You can’t really listen to Leaving without understanding its context. Skrillex is attempting to spearhead his OWSLA label’s growth with a subscription service, called The Nest, with Leaving, a 3-track EP he quickly threw together while he was on tour.
And boy, can you tell.
The first track, “The Reason”, is nothing you haven’t heard before, though it’s a bit different from the usual Skrillex fare. Although a bit hard to pigeonhole, it’s more of an electro track than anything else, and uses some pitch-shifted vocals. More on those in a minute.
The eponymous closing track is a straight rip-off of Burial. As a big-time Burial fan, and a bit of a Skrillex apologist, I enjoy it, much as I enjoy the opener. It has the pitch-shifting of a vocal loop and some synths meant to evoke sadness and atmosphere. It’s not very interesting, but it gets the job done and then it ends.
The track in the middle, “Scary Bolly Dub”, is a medley of more well-known Skrillex tracks that is apparently played at a lot of his shows. I guess most of his fanbase is enjoying it. I thought it was the laziest thing on the release, and that’s saying something.
Leaving is probably my least favorite Skrillex release. I’m someone that listens to all kinds of music, from genre to genre, from the critically-acclaimed to…this. So I don’t have an inherent problem with Skrillex, like many people. I loved Bangarang. But Sonny Moore is tiptoeing into the UK bass genre, which is taken a lot more seriously than the traditional EDM world in which he dabbles. And when that happens, you can’t get away with cheap tricks and big drops. You need to take your production more seriously, because this type of music is a lot more difficult to make. And I’m not so sure that Skrillex has it in him. I definitely appreciate the experimentation, and the fact that he follows the future garage scene, but he’s going to have to do better. I’m interested in seeing where it leads, if anywhere at all.