Announcing that he was to take a rather abrupt break from electronic music, dubstep poster boy Skrillex put out ‘Leaving’ on what seemed to be somewhat of a whim. Three tracks in length and acting as a wavering adieu, the slapdash nature of the release is glaringly apparent in the regrettably listless twelve minute run time here, making us ponder why Skrillex felt the need to leave us on this haphazard note at all.
Indeed, what’s interesting about ‘Leaving’ is that the signature dubstep turbulence has been all but abandoned in favour of a decidedly more ambient EDM flavour, which as previously mentioned, given the limited run time and clumsy development, is given a fatally short scope in which to breath and expand.
Forgoing the standard quiver and bounce of ‘Scary Bolly Bulb’, a track which comes undeniably closest to satiating the ‘brostep’ audiences with its delirious drops and switch blade flourishes, both ‘The Reason’ and the title-track come across as all together different prospects. The latter of the two takes on some Burial-esque minimalism which, albeit subtle and inoffensive, leans too heavily on a repetitive vocal shift and some stark instrumentation to avoid proceedings quickly becoming dull. ‘The Reason’ suffers rather the same fate, a more expedient tone and swinging dynamics not saving the track from an relentlessly predictable structure, jumping from vocal loops to screeching synths ad nauseum.
With so many detractors reviling Skrillex‘s craft as pandering and derivative, of course his willingness here to step outside box is something that can only be encouraged. Yet, with only a glimpse of exploration revealed (and its accomplishment very much limited), the circumstances within which ‘Leaving’ came to light can, for now, only be seen as a missed opportunity as we wonder with what success Skrillex could have incorporated his new influences, given more time. As it is, ‘Leaving’ lacks the musical know-how and ambitious scope to graduate to anything more than throwaway.
Written by Tony Bliss