A record in which personal signatures become tedious gimmicks and self-development turns regressive and unconfined, DJ Snake’s full-length debut is a profusely faulted conundrum.
Originally published in The Edge
When ‘Middle’ trickled out of relatively nowhere last October, I was confident that I’d uncovered a little gem. To an extent, that became true: six months later, it received a gold certification from the BPI after its optimism, particularly from Mancunian singer Bipolar Sunshine, and then-fresh stretched vocal snippets in the break came together to create a very solid pop song that happened to be DJ Snake’s first proper solo single. Though gathering acclaim since pitching in with ‘Government Hooker’ on Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, Paris-born William Grigahcine’s rise began properly with ‘Turn Down For What,’ an overwhelmingly brash party record with Lil Jon that is the mournful soundtrack to many a weekend hangover. Following work both with and around the likes of AlunaGeorge and Major Lazer, ‘Middle’ hinted at a more mature, well-realised output with a clear pop touch and listenability. Instead, Encore is a chaotic jumble of castoffs each found slipping into a trap of mediocrity. Continue reading “Album review: DJ Snake – Encore”
It’s not horrendous, honest.
Originally published for The Edge’s album of the year countdown
Justin Bieber had it made. After a career as an irritating tween catnip saw him sell over 40 million records in the US and amass more Twitter followers than anyone but Katy Perry, he began the stereotypical descent into chaos that befalls many a young celebrity. He was getting arrested for egging neighbours and druggedly driving Lamborghinis. The rails he’d fallen off were bespoke, but rapidly fading away. 2015 changed that. Continue reading “Album review: Justin Bieber – Purpose”
Originally published in The Broadie
My first encounter with Jack Ü, the pseudo-supergroup of professional noise-merchants Sonny Moore and Wesley Pentz, better known as Skrillex and Diplo, came on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Miami last March. At the Ultra Music Festival, the commercial centrepiece of the annual Winter Music Conference that draws the great and the good and the brostep to Floridian shores, the pair took to the stage for the most anticipated set of the weekend.
Within a minute, Diplo had clambered onto the desk and was commanding his sun-soaked congregation, mostly scantily clad college students squandering their spring break by flailing limbs in a sardine-like crush, to scream and clap and all sorts of things that would make the music harder to hear. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m of the opinion that a good DJ should neither be seen nor heard. Their job is to play pre-recorded music in a fluid and appreciable fashion, but Jack Ü took their babysitting duties very seriously and audibly.
And yet, Moore and Pentz moulded their hour on the main stage into the most thoroughly entertaining show of the weekend. Rapidly devouring Skrillex’s new album, Diplo’s dancehall-inspired Major Lazer discography, the talent of their respective labels OWSLA and Mad Decent, and even Toto’s ‘Africa’, the frantic set clicked perfectly. In parts, so does their collaborative album. Continue reading “Album review: Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü”