When I get that feeling, I want Skrillexual healing.
Sabina Tang: I couldn’t tell this was Skrillex, which was indubitably the point — though my guess is the dude is putting his range and restlessness on the record rather than pulling a Burial-at-the-Newport-Folk-Festival altogether. For immediate context, the other two tracks on the EP are a refined slice of R&B-sampling bro-lectro (“The Reason”) and a grotesque/awesome sledgehammer skank Frankensteined from Bollywood vocals, soft trance swirls, and a typical squalling Skrillex-ian synth bridge of astonishing prettiness (er… “Scary Bolly Dub”). The fact that the latter works in my ears impresses me more than this moody contender for a Jessie Ware backing track, which anyone at all can make work for me, given the well-worn parameters of my predilections.
Anthony Easton: The spaces seem wider here, the work seems softer, less aggro, and there are portions of decorative effect that seem to be there as formal relief. It seems to be a work against his previous desires. I am not saying this is progress, or that it’s more interesting, just noting the difference.
Doug Robertson: This is every track that ever appeared on an early noughties chill out album all rolled into one. Best listened to with headphones, if only so no-one else knows you’re listening to this. Skrillex used to be the sound of the future, have his ideas really run out so quickly?
Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: The sounds of trains/buses/rainy nights and ghostly altered vox that marked Burial’s breakthrough are reconfigured here, as you’ve most likely heard, by the most popular wub-wub-wub-whipping boy there is. What stops it from being a photocopy, aside from the big beat feel to the drums (relics of a commercial era well before Hyperdub), comes from the light mood. The song rises out of the expected dank and worry to become something avowedly sentimental. It barely matters that Sonny Moore’s not from Bristol circa 2006, what matters here is that it is now a time and place to evoke in listeners’ minds: as distinct as G-funk California or Balearic Ibiza. He may never been to Bristol, but we know he’s felt it – and deeply.
Pete Baran: Oh pity poor moody Skrillex. Almost certainly annoyed at being the poster-boy for all that is wrong with dubstep and EDM from the senseless, emotionless onslaught to the nosebleed drops. So instead he seems to have found an old Enigma backing track and one of those early Casio sampling keyboards and has knocked out this thoroughly inconsequential blipper. I understand that when listening to a Skrillex album perhaps you might want a slower track, to clean up the mess or call for an ambulance, but this is so anonymous that you might be better just turning the whole thing off.
Alfred Soto: Coaxing sad melodies from a Speak-n-Spell and repeating the title until it turns into a refrain – like Burial, say, but mixed way high – either represents heretofore thwarted aesthetic ambition or an attempt to introduce the sounds of 1997 to his audience. Time will tell which lands him a hit.
Edward Okulicz: Literally nothing about this track brings to mind the idea of leaving, other than the vocal sample which may do nothing more than give the track a name to differentiate it between other Skrillex songs on
illegal torrent sites Spotify the EP. Except that would be selling “Leaving” a little short, because the drums and bass give it a really warm, inviting sound — if a song can be humid, this is sticky until the synth strings bring some welcome rain. Dare one suggest that if Skrillex decides to go for a real big pop move, he could add a wispy house mewler and strike (even more) platinum?
Patrick St. Michel: On a purely non-musical level, I’m glad “Leaving” exists because it has thrown the dubstep traditionalists of the world into a hateful tizzy you’d expect from a tenth grader who got turned down for the winter formal. Skrillex probably isn’t trolling that community though, as he has gone on record as liking the lonely sounds of Burial, and this is him trying to make something similar to that artist. “Leaving” is way clearer than anything Burial has done, though, as everything from the piano line to the distorted sample sound less crackly. It’s also far less depressing, as the strings Skrillex brings in add dashes of light and turn that titular vocal into something optimistic. Still, this seems more like a pretty good sketch that needs a bit more time devoted to it, as “Leaving” just doesn’t do that much over its play time. Nothing to flip out about, though.
Jer Fairall: Surprisingly pleasant and even sweetly plaintive, though the cynic in me still feels the need to assert that going IDM does not automatically guarantee indelible dance music.
Will Adams: The producers who excite me most are those who traverse genres deftly. Take Bloodshy & Avant, for example, who have mastered both legendary pop and left-field indie. After hearing “Leaving,” I might include Skrillex in this group. This isn’t subverting expectations, it’s dropping an anvil on them. N.B. these points aren’t given for the novelty of brostep’s top purveyor making moody lounge music. They are given for a gorgeous production imbued with history – clear nods to Burial and Aphex Twin here – that finally convinced me what’s so great about Skrillex.
Brad Shoup: He’s got no idea what to do with that word, does he? He can’t even make it sound like itself. Yeah, the (heavy) bass moves like a fulcrum, and the array of throwback drums is impressive, but it’s all a bit like watching Frankenstein’s monster learning to ice skate.
Katherine St Asaph: Skrillex, after groaning and vworping himself into a synechdoche for abrasive music, has released a single that sounds half like a Super Mario World ghost house and half like track seven on a chillout album devoted to burbling brooks. If it were Deadmau5, he’d almost certainly be trolling us, but Sonny Moore probably really is into all this. And you know what? I respect that.
Iain Mew: Difficult to think of another song we’ve covered where such a high proportion of what’s interesting about it is down to the two names at the top of the post. As a decent genre exercise in dimly-lit atmospheric dance it becomes much more noteworthy through being by someone known for very different sounds. Most of the rest of the interest comes from the ambiguity of mood forwarded by calling it “Leaving” when what’s sung sounds like “living.”