From the genesis of dubstep in record shops and underground clubs right through to the festival headlining crossover colossus of Magnetic Man, Skream has had a central place on the genre’s top table among the other producers that have helped define it. His Skreamism series of EP’s, which have brought together his most choice club bangers of the year for barnstorming releases on Tempa, can then be viewed as something of a chronicle, depicting one side of dubstep’s narrative through their evolution of styles and the atmosphere they provoke.
You would have needed an active imagination to envisage the cramped, introspective sound of 2006 translating to a pop setting, but over 6 volumes Skreamism has opened up to the expansive sprawl of big-room grinds and a readily accessible texture of hooks and subs that has had the masses swaying with one arm in the air. This is most clearly in evidence on ‘Xmas Day Swagger’ and ‘Indistinct’, which enforce a constant wave of fizzing aggression that is kept
in balance with timely wobbles and a synth pattern respectively.
Taking the foot off the gas slightly but retaining the same dark intentions, ‘Abstruse’ steps into the street light of an urban neighbourhood, casting around with an unrushed nonchalance that provides real presence. ‘Snarled’ again works a slower pace, but with more of the predatory bite of those crunching metallic grinds.
But while these big tracks naturally fit the Skreamism bill for 2011, Vol 6 offers greater diversity than its predecessors. ‘Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dumb’ is a jilting, unsteady animal with a beat that feels like its about to topple over, with the steady delivery the unvaryingly compelling Trim keeping it on its feet. The biggest departure, however, comes on ‘FNKONOMIKA’, a no-frills track that leaves the aggression at home and uses chord progressions and tidy percussion to make 5 and half minutes of melodic relaxation.
There’s also a final track exclusive to iTunes (which tells of the success alone) entitled ‘Detrimental’, which returns to the bolshy, big room sound for a closing flex of muscle.
The evolution of dubstep and Skream’s place within it is a well-covered narrative and as such fans will know what to expect from the latest addition in the Skreamism series, and certainly won’t be disappointed. However, having stayed
at the top for so long few would doubt that the story is over, and where Volume 7 will build to next is probably most exciting of all.
‘Skreamizm vol 6’ is out now on Tempa.