifully evolved, now confidently using different electronic sonic complexions, like synths, to take it to new levels. Like some electronic songs that build luscious vibes, I can harp on length; for “Way Back,” featuring PinkPanteress and Trippie Redd, Skrillex beautifully produces smooth connectivity between Pantheress melodies, which are Jungle/EDM-influenced, and Trippie’s more hip-hop sing-flows, creating something mellow, comparatively, to dance along. It blends smooth House textures with crisp, low-level drums that emulate elements of breakbeat and drum-n-bass.
“Rumble” sees Skrillex, along with co-artists Fred Again and Flowdan, propelling the bass grooves, amplified to keep a consistent stream of consciousness as the percussion and synths create a wave for Flowdan to flow over. Though it’s bombastic and boisterous with the transition, you get that instant click in the ear drums that will make you keep this on a loop without realizing it. It’s crisp, riotous, smoothing over rough textures and letting the cornerstone aspects of Dubstep/Drum-N-Bass to envelop us and bring forth significant grooves. It definitely leaves this guy excited for his new album in 2023, which hopefully brings the best from everything he’s learned and made throughout the past decade.