All the signs are there: my heart’s pounding, palms are sweating, I’m rhythmically fidgeting. I’ve got an obvious crush–and it’s on Skrillex’s newest EP Bangarang (first released online Dec. 27, 2011, then on physical CD Jan. 24, 2012). Self-described as “a mix of dub-step, electro and glitch all thrown together,” Bangarang is auricular proof that the American electronic music producer known as Skrillex (who, notably, is nominated for five Grammy awards this year) refuses to be bound by the limitations of genre. If you’re like me, the closest you’ve ever been to being a dub-step/electro fan is unconsciously bobbing your head to the mysterious beats booming from the hula-hooped ambiance of Sundays at Paia’s Baldwin Beach Cove; and so know little to nothing of the man crowned MTV’s EDM (Electro Dance Music) 2011 Artist of the Year. If that’s the case, prepare to hear sounds you’ve never heard before by doing yourself the favor of introducing your ears to the face-grinding drops, thump-worthy mixes and smooth electro-transitions on Bangarang. Distinct in their own right, each track transitions into myriad rhythms and drops–though the composition as a whole, meanwhile, is cohesive. Songs like “Summitt” (feat. Ellie Goulding) follow the signature mixer sounds of Skirllex’s earlier club hits like his anthemic mixes of Avicii’s “Levels” and Benny Bannassi’s “Cinema.” Skrillex continues to prove he’s a true innovator, experimenting with the creation of new sounds and producing freshly mixed compositions that form a new flavor of music. His versatility is perhaps most evident in Bangarang’s surprise bonus track, fittingly named “Orchestral Suite.” It’s a luxurious and staggeringly beautiful score-esque song that’s sure to please even mellow-minded classical lovers (and is bound to make anyone feel a little like they’re in a Disney movie). So even if you’re not into the banging tracks that otherwise fill the album, “Orchestral Suite” will leave you with a warm, fuzzy–albeit dramatically crushing–feeling. If only for its sheer musical intrigue, I recommend giving Bangarang a whirl.
(Big Beat, Atlantic; 2012)
8 out of 11