(DISCLAIMER: I acknowledge that this product specifically refers to the vinyl version, but I'll be considering the CD tracklist in my review.)
In the months following More Monster's release, those of us anticipating a full length Skrillex debut likely felt our stomachs sink when word got out of Sonny's laptops getting stolen from his hotel room during a tour. Laptops containing an unknown amount of unreleased Skrillex material. How much of a setback this was for Sonny Moore or how much he lost, we may never know, but he appears to make a comeback with the release of More Monster and Nice Sprites EP.
This follow up to Sonny Moore's successful sophomore EP, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, appears at first to be an attempt to capitalize on the fame and impact that his Skrillex title track brought him. Take a look at the CD tracklist and more than half of it is comprised of Scary Monster remixes. The other three (or two, if you see the Ruffneck tracks as one composite composition), were leaked online earlier, and it didn't take too much effort for us to find them floating all over Youtube's search pages.
So how does More Monsters stack up? Well, if you ask me, its surprisingly very solid. First of the Year is an explosive rave anthem opener. Its style is undeniably in the same vein as its Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites cousin, but First of the Year is darker, and even more aggressive. Like Scary Monsters, a screaming vocal sample introduces us to the hard hitting speaker blowing bass drop. When the chorus section repeats near the end, the beat doubles tempo briefly. It may be oldest trick in the book and used by many of the dubstep/brostep copycats out there, but its pulled off so well here that its enough to to give a man goosebumps.
Then we have the one-two Ruffneck punch split into two separate tracks. They come as a surprise because they both vary greatly from the earlier Ruffneck Bass demo that leaked long before. Where as the earlier variant features a fun moombahton styled beat and rasta rap vocals over deep bassy rhythms, the flex interpretations put a different spin on the Ruffneck track. On the studio Ruffneck track, the tempo is slower, the rasta vocals are kept to a minimum, and full rich string sections are looped throughout. In comparison to the original Ruffneck Bass track, the production here is smoother and closer the the tradional dubstep staples. Its different, but still good and sounds quite sophisticated actually. The full flex Ruffneck track features similar elements, but when the bass drops, things take a spin and get a little more heavy...
The Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites remixes are all around fantastic too. Even though we got two good helpings of this track getting remixed on the Scary Monsters EP, the four remixes here are all done very well and contain enough variety to stand out among each other. Prepare to be especially surprised when you hear Phonat turn Skrillex' instant classic into a spacey reggae dub with washed out synths, wobbles, guitars, and reggae drums. What's especially impressive with this is how stable the flow of continuity is here between the remixes, despite the contrasting variety. They really feel like they belong together here as a family, not some jumbled together disjointed pile of completely unrelated productions.
I have to say, I'm thoroughly impressed. If Skrillex can continue feeding us bite sized EPs on an annual basis with this kind of production value, that'd be fine by me. Bring on the monsters, Sonny!