Add "being in on the joke" to the long list of things that Skrillex does well. The EDM producer kicks off his surprise debut LP "Recess" with a track called "All's Fair in Love and Brostep," winking at the fact that he's responsible for making bass music safe for frat-house jello wrestling pools. The 26-year-old Sonny Moore has always been a lot smarter than that reputation would suggest though, and "Recess" is his most ambitious and varied collection.
While Skrillex may have found the perfect setting for his music in last year's guns-drugs-and-dubstep flick "Spring Breakers," "Recess" is a similar road trip through his many interests and vices. His palette is wide and his Rolodex is enviable: Skrillex enlists the dance hall-toasting OGs Ragga Twins for "Ragga Bomb," using pitch tweaks and distortion to evoke a Jamaican party boat hit by a cruise missile. Skrillex has become a big influence on K-Pop, and he returns the favor by getting the South Korean rappers G-Dragon and CL from 2NE1 on "Try It Out." Chance the Rapper stops by for a loopy pickup-line gauntlet on "Coast Is Clear," as does Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos on the title track, the LP's pop-friendliest.
It all still sounds like Skrillex though, which is quite a feat but also a bit disappointing. "… That" and "Doompy Poomp" hint at weirder, restrained textures, but most of the LP just updates the flavors in his party-punch keg. Skrillex is good enough to kill the Brostep monster he created. He just didn't quite finish the job here.
2 1/2 starsCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times