Skream: Hedd Banger / Percression

Anyone expecting dubstep wobble can move right along ‘cos the ever-inventive Skream (Oliver Jones) is hunting different game this time ‘round. The A-side's “Hedd Banger” radically shifts the focus from sweaty dance club euphoria to atmospheric—in this case foreboding and paranoiac—sound-sculpting. A heavy, stone-clearing rumble casts a heavy shadow while sputtering synth wheeze, disembodied voices (“super-duper fly”), and an ominous melodic figure battle for supremacy alongside. Keeping the surprises coming, the B-side exchanges the first track's sober mien for wonky bounce. “Percression” shoots its gaze in a clubbier direction with a jacking dub-techno stormer that flips the downcast mood of “Hedd Banger” inside out and upside down. The twisting pulse snaps to attention with a 4/4 gallop that Skream neatly bolsters with a recurring percussive accent and clattering punctuations that ricochet into the stratosphere. Head-spinningly good—and over in a seeming flash at only four minutes. That the tracks are so diametrically opposed merely attests to the range of Skream's musical gifts.

September 2008