What can we learn when Skrillex, the populist producer followed by a rabid fan base of ravers, aspires to critical credibility with a more cerebral electronica? The Internet's dubstep junkies will not be denied their drops.
The dubstep genre was concocted by British producers in dreary post-industrial cities and but has more recently been the banner for superstar DJs who play at massive outdoor festivals. By being one of the most successful of those superstar DJs, Skrillex has also tended to be one of those blamed for dubstep's perversion. But in recent interviews, he's disowned the "brostep" label and name-checked critic-approved producers like Burial, whose tracks reliably feature sub-bass tones, choppy vocals, and thin drums.
"Leaving," the title track from Skrillex's new EP of the same name which was released yesterday, has some uncanny resemblance to those Burial hallmarks making it sound like his plea to be taken seriously. And sure enough, plenty of critics are falling for it.
But Skrillex's hardcore fans still crave the drop. Here's how the drop is supposed to work: Notice how in last year's "Bangarang" everything gets all trebly and quiet around 1:02, then builds in intensity until 1:18, when all those obnoxious, buzzy frequencies reappear at full volume.
That climactic moment is nowhere to be found on "Leaving."
If he starts DJing these mellower tracks live, we'll be seeing a lot less of his bumble bee dance.
And we'll probably see the number of people who show up to his gigs plummet, if angry reactions on social media are any indication:
wtf skrillex and why da fuq you makin dis shit where da drop at bro :/— Sarah Burns (@burnstrees) January 3, 2013
"WHERE IS THE DROP SKRILLEX?"— Aliasizm (@Aliasizm) January 3, 2013
Idk how I feel about this new Skrillex song... The bass didn't drop at all 😢— Ryan Brownlie (@Brownlie4) January 3, 2013
leaving is fucking shit and scary bolly drop bores me skrillex is so shit now— becca (@BeccaMayFire) January 3, 2013
Skrillex fans haven't been this confused since he tried to turn them on to Aphex Twin, the IDM producer (that's intelligent dance music, to you dubstep rubes) who doesn't do drops, either.