Monday, March 12, 2012

Album Review: Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites by Skrillex


I have intended to listen to Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites after I heard that Skrillex had been nominated for a bunch of Grammy awards, but I never really got around to it. I had heard of him before, and knew he was gaining some momentum, but not that much. Anyway, he actually won 3 Grammys: Best Dance Recording and Best Dance/Electronica Album, as well as Best Remixed Recording for ”Cinema”, so I got on the stick and downloaded the album.

Skrillex is a pseudonym for Sonny Moore, a 24-year old Californian who was formerly the frontman for the post-hardcore band From First to Last (which was pretty ok, in my book). He is now an electronic music producer and possibly one of the hardest working guys in the business. He is working every day and doing shows and parties most every night. He has put out 4 EPs under the Skrillex moniker, and Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites is the second of them.

Scary Monster and Nice Sprites is a dubstep EP with 9 tracks, which makes it more of an album than an EP, but I am not going to argue with everybody on the internet. Also, it is not entirely dubstep, but also incorporates plenty of electro and progressive house music. This is ok with me as thumping dubstep gets old pretty quick for me, and I am glad he changed it up a bit.

I went into this album not expecting too much because I am an old rocker and am not going out to clubs, but I was pleasantly surprised by the work and imagination that Skrillex put into it. It is slicker than monkey snot and is full of perfectly placed samples and drops, as well as the expected kicking rhythms.

The first track “Rock n’ Roll (Will Take you to the Mountain) is dance track with a dub beat and an awesome bass line. It is also a good introduction to Skrillex’s sound if you are not familiar with his work, and it is inviting enough to get you to listen to more of the EP. And this is a good thing because better tracks are right around the corner.

The next two tracks are the meatiest part of the EP. “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” and “KILL EVERYBODY” are heavy club tunes that are cleverly put together so that they maintain good melodies while hammering away with heavy beats and drops.

Things slow down and the dubstep is lost for “All I Ask of You”, with Penny making a guest appearance with her sweet voice. This is the most radio-friendly track on the EP, and I am going to sneak this one into a mix pretty soon.

The final two original songs “Scatta” and “With you, Friends (Long Drive)” also alternate between hard and soft, keeping things mixed up and fresh. “Scatta” is particularly thrashy (in a good way), thanks to collaborative efforts from Foreign Beggar and Bare Noize.

The EP finishes up with 3 remixes: 2 different versions of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Noisia and Zedd, and a new rendition of “KILL EVERYBODY” from Bare Noize. It was nice to hear these versions, but they were not as great as the ones that Skrillex put together. This is not a big surprise, I guess.

Overall, this is a strong EP, and I will say That Skrillex earned his Grammys and that I hope he can continue growing and coming up with new stuff. I liked Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites enough that I went ahead and purchased his latest release Bangarang. I will let you know how it turns out.

By the way, you are not going to get the full experience of this EP with your cheap-o earbuds that came with your iPod or through your laptop speakers. You should use a decent set of over the ear earphones or crank it full blast through your stereo. Trust me on this.


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