Skream - Skream!

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Skream is one of the producers at the helm of the breaking wave that is dub step, alongside Tempa label mates Kode 9, Horsepower Productions and Digital Mystikz. The album ‘Skream!’ appears after a number of revolutionary releases including ‘Midnight Request Line’ (featured on this album) and the Skreamizm volumes.

Recently Skream endeared himself to Australian audiences while attending the Red Bull Music Academy (in Melbourne), playing a string of gigs converting many to this new thing they call dub step. This music should come with some kind of warning, it’s very addictive. I don’t know whether it’s the balance between the deep sounds or the slower tempo that draws me in, but I just can’t get enough of this stuff.

While the album is, as you would expect, predominantly dark dub step, there are some grimey moments, some instrumental interludes and heavy MC tracks as well. One of the grimey tracks, ‘Check It’, features vocals from Warrior Queen and has a sweet sing-along chorus (an allusion the Motown classic ‘My Guy’) that flips to a typically intense bass attack. While this tune has more of a dance floor appeal (as does some of the other material on the album) there is good balance between the heavier stuff and the music that you can chill out to at home.

One of my favorites on the album, ‘Summer Dreams,’ is quite a departure from the other material. It’s a smooth track with a trumpet melody, very cruisey and possibly an indication of the potential for the wide scope of music that we could expect from Skream in the future. ‘Tapped’, with JME, is a characteristically paced tune with a rhyme about phone tapping paranoia that just compels you to nod your head along with the beat.

Some of the other highlights include the slightly more mellower dub tunes like ‘Blue Eyez’ and ‘Dutch Flowers’, the delightfully wobbly ‘Stagger’, and the brooding ‘Rutten’. The cleanliness of the sounds and the subtly of the samples used in this music is something to be appreciated in its own right (still listen out for the gunshot in ‘Midnight Request Line’, every time!) That said, all the best production in the world does not necessarily make the best music, however in this case the balance is spot on.

While this new genre may only be in its infancy, it’s already clear that Skream is one of the leaders of the pack.

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