Diplo – Express Yourself (Mad Decent/ June 12 2012)
By Gary Lewis
Samplers and rumours have been flying around for a while, much like the preamble to a Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s finally dropped, Diplo‘s Express Yourself EP is out now for you to own. You might want to stream it first though.
He is one of the music world’s truly global ‘superstars’ (if you are au fait with producers), but at times, he seems to be musically promiscuous. Going out with the likes of Justin Bieber, Usher, Marina & The Diamonds, Beyonce, Robyn… and then dumping them. His quick turnaround on projects and collaborations (unlike this one) can leave you dizzy, moving from early remixes for Bloc Party to work that now seems to be churned out like a Diplo conveyor belt. It’s not bad, but just not that great.
The title track, ‘Express Yourself’, cuts up the vocal talents of upcoming rapper Nicky Da B. Although it could actually be anyone. The Pavlovian builds, pitched bent bass and straight-in-no-messing-beats barely give you time to appreciate any nuances there may be. It sounds like it could be gearing up for the apparently imminent Big Beat revival. You can almost here the influence of Sir Fatboy Slim. It sets the tone pretty well.
‘Barely Standing’ is more of a move to Major Lazer territory. Nice vocal and a whole can of womp womp bass spilling out. ‘No Problem’ sounds more like a Switch tune (no bad thing!) – cheekily cut up vocal snippets making up the backbone of the tune. Some bouncy drum fills, with some abrasive guitar wailing. ‘Move Around’ is probably the most restrained riddim, but still strains at the leash. ‘Butters Theme’ has a Middle Eastern feel, whilst ‘Set It Off’ has the nicest intro.
Unfortunately, the roll call of vocal guests have been taken to the woods and chopped up like a chainsaw massacre. Any of the EP would work as part of a DJ set but standalone, not one for the headphones. My advice would be to try and catch Wez and Dave (Major Lazer) if they’re playing the Red Bull stage at Carnival again this year. Until then, I would say it’s exactly the kind of music your parents would hate. Loud, abrasive, foul-mouthed. That’s not a bad thing though, eh!?