The UK producer’s long-awaited Skreamizm follow-up doesn’t disappoint
Beloved UK producer & DJ, Oliver Dene Jones, better known as Skream, returns with his much-anticipated Skreamizm Vol. 8, out 15th September on Platoon.
It’s been 10 years since the last instalment of Skreamizm. During that time Skream has shifted through a number of phases, arriving at a point now where he has transcended genre-limitations.
Representing his multifaceted story so far, Skreamizm Vol. 8 joins the dots between his house and techno releases, through to grime, dubstep and more, combining influences from different styles to create hybrid compositions that epitomise his diversity. Set to be a seminal release, among many career-defining moments, Skreamizm Vol. 8 features vocalists such as Trim and young trailblazers like Propsa, Bklava and Lagoon Wavey.
Each of the Skreamizm releases stands alone as a moment in time, snapshots of Skream’s illustrious career that offer a glimpse into his mindset at every juncture. Across all 11 tracks on Skreamizm Vol. 8 there is a timeless quality – the music feels fresh, original and firmly rooted in UK electronic music culture. A range of emotions come to the surface throughout, from joy and euphoria to the sense of loss embodied by grief. It’s a personal voyage of sonic expression, in typical Skream style.
All of which is reflected in the colourful and kaleidoscopic album artwork, designed by close friend and collaborator INSA. “Joe is a hero of mine and the artwork he’s delivered for each single and the overall final piece for Skreamizm 8 is something else”, Skream says. “He’s captured the stories and the theme of it perfectly.”
Opening cut ‘Hit’ welcomes us in, with its dark emotive atmosphere evoking a retrospective feel that sets the tone for Skreamizm 8; it’s the track that Skream credits with getting his creative juices flowing. This is followed by ‘Funky Sailor’, featuring Trim’s laid back vocal delivery and bringing together elements of UK funky and grime with its oboe riff. Like most of the music on this release ‘The Flute Track’ brings together a menagerie of sounds, with a grime-influenced synth complemented by live drums and a guitar riff. The string-driven breakdown amplifies this cut’s emotional charge, and leads neatly into ‘Not Ready Yet’, a powerful track recorded the night Scottish artist, and friend of Skream, Jamie Roy passed away. Here we find Skream at his most vulnerable, channelling his raw feelings of sorrow and despair into a beautifully poignant composition.
Upnext is‘WierdMinimal’,atrackSkreamhimselfsayscouldeasilybe‘Skream2003’withits drum programming and that oh-so-familiar dubstep “step”, and hooky vocals from Bklava that match the track’s urgency. With its shuffling drums ‘My Body’, by Skream’s own admission, is very much on a Burial kinda vibe. Though the general atmosphere is brighter than much of Burial’s work, with the vocals in particular evoking an uplifting feel. ‘Devon Analogue Raver’ is a breaks-driven banger with a retro-futuristic feel: the beats, effects and euphoria hark back to the roots of UK rave, while the overall aesthetic transports us into the next century. ‘Waiheke Island’ has its origins in a trip to New Zealand, where Skream bonded with UK duo Prospa resulting in a jaunty, optimistic cut that utilises a killer break alongside a joyous riff.
‘Your Love’ features the silky vocals of Baijan artist Lagoon Wavey’s smooth vocal delivery, and combines acid arps, grime melodies and jungle techno breaks. All it needed was Lagoon’s smooth vocal delivery – the result is a wonderfully vibrant concoction that creates goosebump moments. ‘Roy The Boy’ is an ode to Jamie Roy. Again, this is a piece of music that was produced in the fallout of his death and it features warped clips from a voice message Jamie sent to Skream, cursing at him as he often would when they lovingly bantered with each other. “A final nod to a lost friend”, as Skream says.
Finally, the release closes with ‘Thinking Of You’, featuring his own spoken word vocals, recorded as a future message for his children. The honesty of the track reflects his words perfectly, and it’s become one of the standouts in his sets since he recorded it. ‘Thinking Of You’
is the ideal track to close out Skreamizm Vol. 8, leaving the listener with food for thought and epitomising the emotion, dynamism and multiplicity of this stunning compilation.
Operating in his own field and flowing between styles at will, Skream has established himself outside the bounds of one particular sound. 22 years in the game and Skream has become a shining example of the power of diversity, skillfully weaving together a variety of styles and influences in a way that makes sense.
Skreamizm Vol. 8 is a definitive release that represents an artist who is continuously evolving, while also driving the canon of electronic music forward effortlessly.
Check out Skreamizm Vol.8 HERE